Science in Motion
Shore (B.A., '63; M.A.,'86) was planning on a career
as a documentary filmmaker when she began her coursework at SFSU, but
the microphones got in the way.
"I was fascinated with them. I wanted to take them apart and find
out how they worked," she says, recalling how she bombarded her
broadcast professors with technical questions until one kindly steered
her toward a physics class.
Shore changed gears to focus on a career as a science teacher, but her
objective was the same. "I've always wanted to translate information
and help people understand it," she says.
Since 1993, she has been helping teachers learn to do just that at the
Exploratorium, a hands-on science museum housed in San Francisco's Palace
of Fine Arts. The director of the museum's Teacher Institute, Shore
leads an internationally recognized program that offers training for
those who teach middle- and high-school science.
"Rather than teaching students directly, Linda spreads her enthusiasm
to teachers, both new and experienced, very tenured -- and possibly
-- tired," says Ron Hipschman (B.A., '76;
M.A., '82), the webmaster for the Exploratorium.
Shore got her earliest teaching experience while working toward her
bachelor's degree in physics. She tutored students in math, taught physics
and astronomy lab classes and was entrusted with lecture sections of
pre-med physics classes at age 24, which makes her among the youngest
instructors in the California State University system to do so. Shore
went on to earn a master's degree in physics at SFSU before earning
her doctorate in science education at Boston University.
At the Exploratorium she helps science teachers deal with challenges
they face in the classroom. Some may have been asked to teach a branch
of science outside of their area of expertise. A common struggle is
trying to teach science without funds for school supplies.
"Teachers can be given an empty room and told to teach earth science,
so a lot resort to lecturing," says Shore, who oversees a staff
of 10 science teachers at the Exploratorium. "We stress that you
don't need expensive supplies to do powerful science. You can do it
with paper clips or [plastic] foam cups."
For proof, she suggests viewing an episode of "Iron Science Teacher"
on the Exploratorium's Web site. A take-off of the Japanese TV program
"Iron Chef," the competition offers science teachers one "ingredient"
such as kitty litter, a milk carton or golf ball. Competitors have 10
minutes to invent a science activity that can be used in the classroom.
Shore will soon host a competition for science teachers in Texas. "Last
time the secret ingredient was a can of Texas chili," she says.
"I can't tell you what it will be this time."
For more information: www.exploratorium.edu/educate