Woooooooooooooooooooo! Episode 60! Being as everybody’s so much in a “back to school” mode, let’s take an episode and dedicate it to audio celebrating the opening of The School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt, an audacious project that the fine folks at the Vanderbilt Center for Science Outreach have been planning for over a year and which they have just implemented!
Long-story-short: Henceforth, 25 Metro Nashville Public School students from each grade level, grades 9 through 12, will attend classes one day a week on the Vanderbilt University campus, gaining first hand knowledge at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center while learning about how rewarding a career in research and exploration can be. Chosen via an application process aggressively offered to students in a school system of 73,000 students K12, these 100 top Metro science and math students will be exposed to the best of the best. Taught by a small cadre of talented, young, enthusiastic PhD level instructors, visited by internationally renowned scientists, guided through hands-on work in a real research laboratory (the classes will meet this year in the lab formerly utilized by Nobel prize-winning cancer researcher Dr. Sydney Brenner), these students will exercise 21st century skills to explore 21st century problems, gaining expertise along the way that will position them for collegiate experiences we can only begin to imagine, followed by professional adventures we, to be honest, cannot.
I was lucky enough to be a “fly on the wall” for the very first day of work put in by the School’s freshman class, the class of 2011. These freshmen have signed on for a four year commitment, supported by the Metro Nashville Public Schools administration and our own Center for Science Outreach staff. How thoroughly are they supported? Listen to MNPS Director Pedro Garcia at an August 2 orientation session for the students, their parents, and the world.
We also serve up some quick snapshots of the first morning at the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt. The first thing I got to follow was the trip to the Vanderbilt Life-Flight heli-pad, 14 stories up from ground level at the top of Vanderbilt Hospital. Communications Supervisor James Thompson, the students’ gracious and attentive host, shared all kinds of information with the students. This was a breath-taking experience for all of us, 14 stories up, no railing on the deck. I will be adding video here soon, so come on back to visit.
Music at the start of the episode is from my own CD, Scott Merrick’s Songs for Alaska Featuring the Last Frontier Band. You can find that and purchase the whole shebang at CDbaby.com or buy it online whole or by individual songs at iTunes. To open the episode, the lovely Dana Ward sings “A Fiddle and a Bow,” a traditional folk tune she accompanies herself with on dulcimer. I’m the mandolin player, and Lynn Gudmundsen wields the violin.
I’ll be featuring more soon from the School for Science and Math at Vanderbilt, in fact, you can count on it as a new recurring theme for Snacks for the brain. I’m gonna let ya go today, playing you out with a funny song by independent songwriter Tom Smith, shared at the podsafe music network at music.podshow.com. Smith wants you to watch out for the “Wiki Police,” and since I just finished a workshop on Web 2.0 applications for my teachers at University School of Nashville, wikis being amongst the primary tools for our work, I get a good solid chuckle out of this song. I hope you do too, and if you don’t know what a wiki is do what I did when I first heard the term: Look it up on wikipedia!!!
Cheers, peace, and safe skies until next time, when we’ll join you for episode number 61 of Snacks4thebrain!
NEW! Check out the video from The School’s week 2 freshman class session, when the Mystery Scientist came by to offer two amazing demonstrations–the students spent much of the rest of the day discussing just what they’d seen, all part of developing the inquiry skills they’ll need the rest of the year!
Find more videos like this on Classroom 2.0
Download Snacks4theBrain! episode 60 here, or click “Links” on this page and use the Podcast Pickle Player to listen right ding-danged now!