There are two ways we usually conduct school visits but we are open to suggestions if you have an alternative and are often able to do a combination of both methods described below.
- All day visit: In this scenario we run 4-5 stations during your normally scheduled class periods throughout the entire school day. Students will be able to complete all of the stations within class time and each class will get virtually the same experience. This allows the teacher(s) to carry on their day as normally scheduled without disrupting other classes. Teachers of other classes can ask their students to meet for class in the host teacher’s classroom but they will remain on the same schedule they have every day. We will schedule the length of our stations based on the time frame allowed by the class period and the number of students in attendance at a given time. This kind of schedule is often good for high schools where changes in class length are not feasible.
- Multiple classes at the same time: In this scenario we typically visit a school for a set period of time (i.e., 9-12 or 1-2). During this time the teachers of multiple classes/grades will gather their students together to experience the visit at the same time. Students will be broken up into smaller groups and run through the stations. We will schedule the length of our stations based on the time frame that the entire group will be present and the number of students in attendance. This kind of schedule is often good for elementary schools where changes in class length are easy to accomplish and teachers need to fit in other subjects or portions of their curricula during the school day.
School visits are typically run with small groups of students spread at stations throughout a large room such as a library, media room or gymnasium or with stations spread among different classrooms in a common hallway. The former is often good for high school students if a lab classroom is unavailable. It is not recommended for elementary and middle school students because the noise level often gets very high making it difficult for station facilitators to keep the attention of their students. The latter is more optimal for elementary and middle school students since it controls the noise level to a single station (per classroom).
When choosing a location to facilitate the visit the following things should be kept in mind:
- Location should be easily accessible and easy to navigate through by students and teachers
If using multiple locations, each classroom should be close in proximity to minimize the amount of time spent rotating stations.
- Stations run optimally with a large table where the facilitator can call attention to visual aids/props and students can stand or sit around to look and listen.
- Real brains are brought to the classroom. While they are stored in a safe nontoxic solution it does have a strong odor. In addition, while we do have lab trays to place the brains on, it is not unusual to get a few drips on the space being used when passing around specimens. These issues can be minimized with good ventilation and 409 or other disinfectant.
- Some stations require a power outlet for computers and other electrically operated aids.