Due to ORNL budget cuts, Science Saturdays is on hiatus indefinitely. If you would like to be notified if/when this program is restarted, please email us at ScienceSaturdays@orau.org. We are sorry for any inconvenience this has caused.
Science Saturdays was a program, sponsored by ORNL, and administered through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) by ORAU, whose goals were to reach 8th-12th grade students from more than 70 East Tennessee middle and high schools, engage them in a dynamic and experiential opportunity to learn about the exciting research occurring at ORNL, and to provide an avenue to create a more selective process to a larger applicant pool of high school age students for summer research appointments at ORNL.
14 Saturday sessions were conducted, spanning a little over one year from 2013-2014. More than 200 students attended the 10 sessions in 2013, and 150 attended the 4 sessions in 2014. At the end of the 2013 season, 10 students were selected, based on attendance and a competitive essay competition, for unpaid internships at ORNL for the summer of 2013.
The sessions’ subjects spanned fields such as x-ray and neutron diffraction, different types of clean energy, biofuel cells, robotics, and several others. The sessions included a presentation with a broad overview of the subject matter and then a little more in-depth study of the material. Hands-on activities based on the subject were interspersed between the lectures.
Each session team consisted of the ORNL scientist(s) and a local K-12 STEM teacher. The teacher’s role was to confirm that the subject matter of the presentation was on a level that would be understood by 8-12 graders as well as help plan the hands-on activities. At the conclusion of the session, the teacher prepared a lesson plan to go along with the presentation and activities so the material could be used in a classroom setting.
A number of volunteers from the community also participated in these sessions. Volunteers came from ORNL, UT-Knoxville, and local industries and businesses. Several local K-12 teachers also participated in the sessions, and were able to take ideas learned during the session back to their own classrooms.
The presentations, lesson plans, and videos from the sessions can be found on the Science Saturdays Resources page. If you would like to be notified if this program is conducted in the future, please email ScienceSaturdays@orau.org to be put on the mailing list.