Teacher Guidance and Resources

Introducing the activity to students

This has been designed for you to read out loud to brief your students on the activity. It may help to display the website at the same time.

I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here is an activity where you connect with scientists online. We are taking part in the [Your Zone name] and this is how you can take part.

  • As a class, we will have a 40 minute live Chat with the scientists.
  • It’s text-only; there’s no audio or video.
  • In the live Chat, you can ask the scientists any questions you like.
  • You can see which scientists have signed up for our Chat on your dashboard when you log in.
  • There will also be a moderator in the Chat, who is there to make sure everything works and everyone is happy.
  • As well as the Chat we’ll have as a class, there may be after-school Chats you can take part in from home. You can see what time these happen from your dashboard when you log in.


  • You can send the scientists questions in the Ask section or from the zone home page.
  • You can send questions to any scientist in your Zone, even if they weren’t in the live Chat.
  • You can ask whatever you like, and you can send your questions at any time.
  • If you add an email address to your account, you’ll get an email when your question has been answered.
  • Questions and answers stay on the site, so have a look around and see what other students have asked.
  • At the end of the Zone, the student who asked the best question will win a gift certficate!

Also read the following section if your Zone features the Vote section. Not all Zones feature voting – please check your Zone.


  • Each week you can Vote for your favorite scientist.
  • At the end of the Zone, the scientist with the most votes will win a $500 prize!
  • Read how the scientists would spend the prize money on their profiles and ask them about it.
  • The scientists are competing for your vote – who deserves it most?

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More ways to run I’m a Scientist

We understand that some schools may face issues in taking part in I’m a Scientist in the ‘usual’ way. Here are some other ways students can take part:

Students can take part from home

Students just need a computer or tablet, and an internet connection.
There is no special software required because I’m a Scientist works on a web browser.
Students can:

  • Send questions to scientists any time
  • Join a live Chat you have booked for your class

Run a live Chat from the front of the class

If you don’t have access to individual computers or tablets, you can still run I’m a Scientist for your class in school.

  • Book a live Chat session for your class
  • Project the Chat on a screen
  • Ask the questions through your teacher account, on behalf of your students

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How to book a live Chat

Live Chats are consistently the most popular part of the activity – for students, for scientists, and even for teachers!
Live Chats last 40 minutes. They are text-only (no audio or video).
Follow the instructions below to book one for your class.

1. Choose your Zone

  • Log in to imascientist.us with your I’m a Scientist username (or the email address you used to register).
  • You will be taken to your dashboard.
  • From your dashboard you can navigate to the various activities (‘Zones’) that are taking place.
  • Find My Current Zones and select the Zone you want to book a live Chat in.

2. Create a class

  • Before you can book a live Chat, you must create a class in your Zone. You cannot carry classes over from previous Zones.
  • Firstly, make sure you are in the correct Zone (choose your Zone from your dashboard).

chat booking form

  • Click CREATE AND VIEW CLASSES from your Zone dashboard.
  • This will take you to the ‘create class’ page. From here you can add classes, and see a list of all your classes in this Zone.

3. Book a slot

  • From your dashboard, click BOOK LIVE CHAT. This will take you to the Chat booking page.
  • Select which class and Zone you want to make the booking for, and choose your time.
  • Live Chats last 40 minutes. We recommend you book them for 10 minutes after your lesson start time.
  • After clicking ‘Confirm Booking’, you will get a confirmation email with the next steps.

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Before your Chat

It’s a good idea to test things ahead of time, in case there are any issues. Make sure that students can register and log in, and that the live Chat function works on your organisation’s devices. We recommend taking a students username and password and using one of their machines to check it works, and the school hasn’t blocked the website.

Give access to students

Before your Chat, you must give access to your students.
From your dashboard, click CREATE AND VIEW CLASSES to see the list of classes you’ve created.
There are two ways to give your students access:

  1. Give students the unique registration URL (a web link) for their class. Students will be asked to register using an email address, and create a username.
  1. Click Print login cards to generate 40 usernames and passwords on a pdf document. Print and hand these out to give students instant access.

Students must have a username otherwise they will not be able to access your booked live Chat.
More information on student data

Pre-Chat checklist

Before your live Chat, make sure you’ve done the following things to ensure everything runs smoothly on the day.

