You Be The Chemist® Makes Chemistry Fun for K-8 Students
John M. Rice, Executive Director
Chemical Educational Foundation
Everyone wants a society that understands science.
Yet, according to any number of well-verified studies and reports, the sciences are not being taught adequately. This isn’t meant as a criticism. Our educators face many challenges—classroom size, financial resources, and the simple fact that so many of our educators weren’t taught science adequately during their schooling and therefore may not have a broad background in the subject.
These challenges are why it’s important that the private sector, especially industries that rely so heavily on science, help provide educators and students with additional STEM education resources. Coast Southwest is one such company that is leading the way in science outreach through its support of the Chemical Educational Foundation (CEF) and our You Be The Chemist (YBTC) programs to expand science education initiatives in California and nationwide.
CEF’s YBTC programs work to expand educator resources and access to relevant materials that increase student and educator excitement toward the sciences. It’s a three-fold series: the question-and-answer competition the YBTC Challenge, the free online YBTC Activity Guides for science educators, and the YBTC Essential Elements professional development workshops that drill down further to teach the teachers to share knowledge and learn with their peers. CEF partners with members of industry, such as Coast Southwest, to implement these programs nationwide.
CEF extends a big THANK YOU to the employees of companies like Coast Southwest who roll up their sleeves and get involved to help implement the YBTC programs in the communities in which they live and do business.
It’s the old principal of the snowball effect. The YBTC programs have been around for about a decade now and are active in every state, with 27 states participating in the You Be The Chemist® Challenge. This number grows every year thanks to the support of companies like Coast Southwest, and our goal is to be in all 50 states with hundreds of thousands of students being engaged in hands-on science education through this innovative program in the not so distant future.
It’s a big mouthful that we’ve bitten off, but these efforts are crucial and in the best interest of technology and chemistry related industries, and most importantly – society as a whole! Industry needs employees and customers to further efforts to improve our standards of living and society needs those same individuals to be well- educated and informed.
This industry-education outreach also helps introduce students and educators to the important work of the chemical industry. It is important for students to understand that they can make a good living in chemistry and that chemistry is the building block of all scientific study. Coast Southwest and its employees are demonstrating this in communities throughout southern California and by supporting the national efforts.
CEF, Coast Southwest, and our other industry partners are here to help. Educators, let us know if you are interested in participating in the YBTC programs! The more educators we speak to, the better the educational playing field is going to become for chemistry.
You cannot say that the students themselves aren’t inquisitive and don’t want to learn. If you say that, you then don’t know our students. Take a look at the faces of the students in the national 2013 YBTC Challenge and CEF’s Facebook page. You’ll see exactly the type of young people that you will want working in your business ten years from now.