Behind-the-STEM is a new blog series written from the point-of-view of an LSC team member.Each post dives into a unique experience about life at the Science Center and what it's like bringing the power, promise, and pure fun of science and technology to people of all ages.
Writer: Rich Cohen
Position: STEM Educator
As a STEM Educator at Liberty Science Center, one of the best things I get to do is a program called Traveling Science. My fellow educators and I travel throughout New Jersey, and sometimes even into New York City and New York State, to present assemblies and workshops to schools and other educational facilities.
We pride ourselves on our absolute reliability, no matter the time or obstacles. If, for some reason, we wake up ill or get stuck in traffic, we can always contact a backup educator to take our place.
We are reliable, even when the weather conditions are not-so-good – in fact, two of the most challenging experiences I had both occurred in (you guessed it!) the dead of winter.
The first of these was several years ago at a school in Brooklyn. I had taken this trip a number of times before. But this time around, the weather bureau predicted at least six inches of snow on a day I was scheduled to do four workshops. I hoped the weather folks might be wrong, but they weren't.
The morning of, I received a call that Liberty Science Center was closed for the day. The schools in New York City, however, remained open.
With much trepidation, I left home that morning at 6 am, facing snow-covered roads and flakes coming down with increasing intensity. But luck ended up turning in my favor! The traffic on the snow-slicked highways was fairly light, and much to my relief, there were many more parking options than usual due to the snowfall. When I saw how much the teacher and students loved my workshops, I knew it was all worth it. The day had been a success!
The second challenge occurred only last March, the day after the only really big snowstorm of winter. My colleague CJ and I were scheduled to go to a school on Staten Island to present a series of workshops. The hosting teacher phoned me nervously the day before the approaching storm: Would everything be OK? Would we still come if Liberty Science Center was closed and the school was open?
"Don't worry!" I told her. I assured her that if she still wanted us, we would be there.
The day after the storm, both Liberty Science Center and Staten Island schools were open, even though the roads were not great yet. CJ and I traveled the icy journey – carefully and slowly, without any problems – and when we arrived at the school, we were delighted to find that the teacher carved a small spot for us in the parking lot. She even brought us doughnuts! Not a bad start for the day!
The students loved our workshop, which focused on energy conversion. One activity they loved in particular involved taking two metal balls and hitting them together into a piece of paper so you could smell the burning of the paper. CJ and I left that day feeling victorious that we made it to our destination, and had a great day of teaching.
The Traveling Science program has its obstacles sometimes, but here at Liberty Science Center, we love what we do and are committed to providing a terrific experience for students and educators.
Now...onto the next busy Traveling Science season!
To learn more about LSC's Traveling Science program, click here.