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Introduction and Objective
Optics Suitcase

The Optics Suitcase is designed to make it easy for you to go into a classroom and get young people excited about careers in technology. Kids enjoy the theme packets that may be taken home and shared with others. Every student takes home a flyer which serves as a prompt to aid the young person in describing you, the purpose of your visit, and your demonstrations.

You will want to customize your classroom visit with items and observations based upon your job and work environment. You must decide when and how to insert this information into the presentation. Expect to be asked questions such as: how much money you make, how long you went to school to prepare for your line of work, and what you like (and dislike) most about your job. Interaction with your audience can be exhilarating if you come prepared.

The objective is to convey a sense of excitement about technology in a short period of time. To this end, we have designed a “typical” classroom presentation with some initial demonstrations that should quickly capture the students’ attention. You should then be able to zoom through three activities that illustrate the overall theme of “Colors in White Light”.

After giving dozens presentations, members of the Rochester Section of the OSA have learned quite a few lessons. The following summarizes a few general observations and suggestions:

  • Make arrangements with the teacher ahead of time to have an over- head projector, screen, and table at the front of the room. The table will ensure that you have room enough to spread out.
  • We have found that the presentation is most successful when given to the 6th-10th grades. Younger kids are excited by the gifts you bring, but the message seems to get lost.
  • Ask the teacher for help in handing out the theme packets and flyers, and for operating the room lights (more on this later).
  • It takes a minimum of 40 minutes to do the presentation as described in this guide. With more time, you can slow down the pace, add more personal information, and entertain more questions. With less time, you may want to cover only two activities.
  • Adjusting the flow of your presentation is important. Read your audience and move on if their attention seems to be wandering. You have plenty of material.

Copyright by Stephen D. Jacobs, Rebecca L. Coppens and Christine Andrews-Angelo
December 24, 2001

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This site was last updated June 3, 2005.
URL: http://www.opticsexcellence.org
 
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