Monday, November 4, 2013

San Francisco’s baseball park turned into site where kids see science can be as much fun as a ball game

Members of the Berkeley Student Society for Stem Cell Research walk visitors through a hands on stem cell activity
It does not get much better than the highlights of my past week. First my former hometown team, the Boston Red Sox, won the World Series at Fenway Park, which is down the street from my old office. Then Saturday, I spent the day at San Francisco’s AT&T Park across the street from my CIRM office, not for a Giants ball game, but to see thousands of young people, wide eyed and smiling, literally getting their hands into science.

CIRM joined more than 150 other organizations offering young people the chance to experience science through interactive exhibits. The event ended the two-week Bay Area Science Festival. The final numbers are not in yet, but the event called Discovery Day, drew more than 30,000 parents and children last year, the second year of the festival. One Tweet I saw summed up the mood at the park Saturday: “Coolest place to be a kid today.”

At the CIRM booth we walked the kids through an activity built into our high school curriculum. Using Play Doh we showed how cells divide during the first few days after fertilization. For older kids we wanted to show the blastocyst that develops around day four or day five since that is the source of embryonic stem cells. For younger ones we mostly wanted to let them know they are made up of cells and let them guess how many. Obviously there was not right answer.

Members of the Berkeley Student Society for Stem Cell Research did most of the work with the kids. That left me and a colleague free to talk to the parents about CIRM’s progress toward therapies.

If anyone wants to buy some Play Doh and work through the blastocyst curriculum activity it can be found in Unit 1 under “exploration.”

Don Gibbons

No comments:

Post a Comment