Every year I look forward to mid-October when the Einstein Fellows visit the Science Reference Section. The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellows Program is made up of master teachers from across the United States and is sponsored by the Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education. The Einsteins, as I like to call them, spend about a year working with Members of Congress and federal agencies/organizations like Department of Energy (DOE), National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration (NOAA), and the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The Einsteins bring their extensive knowledge and experience in the classroom to enhance the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) programs and policies of these science agencies and help Members draft legislation to improve K-12 education.
Science Reading Room staff and the Digital Reference Team have been working with the Einstein Fellows for the past 15 years! For this year’s session, our science librarians displayed the most pertinent publications on science experiments, scalable e-learning tools for science disciplines, and recent innovations in science teaching. For each fellow we selected 5-10 books of special interest based on each individual’s background. Also on display were books on teaching and science textbooks from the 19th and 20th centuries. We like to show these older books because they can help give perspective on how teaching has changed, or in some instances, remained the same. They also provide a lot of laughs. Every year, the ‘class’ favorite is the 1939 book The Problem Teacher by Alexander Sutherland Neill, who has also written about The Problem Child (1926) and The Problem Parent (1932).
We also provide an orientation to the Library’s website. Kris Pruzin, from the Library’s Digital Reference Team, gave a tour through the Library’s web pages, highlighting her favorite sites, and I illustrated how teachers have been using our Everyday Mysteries website to teach students how to tackle research queries.
It’s exciting to learn about the various projects of the Einsteins, and in turn, they enjoy learning about the Library of Congress. Throughout the next year we will be in touch with the Einsteins, helping them use the Library of Congress collections and resources. It gives us great satisfaction to help teachers.
Albert Einstein would be proud!