If there are any children in your life that are interested in lizards (and what kids aren’t?!), you may want to check out a website my lab is developing: lizardsandfriends.org. This website is one of our outreach efforts to help make connections between schoolchildren (particularly around the fifth-grade age/reading level) and scientists.
We’re working to meet several goals with this website:
1. To show children how science is done. Too often, children (and adults) have misconceptions about the process of science. So, our website aims to show that scientists work together in teams; that scientists use math, communication, and problem-solving skills; that scientists are a diverse group of people; and that science can be a lot of fun.
2. To make science accessible to students. By writing about our ongoing research projects at the fifth-grade reading level, we hope to engage young children with the idea that they, too, can be scientists. The website also offers several options for website-users to engage with the scientists in my lab, including Club LizKids, an email listserve that connects with kids via more personal updates from the lab.
3. To provide resources for teachers to use lizards in their own classrooms. Because science is tested for the first time in Texas in the fifth grade, in some cases science is not taught until the fifth grade. We are working with local (San Antonio) fifth grade teachers to develop resources that help them to teach the Texas science standards using creative, engaging approaches – although the resources on the website are available to all!
We’d welcome your feedback on the site. We aren’t drawing a lot of “comments” on the blog posts yet, but we do get a lot of hits, so people are finding us. Hope you enjoy it!