Active Science Group
They dropped out of school and currently are not part of a formal learning environment, but they are more than just “at-risk youth”: They are youth with potential
Ever since the establishment of the Davidson Institute of Science Education, the Active Science Groups program has worked together with the Ministry of Education’s HILA program, run by the municipal youth-advancement units, in order to bring old school-excluded youths aged 15-18 to live up to their potential. We do this by encouraging them to take part in a 9-12-year education program, geared to transform a “can’t-do” attitude into self-confidence and an experience of success.
Throughout the years, we have discovered that science, typically associated with excelling students, has the ideal combination of curiosity and experimentation, which inspires an inquisitiveness about the world and facilitates acquiring basic life skills. Teens who have never held a soldering iron, saw, or screwdriver, receive through the program the opportunity to do so, in a prestigious learning environment that shows them that they can. Providing a good starting point for learning, the program enables participants to quickly find their own place in the “world of science” – and what had previously seemed out of reach and threatening, ultimately leads to their gaining a positive self-image and taking an active role in society.
More about the program
The activity comprises of a short theoretical part, combining talks and demonstrations, and a practical part, in which the students build a product or a model illustrating the scientific or technological principle taught. In each meeting, we emphasize the connection of the scientific topic to everyday life (“link to life”). For instance, an activity on high-speed photography, in which we take photos of an exploding balloon, can lead to a discussion of “capturing the moment” and important life events. At the end of the year, the participants will be asked to present their work in a special conference to their peers, teachers, instructors, families, and friends.
Every group is comprised of up to twenty participants and is accompanied by a youth-advancement employee. Two professional instructors, from science and engineering fields, lead the group meetings. The instructors, trained according to the scientific-educational spirit of the program, receive support and guidance from the Davidson Institute’s faculty.
For further information, visit the Hebrew site.