104 Communicating Science: Science Is Fun Student Public Presentations

Friday, May 15, 2009: 2:30 PM
Illinois/Indiana Room (Lincolnshire Marriott)
Stacy Wittkopp , Department of Chemitry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
Michael Boll , Niles North High School, Skokie, IL
Rodney Schreiner , Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin, Madison, WI
Bassam Z. Shakhashiri , Department of Chemistry, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI
The Wisconsin Initiative for Science Literacy (WISL) trains undergraduate and graduate students, post docs, academic staff, and faculty to participate in Science is Fun presentations. Science Is Fun Presentations are offered both on and off campus to a wide variety of audiences including students, teachers, parents, and members of the community at large. An exciting component of these public presentations is one which links science and the performing arts. Among the presenters are students, staff, and faculty from science departments, music, theatre, and other performing arts, who combine their art with scientific experiments to share the joy and excitement of both artistic and scientific creativity.

Presenters gain experience in the safe and proper presentation of science demonstrations in school settings, shopping malls, and other public venues. New presenters join an experienced staff who enjoy doing demonstrations and who continue to develop the art of presenting a science demonstration. Training involves: learning scientific principles and phenomena, prior preparation to public presentation, developing skills for connecting with different audiences, mastering safety practices, and proper staging and displaying demonstrations. Presenters become comfortable in genuinely sharing their personal joy and fun in doing science.

In this paper we describe the course organization and its various components along with feedback from presenters and audiences.