How do I register?
You can only register if your school is taking part in the event. If so, you should get an access code card from your teacher. You need to enter the access code from that card on the website homepage and pick your own username and password – write them down so you don’t forget them.
If your school is not taking part, nag your teacher to sign up for the next event! But don’t give your teacher too much of a hard time – spaces are limited, maybe they did try to get you in. Get them to apply for the next one. If you are a teacher you may want to talk to your Head of Department. Teachers can register your interest in the next event on the teacher sign up page.
How do I log in?
If you have already registered with an access code you can just log in at www.imascientist.us using the username and password you picked when you registered. If you have forgotten your password then click on the ‘forgotten password’ link.
Scientists do not need to register at all as we’ve already done that for you. Just enter your username (usually ‘firstnamelastname’ all in lower case please) and the access code we sent you as your password.
I’ve forgotten my password, what do I do?
Don’t worry, there’s various things to try:-
1. Click on the forgotten password link and we can email it to you again. Your username is on the email we sent when you registered.
2. If that doesn’t work (for example, if you didn’t give us an email address) then your teacher can email us at email@example.com telling us your name and username. We’ll then email your teacher a new password for you.
Can the students win anything?
In each zone we pick a student winner at the end of the event. This is the student who, in the opinion of the moderators and scientists, has asked the best questions and participated fully in the event!
The student winner gets a voucher and a winners’ certificates. Principals in the past have presented the prize to the winning students.
You or your students can also print off individual participation certificates for your students from their profiles. These help the students feel they have done something important. They show who the student voted for, and give investigating achievements for asking questions and decision-making achievements for voting.
How secure is it?
Security is a top priority. Only students with registration cards can log in. We only send out registration cards to registered teachers who’ve been allocated classes. We also strictly moderate all live chats and questions to make sure that student identity and information is protected. If you’ve got any questions about security, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
How do I give feedback?
All feedback (good and bad) is greatly appreciated. We take everything you tell us on board and this helps us to improve our next events.
If you have any comments please email us at email@example.com. We look forward to hearing from you!
When are eliminations?
All eliminations happen in the second week of the event.
- The first scientist will be eliminated at 5:30pm EDT on the second Tuesday of the event.
- Further eliminations will be at 5:30pm every day that week.
- The last scientist will be eliminated, and the winner announced, at 5:30pm on the last Friday of the event.
After each elimination the votes are cleared and students can vote again for the scientist they want to win. Students can change who they’re voting for during each round – only their most recent vote counts.
What’s all this about $500 prize money?
The winning scientist in each zone (as voted for by the students) wins $500 to be spent on a science communication project, to publicise or communicate the scientists research or research area.
This could mean lots of things – visiting schools, arranging class visits to a laboratory, creating a website, taking an exhibit to a festival, printing leaflets, making a video or podcasts, commissioning a poem, painting a mural – any form of science communication.
Some previous examples include:
- Buying equipment to allow a research oceanography vessel to communicate with school students
- Funding a community open day for mothers and children involved in a medical research project to find out about the research and get health advice
- Giving the money to a school in Uganda to pay for science kits and a projector to watch science films on
- Funding scientist visits to schools, or school visits to labs
- Buying a touchscreen for a local zoo, to help show visitors more about the primate research done there
We ask scientists to write a short report that we’ll put up on the I’m a Scientist site, to tell the students who voted for them how they spent the money.
Most of all we hope that the scientists enjoy using the money for science communication!
What is this site about?
I’m a Scientist, Get me out of Here! is an online event where students get to meet and interact with real scientists. It’s an American Idol-style competition between the scientists, where students are the judges.
Students submit questions which the scientists will try to answer by the next day. Students then have live online Facebook-style chats with the scientists, where they ask questions, learn more about the scientists, and let scientists know their opinions. It takes place online over a two week period. The students then vote to decide which scientist gets $500 to spend on science communication.
You can only talk on the site if you are one of the students, teachers or scientists who are taking part. And you can only vote if you are one of the students, but anyone can look around and read what is being said. Go on, have a look. From the main log in page, just pick a zone and browse around!
During the event young people use web technology they feel comfortable with, to ‘meet’ scientists. They ask questions and have live chats with scientists, and then vote for their favorite. The winning scientist will receive $500, to be used to communicate their work.
I’m a Scientist brings people together, gives young people a voice and teaches them about science and scientists in a fun, memorable and engaging way.
What can I do on the site?
- ‘Meet’ the scientists
- ASK them questions
- Let scientists know their opinions
- Find out what real scientists are like and what they do all day
- Engage in live discussion about real-life science
- CHAT live with scientists and ask them questions
- Choose which scientist they think should get $500 by VOTING for the scientist they want to win
- Enter a contest to win a voucher
- Find links to science information, and study help, on the web
- Engage with students
- Contribute to science education
- Hear what students and teachers have to say about science
- Hear about the work other scientists are doing
- Get awarded $500 to spend on science communication if they impress the students enough!
