SCIENCE is my SUPERPOWER! What’s yours?
What is the Physics Outreach Project?
The Physics Outreach Project (POP) provides safe, exciting, and fun science enrichment programs for all ages. The members of POP consist mainly of Binghamton University student volunteers, both undergrad and graduate, from both science and non-science backgrounds.
Although POP provides science demo shows for various campus and community events, our main efforts involve providing content for after-school science club programs, in local schools around the Binghamton area. POP offers school kids (primarily grades K-5) a fun learning experience using a variety of science demos and activities.
What occurs during a program?
Our programs are generally for groups of 50 to 80 kids, and make multiple visits to each school. Each visit lets the school kids see and interact with various demonstrations and activities, all within a specific science topic, led by the POP volunteer presenters. Each visit showcases a different science topic: Heat and Cold, Electric Charge, Electricity and Magnetism, Pressure and Flow, Motion and Energy, etc.
How many demonstrations/activities are included with each school visit?
Students will rotate between approximately 6-10 stations in small groups no bigger than 8, each group accompanied by a parent or teacher. Each station usually has a variety of demos — we transport about 150 pieces of equipment to each show! All of the demos revolve around the specific topic for that visit. After the groups have rotated through all of the stations, sometimes we have a finale, for a big finish!
How long is the visit?
Each school visit is usually 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Along with training and travel time, the total volunteer commitment is about 3 hours for each program, depending on the location.
Do you need to be a Physics or Science major to volunteer?
Absolutely not! We provide training on the different demonstrations and activities we take to schools and local events, so if you like, you may bring a friend! You also receive a highly coveted POP T-shirt, as a reward for your community service. To make volunteering with POP easier, we also provide round-trip transportation to students from the BU main campus to all of our off-campus events.
“Training, T-shirt, and Transportation are Provided!”
Little kids make me nervous. Are there other ways to work with POP?
Of course! Some volunteers have worked on projects for recruitment or program development: managing the POP Facebook page, developing new demonstrations and programs, creating training materials, etc. You may be able to receive credit for some projects, as an Independent Study course! We also implement programs for more mature audiences, both on and off campus.
How are we doing?
Each semester, we try to schedule multi-visit programs in three local schools. This gives us a starting point of 18 school visits, and we try to work in additional small programs, as well! We’ve done some research on our audience, and attending POP programs seems to improve attitudes about science!