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K-12 Science 2 Schools Traveling Science Programs: Weird Science

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Program Title:
Weird Science
supported by Univ of IL Chicago, Fermilab, and Chicago Drug and Chemical Naperville, IL, United States
Geographical Area:
Anywhere in the world
General Description:
"Weird Science" has appeared on the David Letterman 30 times in the last 17 years, usually trashing the set each time - it is science "infotainment"! "Weird Science" takes many forms depending on the needs of the participants. We have done programs for teachers, students, adults, and corporations. We tailor each program to the group with which we are working. We have presented to groups as large as 5000 students [& the mikes went out!], to 2200 teachers and general public, and to audiences as large as 10,000,000 [the David Letterman Show where we were selected for their Emmy shots and on their 10th Anniversary show]. We have also been on shows from Bozo to Inside Edition and Craig Kilborn. We have even done demonstrations in the halls of the US Congress on Capitol Hill.

"Weird Science" is a series of short, easy and sometimes "weird" demonstrations and ideas on chemical and physical phenomena, designed for teachers and students of the physical sciences, primarily at middle school and high school levels. The program presents novel demonstrations guaranteed to hook kids and adults into thinking about science concepts. It lasts between one and six hours. Humor and audience participation are an integral part of "Weird Science". As Hubert Alyea said "Surprise, humor and truth are the servants of a good lecture." "Weird Science" entertains while it educates. It is our job to awaken our studentís desire to learn--to keep the students mentally coming back. You cannot communicate with people who are not mentally present. If you want "presence" you have to capture attention. "Weird Science" provides tools to capture attention.

"Weird Science" is a fast paced [like MTV] series of demonstrations on chemical and physical phenomena presented to audiences of students and adults. The approximately one hour program is designed to stimulate student interest in science by involving students in the demonstration process. As Bassam Shakhashiri says " A good demonstration is a process, not an event." "Weird Science" treats each demonstration as a learning experience that will send students back to the classroom or home talking about science. Be ready to answer their questions! Many of the demonstrations are open ended and will set the stage for further class discussion and demonstrations. Discrepant events are the backbone of "Weird Science". We follow George Gilbertís suggestion and "Donít tell them what is going to happen, treat each one [demonstration] as an experiment"

In a recent survey published in School Science and Mathematics on "Secondary Science Teacherís Needs," teachers ranked methods to motivate students as their number one concern and identification of sources of peer tested instructional materials as a high priority. WEIRD SCIENCE presentations provide both.

We have also run a history of science courses for teachers and profs in Europe for the last 10 years.
Area of Science:
Chemistry and Physics
Target Grade Levels:
k--100 for real!
Target Group Size:
any size - we have had 5000
Depends on group

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