- Show their classes how science works in the real world
- Download and use lesson plans and resources
- Get support for teaching parts of the curriculum
- Make science lessons fun!
We hope everyone will find I’m a Scientist USA useful, engaging, and enjoyable. Explore the site, check out the scientists’ profiles, the live chats and all the questions that have been asked before, and… have fun!
Will all my questions get answered?
Nearly all questions will be answered.
If you ask a really rude question, moderators will take it out. Sometimes scientists get asked the same question many times: moderators will take out repeat questions and add your name to the first one.
Actually answering questions, of course, is up to the scientists.
Why hasn’t my question been answered yet?
Firstly check that it hasn’t been answered yet. Your answered questions should appear on your profile page. We will also email you to let you know if we have your email address, but sometimes our emails go into the spam folder.
Secondly, give it some time. Scientists are real people with jobs, they’re volunteering their own free time to answer questions. Scientists will answer all the questions they can, as quickly as they can, but it might take until the next day.
If two students ask the same question then we’ll ‘dupe’ one, adding the student’s name to the original question. So your name may be there but not your exact words. The scientists may also have answered your question in their profile.
If you think your question hasn’t been answered because of a technical problem, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for help.
Chat seems to be blocked, what can I do? (Cookies and iPads)
Lots of problems can be caused by cookies not working on your machine. Make sure your browser (Safari, Firefox etc.) has cookies turned on, so you are accepting them. This tends to be the main problem when using iPads.
With an iPad, go to Settings / Safari / Accept cookies – From visited (or Always)
Apple’s advice for using Safari on iPad
There are a few things that are most likely stopping the chat system from working. They are quite techy so you may want to refer your IT support technician to this page:
2. Many schools use net filters based on keywords such as chat. Please ask for https://imascientist.us to be whitelisted.
I’m having problems with the website. What should I do?
Lots of problems can be caused by cookies not working on your machine. Make sure cookies are turned on.
You may occasionally not be able to see the latest pages or answers. Usually clicking refresh will sort it out. If not, try clearing the cache (Tools>options>clear cache or clear/delete private data, in most browsers).
Why are the scientists in the Gallery in that order?
The scientists appear in the Gallery in reverse alphabetical order (we mean, people called Z first and people called A last). This is because research has shown that people whose names begin with letters near the start of the alphabet tend to be more successful in life (http://www.quirkology.com/UK/Experiment_surname.shtml). Maybe because they are always first in lists!
Here at I’m a Scientist we think life should be more fair, and we try to do our bit to make it fairer. So we are putting the people from the end of the alphabet first for once.
What’s all this about ‘My Science Words’?
‘My Science Words’ is an activity for the students that involves listing all the words ‘science’ makes them think of at the start of the event. Then, at the end of the event students can revisit the list and add/remove any words they see fit. So, for example, they might have written ‘boring’ on the first list, but want to cross that out now and add the word ‘approachable’. OK, that’s the kind of thing we are hoping for, obviously.
They can then discuss in pairs and small groups what words they have added or taken away. They can compare their lists and their changes and reflect upon and discuss how their ideas or feelings about science have been affected by taking part.
It may sound simple but it’s actually a fantastic way for students to reflect upon their own learning during the project. As I’m sure you know better than we do, reflecting on what you’ve learnt is a crucial step in really developing skills and moving to another level. We think students will be surprised by how they realise their ideas have changed.
To fill in their science words, students go to their profile and click on ‘edit my profile’. They can see their own science words, but not other people’s, and no-one else can see theirs. We feel this encourages students to be completely open with their learning experience.
Teachers also have a ‘My Science Words’ section which can be used to record a whole class list.
The ‘My Science Words’ activity is based on techniques developed for museums and other ‘non-curricular’ learning settings. In a classroom setting you may have a defined intended learning outcome for a lesson – to do with an understanding of ohm’s law or the properties of enzymes or whatever – which it is relatively straightforward to test. In settings like museums or art galleries it’s less easy to try to look at what people have learned – they all start off knowing different things, they do different things when they are in the building, and also some of the ways we hope people might change (e.g. by feeling that history is more relevant to them), are more difficult to measure than seeing if they get V=IR right.
I’m a Scientist is a little bit like museums or art galleries in this way – it’s intended to affect the way students feel about science, and develop skills, rather than teaching them any specific facts. Which is why we use this particular activity to try to gauge student’s learning and get them reflecting on the experience.
Have you got a video that explains this more easily?
Yes we do!
We’ve put together this great video that we think sums things up nicely! Take a look – you may even have a starring role if you’ve participated before!
How can I stop people from bothering me when I’m trying to take part in I’m a Scientist?
Well worry no more!
We’ve come up with a great way to stop this from happening in the form of a ‘Do not disturb’ – I’m a Scientist special – sign!
Print this and all your problems solved!