Photo Credit: Beth L.

Last week I did a refresher on how Bill Nye is really the Disney Science Guy. Of course, I also teased a little about having the chance to see Bill Nye.

Flash back almost five years ago.

I was sitting at the desk in my classroom, and the phone rang. It was the principal of our school. She wanted me to come down to her office to chat. This is not usually something you want to hear as a teacher, but her voice sounded excited and not upset. At the end of the day, I went down to meet with her. Mrs. F wanted to read me an e-mail that the president of the school had received and then forwarded to her.

As members of the local Chamber of Commerce, our school was being invited to an inaugural event. They were holding their first Tech Valley Kids Summit on May 12 at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Center for Biotechnology and Interdisciplinary Studies. Our principal wanted me to go, but it got even more interesting. I had to sit down with the other teachers and select three of our eighth graders to take. The students selected would be participating in an event that was geared toward students in grades five through eight. There would be opening remarks by the president of the college, a keynote speaker, lunch, and then breakout sessions to work with innovative technology companies utilizing hands-on activities. The goal of the event was to encourage middle school students’ love of math, science, engineering, and technology.

As my principal read on, my mind stopped and focused on one part. Keynote speaker – did she really just say what I thought she said? Yes, the keynote presentation was by Bill Nye the Science Guy. You would think that I was a kid in a candy store. I could not wait to tell my family about what I had been selected to take my kids to.

When I arrived at the event with my students, we were in a whole new world. We were on a college campus, watching other teachers and students, and viewing a state of the art facility. When we went to find our table for lunch, we sat down to look at the schedule for the afternoon. Suddenly, one of the kids let out a scream when she opened up the booklet. Each of our booklets was already autographed by Bill Nye! Yes, that photo up above is my booklet that I saved from the day. As we ate lunch, we saw a group of people shuttle Bill Nye into the building where local media waited to greet him.

After we had lunch, we were told that it was time to head to hear the speakers. This is where my dreams were slightly crushed. You see, the facility was not large enough for students and teachers to go in together. The kids were going to the demonstration/lecture hall. The teachers were all sent to a room with technology galore. We were able to watch everything live on flat screens in a teleconference room. While I do wish I had been able to be in the room with my kids to see their faces, it was still priceless.

When Bill Nye came onto the stage, they played his song. Each teacher in the room bopped their head to the familiar theme song. Then it was quiet. We listened to Bill Nye the educator, scientist, comedian, and engineer captivate his audience of roughly 150 kids from 57 different area schools. I know the kids were waiting to see Nye do an experiment on stage. He talked to them about the environment, showed them slides from space, and quickly transitioned into experiments. One involved a 55-gallon barrel. Like with any experiment, things do not always go the way you expect. Bill Nye showed everyone the human side of science as his barrel refused to collapse. With all eyes on him, he explained what should have happened, why it is supposed to do that, and possible reasons why it did not go as planned.

When the day was over, the kids and I had been part of an amazing new program for students and teachers in our area. I was honored to be a part of this first time event. Of course, the inner geek in me was thrilled to have been in the same building and walk by Bill Nye the Science Guy and his infamous bow tie!

Now, I leave you with a little Bill Nye from his recent event at Epcot Innoventions on February 23, 2011 during Engineers week. Thanks to Inside the Magic for sharing this video on YouTube. They also have more about this event, including photos.

More Bill Nye posts will be coming in the weeks ahead. Since the show theme song is stuck in my head, I am looking forward to introducing my son to the amazing world of Bill Nye the Science Guy.

Contributed by: Beth L. (NDM#183) Beth is the DDL Education Blogger. She is also the creator of The Angel Forever.

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