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K-12 Science 2 Schools Traveling Science Programs: Iridescent

Program Title:
Los Angeles, CA, United States
Geographical Area:
Greater Los Angeles area
General Description:
Iridescent is a non-profit organization that brings hands-on science workshops to communities in Los Angeles and the Bay area. The workshops range from 2-10 hours. All content areas are aligned with the California State Science Standards.

Our goals are:

1. To help students truly understand the fundamentals of science, reach a proficient level and develop a lasting love for it
2. To help teachers by providing high quality instruction (for certain units) through exciting, real-world science workshops
3. To involve parents in the learning process, so that the students have a supporting environment

Our unique philosophy is to involve parents in actual classroom instruction. We believe that to make a long term impact, students need to be supported at home. We thus try and involve parents in their children’’’’s learning. We conduct parent-information sessions that encourage and help parents actively participate in their child’’’’s learning.

Other aspects of our program are:

Engaging Activities: All instruction is through hands-on activities as there are no lectures or demonstrations. Every student builds her own model or does her own experiment. Currently we have three curriculum strands - forces & motion, optics and energy. For instance, students learn about forces, motion, conservation of energy and momentum through aeronautics based projects; they learn about optics through photography-based projects and about energy, electricity & magnetism, heat and light through building a city powered by solar, wind and water sources.

Evaluation: We conduct rigorous, research-based evaluations - both pre and post and formative in every workshop. We try and make the assessments part of the learning process as much as possible (science notebooks, writing stories etc.).

High-quality instruction: We have 1-2 instructors for a class of 25 students (besides 5-10 parents). Instructors are typically undergraduate or graduate students in physics, math or engineering and go through a rigorous screening and training program. Candidates learn and practice various pedagogical methods, lesson planning, curriculum development and evaluation in the training program with a special focus on how to teach for understanding.

Mentorship: A large part of the workshops also involves bringing professors, post docs, engineers and scientists to the classroom (as mentors) to share their work and interests with the students. We are currently partnering with a number of people from Caltech, Stanford, UCLA, USC and AeroVironment (a pioneering aerospace company) and Boeing.
Area of Science:
In the workshops, key Physics concepts (such as Newton’’’’s Laws of Motion, Fluid Dynamics, Pressure, Forces etc.) are understood through small-group discussions in which students build on their prior knowledge. These concepts are applied in hands-on experiments and model building. The long-term benefit to the students is exposure to the inquiry methods and other tools used by professionals in the real world.
Target Grade Levels:
Grades 5-12
Target Group Size:
See above.
Please contact us for fee information.

The information contained in this page is accurate as of September, 2007.