Tips for Scientists Making Presentations to High School Students

Share the Excitement of Scientific Discovery

Communicate the process of critical thinking and scientific analysis by involving students in open-ended scientific discovery. Emphasize hands-on experimentation to convey that the process of inquiry-based science is more important than memorizing content or achieving a "correct," pre-planned result. Convey that in real science the answer may not be simple, stable, or known.

Don't Lecture - Engage!

Guide students in thinking, exploring, investigating, drawing conclusions, and having fun. Model inquiry, rather than lecturing facts. Spark student interest with topics relevant to them, reinforce learning by highlighting their successes and encouraging deeper thinking.

Bring Your Presentation to Life

Students succeed in learning content by becoming involved in the process. Present a short demonstration within the allotted time. Encourage students to record their observations and engage in discussion concerning the broader philosophical basis of science (e.g., How certain is the data? How do scientists apply their findings in a broader context? Do the results have social implications?)

Prepare and Know Your Audience

Be aware of the students' abilities and scientific course backgrounds, space restrictions, equipment availability, etc.

Understand Your Role in Science Education

By partnering with teachers, you help the public understand and appreciate your work and you give a stamp of importance to science education. You provide unique insights to the trials and tribulations of science that is relevant to peoples' lives, not revealed in textbooks. Ensure that your handouts are targeted at the appropriate readability level.

Foster Equity in the Classroom

Be respectful of differences in learning styles and don't focus on a select few to the exclusion of others. Consider that gender and cultural backgrounds may make some students hesitant to speak out. Don't make students compete for your time and attention. Use anxiety-reducing strategies to encourage cooperative learning.

Last updated: August 29, 2012