Goodman is 'scientist in residence' by M. Jill Karolevitz Barb Goodman is a scientist, but bubbling beakers and blazing bunsen burners aren�t the tools of her trade.
The University of South Dakota School of Medicine associate professor is a lung physiologist � her research and teaching at USD reflect that, but Goodman�s passion for her work goes beyond the walls of the university classroom.
Beginning this summer, Goodman will become a scientist in residence in the Vermillion School District.
For the past year, Goodman has been concentrating her scholarly research efforts on improving K-12 science education. The scientist in residence idea came to her at a recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science Forum on School Science. On March 23, she proposed a plan to Superintendent Robert Mayer, who readily agreed with the concept.
�We�re trying to spend more time working with USD professors, inviting them to come into the classrooms to make presentations,� Mayer said. �Many of them are willing to do it and many have come. This adds a great deal to our curriculum.
�With Barb, it will be more than making presentations,� he continued. �She will also serve as a consultant as she brings her expertise to us. Both kids and teachers will learn from her.�
But working with younger students is nothing new to Goodman.
�I got involved in K-12 education in Vermillion during a parent-teacher conference when my daughter was in second grade,� she said. �I told the teachers ?I�m a scientist. If you want me to come into the schools to talk to students, please invite me.� And they have.�
That was 12 years ago. Since then, Goodman has volunteered to help with pig lung and heart dissections for fifth-graders in Growing Healthy class. She has also been invited to talk to fourth-graders about lungs.
�When I talk about lungs, I take ?show and tell� things to class with me, including a set of air-dried rat lungs,� Goodman said. �I�m well-known by many students as the ?Rat Lung Lady.� And before the students do heart dissections, I explain electrocardiograms (EKGs) and randomly do them on students so they learn what the test is all about. It helps them learn how the heart works.�
In the upper grade levels, Goodman visits the advanced placement biology classroom to teach high school students about diffusion and osmosis using red blood cells and a model cell membrane.
�These have been my long-term volunteer involvements in K-12 science education in Vermillion,� Goodman said. �But I didn�t want to stop there.�
In addition to teaching duties at the med school, professors are required to do scholarly activities � Goodman�s activities involved lung research before she requested a new subject to delve into.
�A year ago I was given permission to concentrate my research activities on K-12 science education improvement,� she said. �Because of my personal involvement that was already taking place, it was an appropriate change from doing lung research only.
�This is a passion,� she continued, �because I believe science can be fun and wonderful and I would like everyone else to feel the same way. Hopefully, I can help improve students� interest and their chances to get into science as a career.�
Goodman has been at the USD School of Medicine since March of 1986. She grew up on the east coast, earned her undergraduate degree at Duke University and her doctorate in physiology at the University of Minnesota-Minneapolis School of Medicine. She also spent six years doing research at UCLA before coming to Vermillion.
Over the years, Goodman has become an advocate of hands-on teaching.
�One of the problems in classrooms is teaching rote memorization,� she said. �Students learn very little that way. It�s better to encourage students to learn by doing and exploring. And that�s what I try to promote.�
As a volunteer scientist in residence, Goodman will make herself available to teachers whenever they request her assistance in setting up new hands-on and inquiry activities for their classrooms. She is also available to make interactive presentations on science, health, diseases, and science and health careers at the schools. Recruiting other university staff to make science presentations, researching possibilities for new activities, lining up potential resources, and finding an expert to answer challenging science questions, are other facets of the scientist in residence program. Goodman would also like to consult with the curriculum director on ideas for improving science and health education in the Vermillion School District.
�Another goal is to provide workshops modeling inquiry-based science activities with teachers,� Goodman said. �I would also like to involve parents, too.�
The bottom line is promoting student involvement and interest.
�I would like to see more kids interested in science at the K-12 level,� Goodman said. �There are so many opportunities available to them and I just want to help the students learn about them.