Career Connections, an interactive program created by the Aquarium of the Pacific in 2013, provides opportunities for scientists to connect with middle school and high school students anywhere in the nation through videoconferencing technology. During a live video chat session, students are able to ask the scientist questions about his or her experiences, education, and areas of expertise. Connecting scientists with students can help give real-life examples of science in action, introduce career opportunities, and help students learn how science is related to their everyday lives.
Pre- and post-lesson plan materials for Career Connections are offered to help teachers introduce new topics before the videoconference program. For example, students will watch a short video introduction to learn more about the scientist and generate questions for the live videoconference session. Teachers report that classrooms that used the pre-program material were more confident in the content and questions they asked the scientists, enriching the overall discussion.
Teachers will learn about Career Connections through the Aquarium’s annual Boeing Teacher Institute held each summer. Through this five-day professional development experience, teachers will learn ways to bring marine science and real-world data into the classroom, both with their time at the Aquarium and at the University of Southern California’s Wrigley Marine Science Center on Catalina Island, and through resources such as Career Connections. Coupling these experiences can empower both teachers and students by bringing science directly into the classroom for relevant and real-time conversations.
This program is supported by The Robert and Lisa Margolis Family Foundation.