Forum Friday – NPR Science Friday

The double “Fridays” aren’t there to be redundant. Science Friday really is the name of the radio program on NPR every…well, Friday afternoon, and it’s a wonderful way for teachers to illustrate for students just how applicable science is in their everyday lives. Each Friday, the usual Talk of the Nation program on National Public Radio (NPR) is focused on science. Current events usually fuel the topics of discussion, and the guests they have on the show really help fuel interesting conversations. It’s not just quick sound bytes from scientists or reporters talking about science like on the evening television news. Science Friday does a fantastic job of providing real thought provoking discussions, points of view, and questions from real scientists, not just people that play scientists on TV 🙂 Below is the original post in the General Science forum by Shawn Knaack (knaacks), one of our original members and a great middle school science teacher, followed by the thoughts I had about it at the time of posting. Steve even helped out by pointing out the podcast that you can download and then use (for free!) in your classroom for discussions and illustrations of science in the real world:

I am a HUGE fan of NPR’s Science Fridays. There always seems to be something I can use in my classroom. Check out the teacher resources on the site as well.

NPR’s Science Fridays

You’re right Shawn, this would be an excellent way to show practical applications of science in the real world to students. Especially when they debate issues such as Nuclear Power verus Carbon-based fuels (today’s topic). If you can’t listen to it live, you can always grab the transcript and the Real Audio download in the archives. That way you can play it back for the class whenever you need it. Unfortunately, it does require the real audio player, which I’m not a fan of.

Science Friday is available as a podcast. I subscribed to it in iTunes quite awhile ago. Here’s the site feed:

It is broken up into individual sections, so when they do three different stories in one week you get three different files.

I stand behind my original comments in that it would make a powerful tool for helping students realize that what they discuss in class can and will have an impact on their lives. By providing the podcast, and a wealth of other educator materials, Science Friday makes this possible for even the least tech-savvy teachers.