Hands-on Workshops Pique Interest in STEM

Laboratory Equipment
Mon, 03/17/2015
Michelle Taylor, Editor-in-Chief

Pittcon’s Science Week program held workshops and fulfilled equipment grants for students and teachers in the New Orleans area.

“Is there any way I can buy one of those?”

“This is the best field trip we’ve ever taken.”

“Can I skip school and come back tomorrow?”

That is just a sampling of exclamations heard from students as they walked out of Science Week workshops at Pittcon 2015 in New Orleans. If the smiling faces were any indication, this year’s Science Week was another success.

Each year, Pittcon offers outreach and support programs for science education in the city that hosts the annual conference. This year, students from nine different New Orleans schools attended the half-day workshops. Additionally, 150 teachers representing about 80 schools attended separate teacher workshops.

Teachers from the surrounding area—as well as a few Science Week “groupies” from as far as Florida and California—had a choice between 19 different workshops they could attend, such as the STEM Design Challenge and Teaching Chemistry Using Inquiry. Equipment grants are available to teachers who attend the workshop—schools that send one teacher receive a $500 grant, a $750 grant for schools with two teachers and a maximum of $1,000 for schools that send three or more teachers. According to Science Week co-chairmen Marc Hubert and Don Antczak, Pittcon funds this year will be able to fulfill grants to each and every teacher that attended.

“The teachers ask for anything from microscopes to simple things like pipettes,” Antczak told Laboratory Equipment. “They are just so excited to take the information back to their classrooms and be able to use it.”

Additionally, if Pittcon exhibitors have any materials they don’t want to take back with them at the conclusion of the expo, they donate it through Pittcon to local public schools.