For two consecutive spring semesters, scientist volunteers from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) have brought science to life in the classrooms of Lowe's Grove Middle School in Durham, NC. Over the course of ten weeks, students in the Healthy Lungs, Happy Living apprenticeship learn from Citizen Teachers (scientist volunteers) about the human respiratory system by building mechanical lungs and exploring the effects of smoking, air pollution and asthma on lung function. Through this apprenticeship, Citizen Schools students are able to apply what they are learning in their science classes during the school day in hands-on activities with professional scientists. This opportunity changes their perception of what scientists are like and what they do and informs the belief that they can attend college and become scientists themselves.
Citizen Teacher Kristin Lichti-Kaiser shares this story in the video below:
"...One week we were doing our phenol red experiment, where [the students] were looking at changes in pH, and as they were putting on gloves and preparing their flasks, one of the students said, 'Wow! I feel like a real scientist.' You could tell that made him very proud."
Thank you to all of our NIEHS Citizen Teachers for your passion and dedication!