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Survival Tips


- Decide on your approach - formal or informal (grade level will often determine this)

- Prepare your activity based on children’s needs and abilities

  --  Ask the teacher what the children already know

- Know when and where

  -- Verify time, place, and length of visit

  -- Get phone numbers for teacher and school

  -- Have directions to the school, determine travel time needed

  -- Verify number of students

- Assemble your notes and materials in advance

  -- Make enough handouts for students

  -- Do a test run of your planned activities

- Share yourself - talk about family, pets, work, what influenced your decision to become a pilot

- Involve the students in doing

  -- Ask questions, find out what they think before you tell them

  -- Bring items that can be passed around

  -- The younger the students the more likely you will need interactive activities

- Involve students in the activity - demonstrations can be fun but hands-on activities are better

- Use vocabulary that the students will understand

- Make what you’re talking about real to the students - have they flown on a plane?

- Leave more than a memory behind you

  -- Hand out an assignment

  -- Invite them to write you with questions

- Question and Answer sessions

  -- Use “seeded” questions if they don’t start asking (for instance, wouldn’t you like to know how high my plane can fly?)

- Ask for an evaluation

  -- Did the students like your visit?

  -- Ask for teacher feedback to help improve your next presentation


Make eye contact - adds personal contact

Smile and feel comfortable telling stories - tell funny stories, kids like to have fun

Organize all materials in advance - kids don’t want to wait

Use student volunteers - kids love to feel important

Require students to raise their hands - they might all want to talk at once

Call on different students - everyone should participate

Model good safety practices during activities - kids follow role models

Give specific directions - so kids don’t disagree

Use a prearranged signal to get kids attention - teacher often has one set up

Stop and wait for kids to let you continue speaking if they get noisy

Wait to give handouts until it is time to read them - then they won’t be distracted

Wait several seconds after asking a question to give all students time to think of the answer

Praise attentive or helpful behavior - this is something to encourage

Enjoy your visit

* re-written from Sharing Science with Children:  A Survival Guide for Scientists and Engineers, North Carolina Museum of Life and Science