Sterling Cathman, aka Mr Science is originally from St Paul, Minnesota, USA. But he’s been in New Zealand for over 20 years with an absolute passion for Science & innovation in education. Sterling is a specialist primary science teacher, who has been working with kids and teachers for the past 8 years in schools around the Top of the South Island.
He teaches science to all age groups from New Entrants to yr. 6 ((5 -12 year olds).
His current project is Super Science Boxes, which are awesome science resources that inspire children and teachers.
As Mr Science says the Super Science Boxes are “Tried and tested on real children!!!”
Each activity (box) has 5 components:
All the materials for a fun hands-on science activity for 28+ children
Student Book – instructions, questions, and worksheets to show student learning
Student video – students watch and go from there
Teacher video – instructional, science ideas and classroom management strategies
Teacher support sheets – with background science and cross curricular links
There are currently 40 activities, one for every week of the school year.
So Mr Science, what’s the idea behind the Super Science Boxes?
Innovation in Education!
Mr Science Ltd creates fun educational activities that make it easy for teachers to teach science.
The purpose is two-fold-
1- Teachers: We will empower teachers to innovate the teaching and learning of science in their classrooms.
This program carefully scaffolds the teaching of science, and fulfills all the requirements of the New Zealand Curriculum. Super Science Boxes are professional development designed to motivate creativity in teaching.
2- Children: Students love using the Super Science Boxes generating huge levels of engagement. Science should be an academic subject that grabs everyone’s attention. This program develops critical thinking, increases scientific literacy, inspires awe and wonder and provides insight into how the world works.
How long has it taken for the project to be developed?
While working with teachers in many schools I realized that they were held back from teaching science; due to a lack of suitable equipment and the time to research activities.
I started planning and producing materials in late 2014. The first sales were in July 2015, so the business has been in place for one year.
Why are you so passionate about the project?
I love science and the way it works. I also appreciate children and the way they think. This science is inquiry learning, and there is always amazing experiments happening, often with unpredictable, fantastic results. Science is fun and excites students who soon think of themselves as “little scientists”.
I like going into the classroom everyday and blowing them away! (Not literally of course!) My students in turn will blow me away with their ideas and observations.
What next for Super Science Boxes or Mr Science Ltd?
We want to ensure students make the connection from the fun science they are doing to practical applications in the real world.
We believe that the Mr Science Ltd system should be in every Early Childhood Centre and primary school in New Zealand. We will be expanding to Australia and beyond by the start of 2017.
We enjoy giving back to the community. Mr Science Ltd will continue to provide fun “citizen science” to schools and the public free of charge. This is in the form of schools visits, resource donations, events, fairs and demonstrations.
How does Mr Science set out to make a difference?
Education is changing. Teachers and adults are changing the way they teach and relate to children. Allowing teachers freedom to teach creatively will inspire children and in turn will generate problem-solving adults. We believe in a constructivist model, when students can construct their own learning.
As we shift to a critical thinking model of education, where the end result is not known, kids can think laterally to create solutions. This will include using technology to solve complex problems.
We will help to produce the problem solvers of the future, who love to test their thinking. Curiosity and questioning will encourage problem solving. This prepares the student for a future where we have no idea what technology and jobs will be obtainable/reachable. Students of today need to be flexible thinkers.
What inspires and motivates you to continue with this direction?
The learners themselves inspire me as they buzz and glow in science class. They are having so much fun they don’t realize they are learning. I get tremendous feedback from children, parents, teachers and principals, so I want to make this approach to teaching/learning available around NZ and the world.
This is a new model in education; I have designed, trailed and tested Mr Science Boxes and they work.
“Hi Sterling – hope this gives you a wee snapshot of our children engaged and learning while having fun with science club. It’s been a fantastic success. Parents are feeding back that they are having rich conversations at home with their children relating to their learning. Thanks for creating such a series of user friendly resources that provide quality valuable learning for all!”
Tania Jull, Te Awamutu
“The best thing about the boxes is the student video. Teachers can watch and learn alongside the students!” Denyse, Principal Blenheim School
This program has proven engagement in all sectors of education, low decile schools, Maori, Pasifika, youth at risk programs and so much more.
We would like people to make practical Science connections to their everyday lives. Spread the word, science education is the future!
If you would like to contact Mr Science to find out more about Sterling and the Super Science Boxes, you can reach him on:
Google +: https://plus.google.com/107419359977660382709/videos