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The COSI On Wheels educator will lead a 40-minute orientation session prior to the event that will include background and activity related information. If volunteers are arriving in shifts, it would be ideal to have all shifts present at the orientation. Teachers are also encouraged to attend this orientation in order to answer students' questions.
About Volunteers: All volunteers must be at least 16 years old. COSI will require set up and tear down assistance from 2-4 strong adult volunteers for approximately one hour each day (4-6 volunteers if there is a stairway barrier). 15-20 adult volunteers are required to assist with activities during the entire program day.
Setup takes place in the late afternoon or early evening prior to the event. COSI requests a contact person be present during the set up to assure proper equipment placement for the event. Be aware that our equipment is not easily moved once it is in place.
The following outline is COSI's suggestion for planning your daily schedule. You may choose a different schedule based on your number of students or your building hours of operation. Please adapt this to fit the needs of your school.
|7:30am - 8:15||Volunteer Orientation|
|8:15 - 9:00||Morning Assembly**|
|9:00 - 9:15||Break|
|9:15 - 9:45||Hands-on Session #1|
|9:45 - 10:15||Hands-on Session #2|
|10:15 - 10:45||Hands-on Session #3|
|10:45 - 11:15||Hands-On Session #4|
|11:15 - 12:15||Lunch|
|12:15 - 1:00||Afternoon Assembly**
(If all students could not attend the morning assembly)
|1:00 - 1:30||Hands-on Session #5|
|1:30 - 2:00||Hands-on Session #6|
|2:00 - 2:30||Hands-on Session #7|
|2:30 - 2:45||Hands-on Session #8|
|2:45 - 3:00pm||Clean up with Volunteers|
COSI On Wheels is the traveling outreach program of COSI Columbus that engages your students with a dynamic opening assembly and fun, hands-on science activities aligned with the Ohio Academic Content Standards and the National Science Education Standards.
What COSI provides:
The COSI On Wheels truck arrives at the school the afternoon or early evening on the day before the event. The COSI educator and 2-4 adult volunteers unload the truck and set up the program in the gymnasium, cafeteria, or large room at the school. If the school has stairs leading to the setup room, COSI requires 4-6 adult volunteers able to lift 50 pounds to help with the set up. Most programs require the use of 10 eight foot tables. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old.
The following day begins with a 45 minute orientation for 15-20 volunteers (provided by the school). The parent volunteers will facilitate hands-on experiments and experiences to small groups of students later throughout the day.
After the orientation, the COSI On Wheels educator performs a large group assembly for the entire school (COSI can perform two assemblies if needed based on the size of gymnasium and school population). The dynamic 45-minute presentation serves as an introduction to the topic the students will be exploring.
Once the assembly is finished, students will return to the gymnasium in smaller groups (62 or fewer students per session) to explore the different hands-on stations. The hands-on sessions (scheduled for 30-45 minutes dependent on school size) continue throughout the day until all students have had an opportunity to experiment.
We are unable to attain any adult volunteers.
As you can see, COSI On Wheels depends on the assistance of the adult volunteers. Possible sources of adult volunteers include: PTA/PTO members, parents, grandparents, retired teachers, local college/university students, sororities/fraternities, honors high school science students, or active older adults from a nearby retirement village.
We don't have enough time for everyone to participate.
First, you may wish to secure COSI On Wheels for two days in order to accommodate all of your students. Another option is to include everyone in the assembly and limit hands-on sessions to certain grades. Feel free to contact the COSI Outreach Program Coordinator at 614.228.2674 x 1703 with specific concerns.
The only large room available is the cafeteria. What do we do about lunch?
Because of all the equipment involved in the hands-on sessions, the ten tables needed for these sessions cannot be used for lunch tables. Many schools have students pack their lunches or pick up their lunch and eat in the classroom.
A critical part of every COSI On Wheels program is the adult volunteers (ages 16 and up) who help with hands-on sessions. Volunteers are important to every COSI On Wheels program to help provide a quality hands-on experience for students.
No experience necessary!
Many people think they must be an expert in science to lead a COSI activity. Make it clear that their main job is to have FUN! It is meant to be a learning experience for all: students, teachers, and volunteers. The COSI educator is there to help them understand the science. If they have fun, the students will too!
Be flexible in your scheduling.
Scheduling volunteers for the entire day may be difficult. Working only in the morning or afternoon is perfectly fine. All volunteers must attend the volunteer orientation. This could be accomplished by having the orientation the previous evening after the COSI educator has set up the program.
If your school has the program for more than one day, a volunteer orientation each day is recommended. All volunteers should attend one of the assemblies in order to get an overview of the program's content and science concepts.
Always recruit more volunteers than you need.
Fifteen adult volunteers are needed per hands-on session. Most shows can utilize eighteen to twenty volunteers. Also, there are inevitably last minute emergencies that prevent people from volunteering, so schedule a few extra volunteers.
Establish a recruiting "time table."
The best time to begin your search for volunteers is four weeks prior to COSI's visit. Phone calls work better than notes sent home with the students. The volunteer letter included in the packet should be sent to the adults as a reminder of the day's commitment. Also, a phone call the night before to confirm the schedule helps to avoid last minute challenges on the day of the program.
Let them know they are appreciated.
The COSI On Wheels program could not happen if it were not for those fabulous volunteers. The volunteers are donating their time and a great deal of effort. While the COSI educator will have the students thank them for their hard work, something more tangible is often a nice gesture. Providing coffee in the morning or ordering out for lunch are great ways to say thank you for making the day a success. Many schools have tried potluck lunches with great results.
Grandparents: Usually retired and at home, and what grandparent is going to say "no" to their grandchild?
Local Universities: Education, science students, and even professors often like the break in routine. These college students would be receiving practical field experience in education. Also, sororities and fraternities do service projects.
Local Service Groups:There are many groups such as Kiwanis, the American Legion, and church groups that give a certain amount of volunteer hours each year.
High School Honor Students: Science clubs, Key clubs, honor societies, etc., in your local high schools are another resource. Be sure to choose responsible students - they will be role models for your students all day (volunteers must be at least 16 years old).
Active Older Adult Organizations:Check with your local YMCA or community center. Also, many larger corporations have volunteer programs that involve employees in the local communities.
This form will allow reservation requests for the 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 school years. Just complete the four simple steps to help us plan your COSI On Wheels experience, agree to the Terms and Conditions, and you're done!
Reservations for the 2013-2014 school years are now open!
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