Maine School Science Volunteers (MSSV) recruits volunteers from the available pool of scientific professionals in the areas where they want to work, and after a period of working with an experienced volunteer, places them in one of the science-based programs sponsored by MSSV.
The program was originally based on volunteer participation in regular science classes. In this roll, the volunteers offer a variety of benefits to the classroom. Their advanced training in science often gives them insight into the scientific material being presented in the class programs. Volunteers can provide classroom demonstrations or experiments otherwise difficult or impossible to carry out without additional classroom assistance. As mature professionals, they may also reinforce the claim that mastery of the scientific material can lead to rewarding careers. Finally, the presence of an extra adult in the classroom, who is very familiar with the subject material, multiplies the attention that can be given to each student during the class session.
A new type of activity has been successfully implemented in several school districts. This activity is science clubs, which generally meet in the afternoon. These programs are sponsored by the school and require the participation of a regular faculty member of the school. They generally meet every month for a couple of hours and offer a combination of theory along with hands-on activities and experiments. A number of science club presentations have been prepared and presented to the clubs with more being generated each year. A list of the present subjects is provided in the section of this web site titled "Classroom Modules".
The volunteers are provided by MSSV without charge to the schools.
Working arrangements which may fit the needs of the teacher or volunteer are:
A volunteer may meet on a regular basis with one or more science teachers for one or more classes. Some of our volunteers have been working with the same teacher for several years on a regularly scheduled basis one or more times per week.
One can arrange for a volunteer to assist in classes for a particular subject at an appropriate time during the school year. Several MSSV volunteers assist in the teaching of electricity and magnetism, for example.
Volunteers with specialized knowledge can present classes on their specialty at the time when the teacher is covering this material. Volunteers with experience, and in most cases advanced degrees in certain fields, can be scheduled for assitance in their area of specialization.
At the very least the volunteers provide an extra person to assist in the science classroom, but in addition they have working knowledge and professional background that can enhance the classroom experience.
The relationship of the volunteer to the classes and the teachers is rather open-ended. It is hoped that the individual teachers and their assigned volunteers will work out an arrangement which complements the needs of the classroom and the ability and interest of the volunteer.
The program has received financial support from several business organizations and professional societies. The program receives technical support from the founding organization at Northeastern University in Boston, although we are now an independent Maine-based non-profit corporation.
MSSV is continually searching for additional volunteers. We need people with a strong background and experience in some scientific areas and with the ability to schedule a few hours a month during and after school hours.