Last Friday marked the end of the second week of the Students Discover externship for the 12 incredible Kenan Fellows partnered with four postdocs in the labs at the NC Museum of Natural Sciences. This past week continued to provide authentic scientific experiences for the teacher-scientists as they delved further into their research. Each group started on creating citizen science-focused lesson plans and even began testing them with museum visitors!

As an added bonus I had a chance to join #TeamDirt (the group developing lesson plans based around dandelions and soil microbes) and #TeamPaleo (think fossilized shark tooth crime solving) out in the field. What a wonderful way to get to know the teacher-scientists and their scientist mentors!

Additionally, each Friday we meet as a group and have an extended lunch with the teacher-scientists and our partners in  Students Discover. Last week Rob reflected with a powerful email to everyone in the group (which I shared with you in last week’s wrap-up). This week’s lunch provided a moment for reflection and inspiration — some things I overheard at the lunch were so inspiring that I had to write them down and share them with the world. Hear what our incredible teacher-scientists had to say about their experiences working in the labs so far:

“We are in museum Nirvana.”


“It’s great to see how easy it is for the different parts of the research to fit into the educational standards… From Next Generation Science Standards to math to Common Core to social studies…”


“Being a part of a team makes it so much easier to ask questions because you don’t feel like you’re alone … and we complement each other; each person has their strengths.”


“We were all looking forward to an authentic scientific experience, because most of us are teachers first — we teach science but we don’t necessarily have that formal science background — and I’ve really enjoyed doing the hands-on science with the scientists here.”


“It’s motivation for me to do more hands-on authentic science
[with my students].”


“I feel welcome here.”


“Knowing that we are actually doing real science: we really are discovering things. We’re helping forward our postdocs’ studies. They are using our data – we are helping them.”


“We’re a part of real science. The studies and the science that we’re doing has not been done before… it’s mind boggling. It’s not just “a study” — we’re on the study, it’s the study. This is not just us creating lesson plans and being a part of something that’s already been done; we’re a part of this scientific work. And it’s not just going out to classrooms, it’s going out to other scientists in other labs.”


“The studies we’re doing in our communities get to be a part of a larger scientific databank that a researcher somewhere else in the world might tap into it and use in their research.”


“It’s taken me a long time to be able to say, ‘I don’t know’ and not feel like a failure. It’s ‘There’s more work to be done,’ not ‘I don’t know.'”


“Right now we’re being real scientists and we get to know how it feels to be real scientists. So it will be easier for us, now, to transmit it to our students, so they can also feel that they are real scientists.”


“It’s been really fun to watch science happen and see how excited our postdocs are about the things that we’ve done. I thought that we’d be given stuff that we couldn’t mess up. When our first gel came back and none of the ones I had made worked I was really upset and I was worried I was going to be in trouble or something — but Dan was just happy that some of them worked. It was cool to see that not everything has to work all the time.”



Check out the highlights from Week 2 in the Storify below and be sure to check out our Flickr group to see some more behind the scenes of Students Discover. For even more information about Students Discover and our education initiatives visit