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Iron Science Teacher: An Offbeat Science Competition for Teachers

For Immediate Release:
June 01, 2008

Media Available
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367

Iron Science Teacher: An Offbeat Science Competition for Teachers

Fridays, June 27, July 11 and 18, Noon-1pm
Available on the Web at www.exploratorium.edu/iron_science

Cheer on the competitors in this zany, science cook-off, where teachers compete before a live audience at the Exploratorium for the revered title, "Iron Science Teacher." In a

Iron Science Teacher

fast-paced atmosphere where showmanship and creativity reign, science teachers are given ten minutes and a secret ingredient to concoct a science activity that can be used in the classroom. The event takes place on Fridays, June 27, July 11 and July 18, at noon, and is free with admission to the Exploratorium.

The Iron Science Teacher competition is a series that takes place throughout the school year and in June/July at the Exploratorium. Iron Science Teacher is one of the more lighthearted programs of the Exploratorium's Teacher Institute.
Parodying the syndicated, tongue-in-cheek, cult Japanese TV program, Iron Chef, the Exploratorium's Iron Science Teacher competition showcases actual Bay Area science teachers as they build experiments around a given "secret ingredient" — an everyday item such as a paper-towel tube, a straw or a soda can. According to astrophysicist Dr. Linda Shore, Director of the Exploratorium Teacher Institute and host of the competition, "We try to show we can do science with anything. We show teachers how to use low-tech materials to illustrate classic principles of science and math." As contestant Don Rathjen summed up, "This helps teachers teach the $10 million state science standards on a $10 budget."

After building the gizmos, the teachers have a few minutes to explain what they are and the scientific principles they demonstrate. Judging is done on a less scientific basis, using what Dr. Shore refers to as "the clap-o-meter" — audience applause as measured by the human ear.

In one competition where the secret ingredient was a soda can, the diversity of science activities based on a simple object became clear. Using soda cans, a mathematician demonstrated the X, Y, and Z-axes of geometric shapes, a physicist illustrated the Bernoulli Effect (which affects such things as lift on an airplane’s wing), a biologist demonstrated that Classic Coke is denser than Diet Coke, and a chemist rigged up alcohol burners.

Given the popularity of the Iron Science Teacher competition, the Exploratorium is bringing science to teachers nationally via the World Wide Web.

The Exploratorium Teacher Institute provides teacher development for middle and high school science and mathematics teachers in the form of intensive summer long workshops and follow-up programs through the school year. There are currently 3000 alumni of the Teacher Institute, funded by the National Science Foundation, the State of California, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Noyce Foundation and the Eisenhower Program.

The Exploratorium Teacher Institute was rated in a recent survey as one of the top two science education resources among teachers and district leaders from throughout Northern California.

Hours of Operation & New Evening Hours
Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm;  every Thursday evening adults only (ages 18 and up) 6pm-10pm.

$25 for adults, with lower rates for SF Bay Area residents, youth, seniors, students, teachers and the disabled. Tickets available at the door and advance tickets available online at www.exploratorium.edu/visit/tickets.

Getting Here
The Exploratorium is easily accessible by public transit. Convenient parking is available nearby. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit/location-directions

About the Exploratorium
The Exploratorium is the global leader in informal learning, igniting curiosity and inspiring creativity in people of all ages. The world-renowned science museum creates original, interactive exhibits, on display at more than 1,000 science centers, museums and public spaces around the world. Dedicated to education reform in and out of the classroom, the Exploratorium is a premier professional development center for educators and a creator of award-winning educational resources. Since 1969, the Exploratorium has influenced generations of entrepreneurs, artists, scientists, teachers, students, children, museum professionals and everyday doers, reaching nearly 180 million people annually from around the globe. On April 17, 2013, the Exploratorium opened at Pier 15 in the heart of San Francisco's Embarcadero, where it will celebrate a new era of experiences that encourage critical thinking and awaken wonder for generations to come. For more information, visit www.exploratorium.edu/visit.

Pier 15
San Francisco
California 94111
(415) 528-4444 telephone

Contact Us:
Jenny Slafkosky (415) 528-4367