Tom Bielik- Science, Education & Beyond

In the past several years, I have presented to the general public, students in all ages and science teachers. My presentations are given in various venues: public lectures, conferences, workshops, academic courses and professional development programs.
The goal of my presentations is to expose the participants to the fascinating world of science and education, to present the research and current advances in the field of science education, and to present the contribution of scientific literacy principles to the 21st century learner. I focus on the main scientific practices, such as inquiry, critical thinking, argumentation and asking questions.

The guiding line of my presentations is active participation of the audience. By doing this, the lecture becomes an open conversation where different ideas and view are discussed. This allows meaningful learning, deeper understanding and communicative experience. Some of the topics I've addressed in my programs are presented below.

:Presentations, Workshops and Activities

What is the difference between traditional teaching and inquiry-based teaching? What is authentic science teaching and learning? How can we incorporate the practices of inquiry, critical thinking and active learning in the students' everyday life? And how does the science education field adjust to the fast-changing modern world?
 
The world around us is full of reliable scientific information, alongside with pseudo-scientific beliefs. Can we always tell the difference between them? More specifically, does Astronomy stand in the test of scientific validity? Can the position of the stars in the sky predict our future and personality?
 
One of the core concepts of scientific literacy is the ability to logically and critically evaluate scientific knowledge. The overload of information available in modern communication channels presents a challenge to the learner, who is required to ask the correct questions, choose the appropriate sources, and evaluate the given data.
 
Our brain encompasses several amazing 'programming bugs' that occasionally tricks our sensual perception. What are the evolutionary advantages of these bugs? How are the different senses connected in our brain? And can we identify these illusions and avoid mistakes?
 
"The problem with school science is that we are given uninteresting answers to questions we have never asked". This sentence, said by a student in school, raises several questions: How can we teach science in a way that will provoke the students' curiosity and interest? What makes a good research question? And why asking the question is as important as finding the answer?

 

About Me

My educational background includes both formal and informal environments: tour guide in the Clore outdoor science museum, running the 'Young Active Science' program for at-risk students at the Davidson Institute for Science Education, and middle school science and biology teacher.
My academic background includes B.Sc. in animal science at the agriculture faculty of the Hebrew University, M.Sc. in cancer research at the department of cell research and immunology in Tel Aviv University. I am about to receive Ph.D. in science education from the department of science teaching at the Weizmann Institute of Science, where I have also received a teaching certificate in high school biology.
I have also worked as a tour guide at the Weizmann House Museum and at the Weizmann Institute visitors' center. I also served as an active member and the chairperson of the Weizmann Institute Students Council.

In recent years, I have been a research assistant at CREATE for STEM Institute in Michigan State University. I am also involved in the PeTeL project (Personalized Teaching and Learning) at the Department of Science Teaching at the Weizmann Institute and in the TCSS project (Taking Citizen Science to School) at the Technion and the University of Haifa.

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