Teen Science Cafés are informal yet interactive gatherings of teens and experts in science and technology. There are several of these café “hubs” in Maine, including the Blue Hill area, central Lincoln County and the Dexter/Dover region.
Each Teen Science Café includes free food, a talk about a particular topic by an expert, then hands-on work and discussion between the students and presenter. The topics can be anything STEM-related, like DNA, drones, bats, paleontology, neuroscience, and yes, even zombies!
Alyson Saunders, a member of the Maine Mathematics and Science Alliance and the STEM guide for the Dexter/Dover/Guilford hub, says the Teen Science Café is a great source of leadership training for students. The teens select topics they want to know more about then go out and find the experts (UMaine’s Cooperative Extension has been a great help). Once they’ve chosen who will present, this team of teen leaders invite the expert to do a “dry run” with them before the actual date of the café, just to make sure what the team wants highlighted in the talk is done so and to give any pointers in talking with teens.
Each café provides students a different perspective on scientists and what they do–real people doing cool and interesting things. The program also provides a fun and engaging complement to what students learn in the classroom.
The Teen Science Café will be making a highly anticipated appearance at the Maine Science Festival. Alyson Saunders and her teen leadership team have chosen the topic of forensic anthropology (think CSI and other good stuff) for the festival. The Café will be on Sunday, March 22 from 1-2pm at WBRC (44 Central St.) in downtown Bangor.
If you’re a teen, don’t miss this! If your child is a teen, then send them to the Teen Science Café!