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Erika, Mrs. Kolbert, and The Kids

ByTom MillerThe Secret Life of Scientists and EngineersThe Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers

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Click here for Erika’s profile.

Fourth graders have secret lives too: animators, chefs, artists, herpetologists, tennis players, etc.

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Today’s post is from Florida teacher, Lee Kolbert, who recently used video conferencing to arrange a meeting between her fourth graders and our beloved Secret Lifer, Erika Ebbel. (And see our update below with Lee on TV!)

Erika, Mrs. Kolbert, and The Kids-secretlifekolbert515.jpg

What do growing crystals, measuring centipedes, and Butt Glue have in common? They are among the many things my students learned about last week while videoconferencing with “Secret Life of Scientists” celeb,

Erika Ebbel . Most kids imagine scientists to be rather geeky, with their entire day’s schedule filled with test tubes and data charts but the “Secret Life” series does a great job of breaking that stereotype by profiling successful scientists who are also jugglers, extreme athletes, rock stars, foot photographers, and beauty queens! Yes, beauty queens! And so, Erika is an MIT graduate, current biochemist, and a beauty queen who won Miss Massachusetts in 2004. So, when I was approached to blog about Erika, my response was, “How about a videoconference instead?” What a great opportunity for my 4th graders to learn something about stereotypes and science at the same time.

The timing was actually perfect because we were in the midst of our Science Fair projects. So, I figured, why not encourage the students to ask Erika questions pertaining to their projects (in addition to any other questions they may have). The students and I prepared by watching Erika’s videos from the site and having some brief discussions in class.