Our mission is to use science, technology and engineering to develop persistent curiosity and to show that knowledge is empowering.
Iridescent is engineer-powered!
We exist solely because of passionate, generous, kind, brilliant people. Iridescent engineers devote hundreds of hours to developing exciting ways of teaching complex physics-concepts to children.
“Its been a very valuable experience for me. And absolutely exciting. I also appreciate the structure, readings and discussions that you and Tara built into the course. I think the USC course is unique chance for beginning engineers to understand what they can contribute to their community during their careers. I hope they connect their preparation for middle school teaching with the challenges of presenting on the job. Many of the issues are absolutely the same. (Do you think they know this?) Keep up the good work.”
“Thank you very much for the opportunity. It has been a great experience. I had a great time, and learned a lot myself. Reflecting back on the experience, though there were stressful moments (imagine me experimenting with different light settings at work and at home, trying to figure out the experiment for the 3rd session 2 days before teaching), I had a lot of a-ha moments. I almost forgot the joy of those discoveries when we put something simple together, and voila it turned into something interesting. I still remember helping one of the students out during the 1st session, and we finally made the image of playdough appear on the screen, we both got really excited.
I think the biggest challenge during this journey (which is the same in the professional world, as Tom has pointed out) is to cater the presentation to the audiences. It’s not easy to think of things that are simple and yet still illustrate the point. Being a professional, an expert in our own field, we all have a lot to say about our field, and yet so little to say for those who don’t understand us well. This exercise reminds me that I need to think from my audience’s perspective, and start from there. Thank you very much for that lesson.”
Volunteers go through a rigorous training program through which they learn to break down complex concepts into a few big ideas, identify learning objectives for each session, develop experiments that illustrate the concept and develop meaningful assessments. Engineers hone their public speaking skills and their ability to communicate with large, diverse audiences with limited education and English-speaking abilities.
The program works! We have trained more than 600 engineers over the past few years. Three engineering departments (Aerospace & Mechanical, Biomedical and Industrial Systems) at University of Southern California recognize the power of this training program and allow their engineering undergraduates to earn 3 units of technical elective credit for working with Iridescent.
In addition we have also developed a lesson planning template through which engineers are able to develop successful courses on a topic of their interest. Using this template engineers have developed course materials for many topics, including: Animal Locomotion, Biomechanics of Breakdancing, Bird-flight Aerodynamics, CardioVascular Mechanics, Heat Transfer and Energy Efficient Houses, Optics, Physics of Sailing, Physics of MRI, Renewable Energy, Science of Sporting Equipment and Structural Color.
Apply for our training program through which you will learn to communicate complex physics-based concepts to large, diverse, public audiences. During training you will teach 4-8 lessons you have developed to upper elementary or middle school students and their families.
BENEFITS TO YOU
You will develop a deeper understanding of your field as you have to identify key aspects and teach them to K-12 students and adults with limited formal education.
You will improve your communication and leadership abilities as you will have to engage and manage large, diverse, public audiences – usually 70-80 participants of varying ages, education levels and language abilities.
You will reconnect with your love for science and engineering as you will have to inspire children to pursue these career paths. These mentoring/teaching experiences in which you will share the most exciting and rewarding aspects of your work and study will help not only inspire the public, but also yourself .
Email us or call at 310-309-0766 if you would like to participate in our training programs and volunteer to teach.