Have an hour to bring real-life learning to students? Share a hands-on activity from your work or interests, or just bring a real life problem in for us to solve.
Contact your site director to discuss!
"One of the most rewarding things I’ve done in a long time time."
~ Tom Wooden, Parent and Workshop Visitor
Gerald Schwartz is an environmental educator and science teacher. He is currently working as a Resource Conservation Specialist with the County of San Mateo Office of Sustainability where he coordinates the RecycleWorks Schools Program. He also works as a lecturer at San Jose State University where he teaches a Geology course, “Earth Systems and the Environment,” to undergraduate Teacher Preparation Students.
According to Gerald, “Thanks to the help of the Workshop teachers, I was able to facilitate a lesson at Farallone View in which students worked in teams to build a stream by using simple materials such as sand, water, and recycled yogurt tubs, milk jugs, and long trays or bins.” The lesson started off by introducing students about the concept of running water and how landforms are made from this process by seeing photographs of the Grand Canyon. Once students grasped this concept, they created their very own stream. They were able to see the land erode and the sediment get deposit to create features such as valleys, islands, and deltas. At the end of the lesson Gerald said, “It was fantastic to see the students work together to create something that models our natural world, and have fun at the same time.”
"I’m a project manager for a construction firm and love to build almost anything. I’ve been really inspired by the kids in Workshop, because every time I’m there for pick up, they’re building or creating something. Sometimes, they’re so focused, you can almost see their mind working right in front of you. I asked Susie if I could donate some materials to help the class and at the end of our conversation she had my juices flowing and volunteering to teach the kids some practical and tangible applications about construction. So, I thought it would be fun to teach them a little something about structures, gravity and lateral forces, and how to resist them with columns, beams and braces. We spent about 10 minutes talking about these concepts, letting the kids explore and grasp the ideas with examples of their homes and the effect of wind and earthquakes. Then with a simple goal in mind we set out with straws and tape to create a structure that would support the most weight. We had a ton of fun! One of the most rewarding things I’ve done in a long time and would love to do it again!" ~ Tom Wooden, Farallone Workshop Parent & Workshop Visitor
Leslie Jimison, a materials scientist from Stanford visited, and taught the children about her work trying to make flexible solar panels to weave into fabrics. The children experimented with polymers to see how they were affected by salt vs. fresh water, and presented their results to Leslie.
Forest Flager, a civil engineer and professor at Stanford, is our most intrepid mentor. He has visited our sites over 15 times over the years. He serves as our Director of Stanford Connection to Workshop Mentor Program. Forest has given the children various challenges: the longest bridges made out of dried spaghetti and masking tape with support only one one side (tricky!), the tallest tower . . . Forest shares a few principles of building to start, works alongside the children, and gives them useful feedback on their designs.
The founder of Goldiblox, creator of engineering toys for girls, came to Workshop to watch children use her prototype for the toy and get feedback on how they liked it. The children were later very excited to see the toy on shelves and featured in the New York Times.
Brian Baum, a material scientist at Stanford, talked to the children about the invisibility cloak he was working on. They were fascinated! He amazed everyone by having children estimate the average height of balls made with various materials, and then brought in dry ice to show the impact of cold temperatures on materials. We watched a flower shatter, and a golf ball explode! Brian gets the award for staying up two nights working on his research project for Stanford and still coming into to mentor the Workshop students. He is an inspiration!
Professor Kim, Chief Technology Officer and Assistant Dean of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University, met with the students to get their feedback on his project, SMILE (Stanford Mobile Inquiry-based Learning Environment).
These Stanford students came to speak to the children about what computer science is really like, and to interview them about their attitudes and misconceptions about it for a school project.