PISEC added high school programming to its suite of offerings in 2017. PISEC's high school program currently blends PISEC's informal education philosophy with project-based, in-class mentorship as well as providing opportunities for high school students to engage in mentorship of their own, visiting PISEC primary sites and participating as junior mentors alongside PISEC University Educators, potentially serving students at the same schools in which they first participated in PISEC programming.
A large focus on PISEC's high school programming is the facilitation of professional-like scientific experiences, allowing students to explore several facets of being a career scientist: project design and management, academic communication, production of deliverables, etc. Per PISEC's philosophy of bi-directional impact, high school programming is designed to give UEs and students alike experience in science communication and pedagogy while buildling relationships and blending community and culture.
PISEC works with site partner teachers to develop or adapt a project-based PISEC curriculum for deployment as part of the regular classroom STEM curriculum. PISEC University Educators visit the partner site during the school day, working alongside students in an advisor-like role as students design their own products, formulate and test their own scientific hypothesis, perform their own career investigations, and other projects designed to center the student as an agent of authentic scientific practice. As part of the project-based curriculum, students may produce presentation deliverables such as posters, videos, and pedagogical tools of their own.
In complement to the in-person site visit, participant high-school students engage in online teleconferencing and consultation with their UE mentors. This teleconference may serve as additional advising on the students' projects or simply as an opportunity for students to learn more abaout their mentors. Students may additionally share project artifacts such as posters or design files with their mentors, allowing ongoing asynchronous collaboration. After completion of their projects, students participate in a field trip to the CU campus where they tour labs of professional scientists, participate in panels with academics at all levels, and explore STEM pathways to college and beyond.
PISEC Junior Mentors
PISEC provides opportunities for high school students to participate in PISEC's afterschool programming at primary school partner sites. Alongside PISEC University Educators, students receive training in facilitating PISEC's physics-based activity curricula and in mentoring their younger peers. High schoolers then become "junior mentors," working alongside UEs to engage the students at the primary school site in informal afterschool science.
Individuals or organizations wishing to learn more about PISEC's high school programming should contact the program Director.