Youth science programs, like school in general, have gone remote due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“When the schools shifted to online learning we pivoted as well to conducting our science through Zoom,” said Danielle Adler, M.Ed, a local parent and small-business owner of San Diego Youth Science, LLC. “In our first session, we helped students explore the red tide phenomenon that occurred at the beginning of the quarantine, collecting plankton samples from the ocean, identifying species with students through a live feed microscope, and tying in into the local research about bioluminescence at Scripps.”
Adler began her hands-on youth science programs about five years ago beginning at Pacific Beach Elementary with all of their K-5th grade students, before branching out to include Barnard Elementary and Kate Sessions Elementary schools.
Added Adler, “In our second session we worked with local fishermen to explore the biodiversity of plants and animals found in our local tide pool habitat.”
“I’ve been busy the last five years teaching live marine science to kids in the Mission Beach Cluster with my business,” said Adler, noting she’s utilizing the newest science content standards known as Next Generation Science.
NGSS are K-12 science content standards developed by states to improve science education for all students. A goal for developing the NGSS was to create a set of research-based, up-to-date K-12 science standards, giving local educators the flexibility to design classroom learning experiences that stimulate students’ interests in science preparing them for college, careers, and citizenship.
Adler has adopted a newer more cutting-edge curriculum because teachers needed to better understand the different ways they could work more broadly with science standard content.
“The idea is that students and the teachers are working together in this collaboration with the curriculum. It’s really a team effort.”
The science instructor spends a lot of her time developing lessons incorporating local research to “make it relevant to our population of students.”
“As an example, this year I did a session on climate data working with Scripps Institution of Oceanography with ocean sediments,” said Adler, adding, “A lot of time in the classroom, teachers can’t make those connections with local research.”
Adler described her remote-learning science process.
“The way it works is school parent organizations bring us in,” she said. “We have a contract for a year to enhance science. It’s really unique, developing science-mindedness involving these younger students.”
Adler noted remote learning has come in handy teaching science during the pandemic while kids aren’t physically allowed to attend school.
“These kids need something to be engaged,” she said. “We’re definitely looking at how we can adapt this in a modified format if the students aren’t all in the classroom because of social-distancing guidelines.”