The Chemist: My Summer at Camp
Hey everyone! This week we decided to talk about a cool project we've done in our fields and instead of talking about my research, I'm going to talk about teaching a chemistry camp last summer. I secretly like teaching so when I asked my high school if they needed help over the summer and they offered me a job teaching my own camp, I jumped at that opportunity.
Just like I want the site to reach my younger #MacScientists out there, I wanted to teach middle schoolers basic chemistry and I had a ball doing it. I loved making my lesson plans, getting together worksheets, and planning labs so much and if any of my old students are reading this, I hope you guys had as much fun learning as I did teaching. We went from the basics of what matter was to electron configurations to talking about/making polymers by the end of the week. I even got my dad to be my TA for one of my weeks of camp.
I think what made last summer at camp so great was that I got to make something my own. I got a budget, a list of names, and a classroom, the rest was up to me. It was interesting being on the other side of things in a classroom for once. It was one of the first times I actually had to think things through and account for everything from a class that didn't talk to students with different learning styles. But that definitely made it lol worth it. I taught from a PowerPoint mainly, but I also incorporated worksheets, games, whiteboard work, and then labs, of course - what's a chemistry camp without a little lab fun.
I say all that to say, pursuing a STEM degree isn't just about the classes you take. You have to go and explore where in STEM you fit. Try new things, join a STEM organization like NSBE or NOBCChE, try out teaching, maybe look for reaserch opportunities, but be well rounded. Sometimes you have to look beyond the books.