This week’s issue of Science has a news article about National Lab Day, a White House-supported initiative to pair up teachers and scientists in an effort to improve STEM education nation-wide. As the article notes, National Lab Day is a bit of a misnomer, seeing as the goal is to encourage a range of educational activities over the next year or so. That’s a sentiment I can appreciate; why pick just one national lab day when you can have ALL OF THEM.
In any case, if you’re a scientist, you can sign up simply by giving away all of your deepest secrets and best research ideas providing your contact information and describing your academic background. I’m not really sure what happens after that, but in theory, at some point you’re supposed to wind up in a K-12 classroom demonstrating what you do and why it’s cool, which I guess could involve activities like pulling french fries out of burning oil with your bare hands, or applying TMS to 3rd graders’ foreheads, or other things of that nature. Of course, you can’t really bring an fMRI scanner into a classroom (though I suppose you could bring a classroom to an fMRI scanner), so I’m not really sure what I’ll do if anyone actually contacts me and asks me to come visit their classroom. I guess there’s always videos of lesion patients and the Muller-Lyer illusion, right?