PhUn Week

Do you remember the moment you decided that science was “cool”? Was it an experiment at school? A science fair project? Did you meet a scientist who made you think about all the amazing things waiting to be discovered? For most scientists, there was an event, class, activity, or encounter that opened the world of science to them. At its very core, PhUn Week is about providing opportunities for future scientists to have that “AH HA!” moment. Join with your fellow APS members and bring the excitement of physiology to the K-12 students in your community.

Read about the importance of outreach to K-12 schools from the perspective of a fellow physiologist, Diane Munzenmaier, and the former NIH Director, Elias Zerhouni (see Resources below).

Because most schools include a strong focus on health and exercise, PhUn Week always includes activities on the physiology of exercise. However, you should feel free to focus on other physiology areas. But be sure to work with your local teacher on both the topic and content to be presented.

It is important to work with a local teacher or day care provider. Most are very happy to have a visiting scientist (or even better, a group from your department). However, it is important that the visit include age appropriate and safe activities, topics that fit with the state-mandated curriculum (if applicable), and an understanding of the “do’s and don’ts” in the K-12 classroom. Above all, leave your research PowerPoint presentation at home. This may sound daunting but, if you work with a teacher, you automatically have an expert in your corner!

Coordinating your schedule with a teacher's schedule can be challenging! The earlier that you discuss possible dates, the greater are the chances that the teacher can host you in his or her classroom during the first week in November. So contact a teacher early…ideally before the previous school year ends.

How can you get started? Use the links at left to access these resources.

  • Plan a Visit/Event: This page will help you identify the strategies and resources needed to plan your visit or event and will give you forms to complete to register your event with APS and get great “freebies” for you, your lab group, the teacher, and the students.
  • Find a Teacher: Don’t know a teacher in your area? Access the nationwide database of schools to find contacts.
  • K-12 Teaching Hints: Make your visit time a high impact event by doing a little reading on how to present to K-12 students. If you haven’t been in a K-12 classroom in a while, it’s different from what you remember!

Help Protect the Future of Physiology

This editorial by APS member Diane Munzenmaier explains the importance of outreach to local schools.

From the Desk of the NIH Director: Special Edition on Science Education

This January 2008 editorial by former NIH Director Elias Zerhouni describes the link between K-12 science education, biomedical research, and health.