Helping students see science and engineering as a career possibility can be tricky. Sadly, many students may grow up hearing adults complain about science: "It's too hard. It's for 'geeks.' Why would you want to waste your time with that?" Yet scientists and engineers are more than just scientists and engineers. They are people who have lives outside of the groundbreaking, innovative work they do. Some are musicians or poets, some play sports, and others are collectors of strange and unusual things.
There has been a huge push to move away from the thought that scientists and engineers are just geeks in lab coats. Teachers can help any student--who may have an interest in STEM content--to explore what scientists do in a particular field of study. In this sense, PBS and IPTV are continuing to help kids transform the way they think about and view science, technology, engineering, and math.
Secret Life is a web video series and site from NOVA. Every two weeks, Secret Life premieres another set of intimate, engaging, and funny videos about a new scientist or engineer who happens to have a secret. Aside from short video clips that would work perfectly for the last 5 minutes of class, the website offers a Blog with fun and interesting stories about scientists' and engineers' lives. The website also shares ideas on how to use the videos to break down stereotypes, encourage kids to follow their passions, and make STEM relevant in the classroom.
Even if you're a teacher who knows enough science to teach it well, this site may be able to help you enhance a current lesson or concept. "If you're a teacher who is constantly seeking those extra, sometimes random nuggets of engaging instructional support, this site is for you," said Lee Kolber, an elementary school teacher who uses the site with her elementary students.
There is a wide range of interesting people to explore and each scientist or engineer shares several secrets, answers 10 random question, and (one of the most interesting segments) explains their science or field of research in less than 30 seconds. "It will take most readers longer than 30 seconds to read this blog post—but they won't get the depth of knowledge they will get by watching a 30 Second Science episode," said Michael Woods a teacher blogger for the Secret Life team.
Whether you have five minutes at the end of a day or an entire class period, Secret Life can work well in a variety of educational settings. Moreover, the website offers teachers and students several additional resources to help shine a positive light on STEM content.
Check out the site, help transform your students' views on STEM, and encourage young scientists to grow.
We're always eager to hear from you. How can you use Secret Life in your classroom?