In April, North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences’ educator Bob Alderink was honored as the Outstanding Informal Educator in Science, Mathematics and Technology Education by the North Carolina Science, Mathematics and Technology (SMT) Education Center. In its 10-year history, this is the first year the Center has honored an informal educator.
Alderink has been an employee at the Museum for more than 12 years. He teaches math and science topics to Museum audiences in programs that range from large auditorium shows to intensive lab classes designed for elementary and middle school-aged students. Because of his talent as a science communicator, he was named “Tar Heel of the Week” by The News & Observer in November 2004, and called “a conjurer, a wizard with … the power to make people wake up to wonders around them.” The paper also noted he apparently was never taught “…science lessons are supposed to be boring.” According to Museum director Betsy Bennett, “As far as Bob is concerned, any age is the right age to get into science, no age is too early, and no activity is beyond anyone. Bob is at ease and is an effective teacher for people from pre-school age to senior citizens.”
The goal of the SMT Education Center is to systematically improve performance in preK-12 science, mathematics and technology education as a means of providing all children in North Carolina with the necessary knowledge and skills to have successful careers, be good citizens, and advance the economy of the state. In pursuing its mission, the SMT Education Center also helps schools successfully meet the criteria established in the national "No Child Left Behind" initiative.
Check out Alderink’s newest educational venture— “A Moment of Science”— at www.youtube.com/user/ncnaturalsciences .