Are your students interested in ichthyology or curious about crustaceans? Skype a Scientist brings experts into the classroom or students’ homes—virtually—to answer all their questions—for free. Dr. Sarah McAnulty, a squid biologist, started Skype a Scientist as a way to connect classrooms with scientists, but with everyone now at home due to the coronavirus, the program has been expanded to allow families to chat with experts as well. To match classrooms—and now families—with the appropriate expert, teachers or parents fill out a form on the Skype a Scientist website. To begin, they can search the database by entering something as narrow as “shark” or as broad as “biology.” Then they can indicate their preferred expert on the form. Alternatively, if they are not sure what they are looking for, Skype a Scientist can find a match. The program’s “matchmaker,” who’s also a computer scientist, sends out the emails connecting the scientists and classrooms. The two parties then set up the call. Skype a Scientist tries to get children from different backgrounds interested in science. Teachers can indicate if more than half of those participating are underrepresented in STEM fields, and Skype a Scientist will work to find an expert from the same community.
The Virtual Koshland Science Museum, now part of the National Academy of Sciences’LabX program for students, offers a beautiful interactive feature on the anatomy of the human brain. LabX also presents a collection of online experiences.