This is the VOA Special English Education Report.
The Exploratorium in San Francisco,
California, calls itself "the museum of science, art and human perception." The
museum gets more than five hundred thousand visitors each year. Millions more
visit online at exploratorium.edu.
Exploratorium officials say their Web site averages more than eighteen
million visitors a year. That makes it one of the most visited museum Web sites
in the world.
And millions of people see displays designed by the Exploratorium at science
centers around the world.
The museum has a Teacher Institute and is working to help teachers improve
science education at all grade levels. There are professional development
materials that teachers can download from the Web site at no cost.
The Exploratorium also offers professional development programs for
scientists. This is a joint effort with the University of California, Santa
Cruz, and King’s College London.
Exploratorium.edu also includes experiments that people can do at home. And
it offers many Webcasts -- including a show called "Iron Science Teacher."
The idea came from the popular "Iron Chef" cooking competition on Japanese
television. At the Exploratorium, people watch science teachers develop
demonstrations around everyday objects. The teachers have ten minutes to put
together an interesting classroom activity.
The teachers come to the competition already knowing what the object will be.
Recently it was fruit. Winners are chosen by the reaction of the audience. The
loudest applause went to a science teacher at Opportunity Charter School in
Harlem, in New York City. Linda Paparella stuck pieces of zinc and copper into
oranges cut in half.
The oranges acted as a "fruit battery." Free electrons naturally stored in
the fruit flowed through wires connected to the pieces of metal. There was
enough electricity to power a calculator. The teacher also demonstrated with a
stopwatch and a buzzer.
Museum officials say the "Iron Science Teacher" competition started as a
joke. It was meant to be just a one-time show, but it was so popular they
continued it. The next live Webcast is set for nineteen hours Universal Time on
And that's the VOA Special English Education Report, written by Nancy
Steinbach. Transcripts and archives of our reports are at voaspecialenglish.com.
You can also find a link to archives of Iron Science Teacher Webcasts. I’m Steve