A version of this letter was shared on Iridescent’s blog and with its community of volunteer mentors, all of whom are professional engineers and scientists. As Iridescent’s model has developed we have faced challenges with finding the right role for mentors in online learning and blended learning environments. I wanted to share my gratitude and […]
There have been a few momentous events in Iridescent’s history. June 6th was one of these. Thanks to one dedicated volunteer, Srikant, we got together 20 (very brave) volunteers (10 from SolidWorks) to concurrently conduct hands-on science lessons for an hour for 240, 4th and 5th grade students.
This event was part of a bigger corporate social responsibility event conducted by our partner, L.A Works.
We conducted a brisk, training session two days before (at SolidWorks) , during which volunteers were introduced to Iridescent’s misson, given a demo lesson and requested to choose from some prepared lessons. The topics were Biomechanics, Aeronautics, Renewable Energy, Heat Transfer and Sound.
The two goals were i) to get children excited about science and ii) to provide a reference point for engineers interested in teaching science to children. Many times we get so used to our colleagues’ level of understanding that we forget how foreign our language may sound to a 4th grader. Through this relatively low-commitment approach, volunteers could quickly get a sense for what teaching in an urban classroom was like and whether they would like to participate in our longer, more intense courses.
The sessions achieved the above goals. The children enjoyed interacting with fresh, new people from different walks of life and of course, doing the actual activities. The volunteers quickly realized how challenging teaching can be, how dynamic the classroom environment is and how rewarding it is to inspire young minds.
This model works. On one side we have a huge pool of intelligent, highly qualified professionals and on the other we have an equally huge pool of children in need of mentorship and guidance.
You have the ability to inspire a child and change her life; to show how hard work, critical thinking, perseverance, curiosity and a love of learning are the ingredients for success.
SPREAD THE WORD!