Here are four great reasons to support our work.
1. Kids need more opportunities to learn science.
Scientific solutions are needed to address many of the challenges our world faces today, from healthcare, to climate change, to finding sustainable sources of energy, clean water, and food.
Yet, even with science and technology playing an increasingly central role in the economy, current K-12 student understanding and performance in science and related fields raises significant concerns. We need to improve the quality of K-12 science, technology, engineering and math education, but sadly we also need to make sure those subjects are taught at all. Many students don't get the opportunity to do more then one hour a week of science in elementary school and science is frequently one of the first subjects to be cut when budgets shrink.
Interest in science by middle school is a better predictor of whether students study science in college than math test scores. Programs from the Lawrence hall of Science give students the opportunity to DO science in hands-on and engaging ways. By doing science, students gain access to relevant science knowledge and they build their evidence-based thinking and problem solving skills, as well as their passion for learning.
If we are to deliver on democracy’s promise of opportunity we must provide everyone with access to quality education, and that means a stronger commitment to more and better science learning.
2. The Hall has broad reach and substantial impact.
The Lawrence Hall of Science is unique in it’s impact on science and math education because we develop effective science learning opportunities that prepare and inspire youth both in-school and out-of-school. Not only do about 25% of our nation’s K-12 students use our curriculum materials at some point in their schooling, but we also provide professional development that helps over 20,000 teachers bring science alive for their students.
Beyond school, we are increasing the quantity of science experience that kids get by developing programs for use in their time outside of school—after-school and at-home. Every year, hundreds of thousands of people visit our science center to engage with science by exploring and doing. The public science center also hosts classes, camps, and workshops and provides internships and learning opportunities for teenagers and young adults. We’ve also developed a program called Afterschool KidzScience to provide the thousands of out-of-school programs across the country with the training and engaging materials they need to teach science after school.
These programs consistently emphasize that enjoying and doing science is something that every child can achieve. Time- and kid-tested programs, supplemented by scholarship programs, make science fun and accessible, proving that active, engaging science is a viable choice for all children to enjoy in their out-of-school time.
3. Our programs are researched and tested for effectiveness.
We test our programs for efficacy and usability and scale up programs that are proven to work. Using our expertise with what works best across grade levels and environments, we adapt our best performers and develop specialized experiences for different settings and situations. Our curriculum programs promote and maintain high, clear performance expectations for all students. They have been tested extensively and have proven effective in meeting the needs of all students, including those traditionally underrepresented in mathematics and science.
4. More public understanding of science will help build a better world.
People of all ages need to understand science and engage in public dialog around science related issues that impact daily life. Our programs help people take a scientific approach to these issues and engage in conversations and activities so they are better informed and more confident as they vote on polices and make personal choices in how they live their lives.
The Lawrence Hall of Science works with leading institutions and scientists to bring contemporary science knowledge to the public. Our research-based educational methods make scientists confident that their knowledge will be communicated intelligently and with impact. A good example of this is our work in Nanotechnology. It’s something people still don’t understand, but that is becoming more and more important in technologies and things like early-detection therapies for cancer. We’ve partnered with local researchers from individuals to major universities and companies. We provide opportunities for them to grow public understanding and appreciation, and to hear from people on how they feel about the work that is being done.