Microscopy in the Classroom: Evolution of an Education and Outreach Community
Elaine Schumacher, Charles E. Lyman, Craig Queenan and Alyssa Calabro
Microscopy Today - July 2014
Origins of MSA Educational Outreach
The Microscopy Society of America (MSA) has nurtured and promoted pre-college science education for over 20 years. The Society’s flagship effort was conceived and implemented under the guidance of Caroline Schooley. The creation of Project MICRO (Microscopy In Curriculum – Research Outreach) has placed MSA members, teaching materials, and microscopes in middle school classrooms nationwide . Other MSA efforts include HS_SEM, a discussion group for high schools with scanning electron microscopes , ‘A Family Affair’ – activities for kids at the annual M&M meeting, and the MSA service called “Ask-a-Microscopist,” where a the homework-challenged student can get answers to burning questions.
With all this effort by MSA, one might think that there is not much more that volunteers can do to help kids use microscopy in the classroom. Unfortunately, as described by Schooley , many elementary schools and middle schools have been forced to curtail innovative science education programs like Project MICRO because of budget cuts and because teachers need to prepare students for standardized performance tests. So the question remains: How can we continue to use microscopy to get students enthused about science, particularly in this difficult environment?