Many people would be hard pressed to include homemade ice cream, liquid nitrogen, snakes, and mini ‘explosions’ in a single afternoon – and most would not attempt to do so intentionally. But for local Science Lady Jan Mattingly, it’s all in a day’s work. Literally.
Mattingly is the Founder and CEO of Dynamic Education Adventures, a one-woman travelling science show that seeks to engage young learners in science education through exciting and informative lessons that include any one of the above mentioned props, and many, many more.
Just last week, Mattingly taught in front of a completely mesmerized audience of students who stayed after school at Glen Iris Elementary for a Rocket Party. Mattingly demonstrated the power of air in contained spaces to propel objects, like paper rockets, and students yelled “potential energy!” back at her when asked what property was demonstrated by a loaded and cocked wooden catapult. Later in the week, she facilitated a lesson called Spooky Science at Avondale Elementary – a day that was characterized by fog and ooze and goo.
“The goal of each visit is to generate interest,” says Mattingly, whose 2014 TEDxBirmingham talk challenged audience members to embrace the power of creativity in Education. “I believe interest is the foundation of deeper learning and if you can get kids engaged from the start, you’ll have better traction with whatever lesson or information you are presenting.”
This year, Ed was lucky enough to bring in Mattingly as a guest presentater for several in-school presentations as part of the Career Development Conference curriculum on public speaking. Mattingly used a lot of the same lessons and activities she uses on younger audiences to demonstrate to high school students the wide variety of techniques you can use to keep your audience engaged during a presentation.
“In my business, I get the opportunity to present my programs to schools, libraries, afterschool programs and even birthday parties as The Science Lady, which makes my job really enjoyable,” she says. “My goals at the beginning of this were to make learning an adventure, provide an affordable service, always value the customer, and give back 10% of what I earn to the community in the form of volunteer opportunities and free programs.” And Ed very much appreciates Jan’s help as a volunteer this year!
Learn more about Dynamic Education Adventures and how you can book The Science Lady for your classroom or school here.