  1. Arrange computer equipment for students (e.g. book computer suite, laptops, or tablets).
    I’m a Scientist is a text-only instant messaging-style platform. Students can ask questions directly to the scientists in the live Chat.
  1. We highly recommend that students are given access to the Zone before their Chat.
    Get this out of the way before your live Chat, and give your students an opportunity to read the profiles of the scientists taking part and prepare some questions.
  1. Inform your IT department and ask them to add the websites on this list to your network allowlist
    This will make sure the live Chat runs with your network security.

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Taking part in a live Chat

  • When it’s time for your Chat, log in to imascientist.us with your I’m a Scientist username.
  • Go to the Zone you booked your live Chat in (you can select Zones from the My Current Zones list on your dashboard).When students log in, they will automatically be taken to the Zone their class was created in.
  • Click Chat at the top of the page.
  • A moderator will have set the live Chat up for you.
  • Only students in your class can access your booked Chat.

If you have any issues call us ASAP on 1 (800) 832-1259 or email us at support@imascientist.us.

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After your live Chat

After your live Chat, you can use your teacher account to download a copy of the transcript.
Don’t worry if you close the Chat window – you will also be emailed a link to the transcript at the end of the day.
However, your students’ involvement doesn’t have to end after your live Chat…

Follow up and extension activities

Here are some suggested things you can do with students to continue their engagement after your live Chat:

  • Follow up questions
    Following your live Chat, students can submit questions to the scientists through the Ask section of the site.
    At the end of the Zone, the student who asked the best question will win a certificate and voucher!
  • Keep up-to-date with Zone winners
    Every Friday the ‘scientist of the week’ is announced. This is the scientist who has received the most Votes from students that week.
    On the final day of the Zone, there is typically a live Chat for all students, from 2pm to 3pm (EST).
    In this Chat, the Zone Winner who wins a $500 prize will be announced.
    Not all Zones feature voting and winners – please check your Zone.
  • Go over the live Chat transcript and review questions, with your students
    You will be emailed a link to your Chat transcript at the end of the day.
    From your dashboard, you can see the questions your students have asked in the Zone.

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Lesson plans and resources

We’ve prepared 3 lesson plans which are designed to increase your students’ engagement with the activity. They involve 2 preparatory lessons, followed by your live Chat.
The lesson plans have been developed in consultation with teachers and have been extensively tested. Most teachers find them extremely helpful.


On this page you’ll find all the teaching materials we’ve developed for the I’m a Scientist event. They’re designed to develop students’ debating and discussion skills, and help the event run as smoothly as possible in your classroom.

Teacher notes booklet with suggested lesson plans (Click to open PDF)

Teacher notes booklet with suggested lesson plans (Click to open PDF)

Materials for running the event

Teacher notes


Lesson plan materials

Lesson 1: “You’re the Judges!”

Lesson 2: “Meet the Scientists”

Other materials and useful links on the site

  • Evictions Poster (PDF)
  • Live chat booking page – Live chats can be booked any time during the two weeks of the event, though you must be signed up to take part in the event; we’ll email you to let you know when you can start booking chats.

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More information

Safeguarding and privacy

All interactions between students and scientists are checked and moderated by our trained team.
In live Chats teachers can monitor what’s said, and you have the ability to delete messages. Afterwards, you’ll get a transcript of your live Chat emailed to you. You can also see which students have logged in, and what they’ve asked on your Zone dashboard.
Student details are private on the site – scientists only see a ‘display name’.
More about student safeguarding and privacy

Benefits for students

Taking part supports the science capital teaching approach, helping students see STEM as ‘for them’. Read more here.

Research has found that I’m a Scientist supports four of the science capital dimensions. Read the report on the UK site

I’m a Scientist also supports careers development, as measured by the Gatsby Good Careers Guidance Benchmarks. Read more on the UK site

Tips for first timers

We asked teachers what tips they would give to other teachers taking part in I’m a Scientist for the first time.
Here are the most common answers:

  1. Spend more time preparing students
    Run lessons 1 and 2 before the live chat lesson to prepare students.
    “We have just had our live Chat. It was the best yet I think, because we had spent much more time on preliminary activities so we had loads of questions to ask.”
  1. Involve more students
  1. Encourage students to be creative with their questions
    There are better ways to use the activity than using the scientists as Googlers.
    “Get the students to investigate the interests and subject of study of each scientist, so they can ask appropriate and useful questions.”

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We’re here to help. If you should have any questions, or need a hand with anything, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us at support@imascientist.us or by calling 1 (800) 832-1259.

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