Reaching and Inspiring Student Engineers (RISE) is a student organization at the University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) that reaches out to local elementary schools with free science demonstrations aimed at motivating young students to pursue STEM careers. For the past two years, we have built up a great deal of experience and expertise, which has prepared us to broaden the scope of our outreach. By the end of this year, our UTD student volunteers will have donated 400 hours of their time and presented to more than 4,000 young students. We have built a volunteer base, established relationships with a network of Plano educators, and developed packages of demonstrations that we can present on teachers’ request. We envision building on the success we have seen so far to expand our program into a resource used by all Plano teachers and students.
We have developed a teacher-centered approach that creates a hassle-free way for schools to provide students with exciting, educational science demonstrations. We develop packages of demonstrations beforehand and visit schools to engage students with both classic science experiments and cutting-edge technologies that have emerged from UTD labs. Since we take on the responsibility of creating curriculum, our model requires minimal time investment from teachers.
Through this preliminary initiative, we have gained experience and prepared ourselves to expand into a larger role in the fabric of science education in Plano. With the support of the Awesome Foundation, we will develop a library of demonstrations covering a wide spectrum of science topics for all levels of primary and secondary education. We aim to enhance the existing Plano science curriculum while creating opportunities for students to learn outside the classroom. By concentrating experience, knowledge, and materials among our volunteers, we can be a reliable resource for K-12 educators throughout Plano for years to come.
Funded by Plano, TX (April 2015)