Giving LIFE to STEM

Korinna Gidwani, USA

Hitaansh Gaur on November 30, 2018 in Education

Tutoring has ballooned into a global business with tutor “studios” and “shops” popping up everywhere. So, what’s so special about the LIFE tutoring club at Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST)?

LIFE focuses on second graders - seemingly quite a young age to start being tutored at! But for these second graders, LIFE is a fun and memorable experience every Friday. LIFE’s goal is to spread passion for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) to these young children. LIFE tries to pique the children’s interest by implementing hands-on experiments so they build a strong foundation in STEM. One such experiment is simulating an oil spill, then trying to clean it up using different materials and figuring why some work better than others. The tutors try to simplify it as much as much as possible so the kids can easily grasp the concepts. Members of the club witness the bright, colorful looks on the children's faces when an unknown topic is covered and new material is understood through interactive learning. The passion of STEM that the tutors have is transferred to the students in the most elegant and engaging way, leading to huge grins on the children's faces and a memorable experience for all parties involved.

In one of LIFE’s recent sessions they taught children chromatography with filter paper and water. First, they explained the scientific concept behind chromatography, then actually conducted the experiment. They drew designs on filter paper with markers, then waited for water to spread throughout the filter paper to see the design spread everywhere. While they waited, the students predicted what would happen based on the scientific concepts they learned previously. The children got to use their creativity and imagination to make the experiment more engaging and personal. The scientific concepts and experiment hopefully made them more interested and engaged in STEM.

Korinna Gidwani, a current senior at TJHSST, leads this organization. She is the current president of the LIFE organization and is responsible for managing everything from meetings with teachers to leading the experiments in the classroom. Her participation in LIFE has led her to do many other community service projects as well. Her own personal organization, Fun with Science, hosts science workshops at Fairfax County events. This has allowed her to spread her knowledge to a larger and more diverse audience. STEM is something Korrina likes to teach, but it isn’t the only thing. Her 12 years of experience in music theory and playing piano is also something she likes to share.

Korinna enjoys teaching music theory and piano techniques to children of all ages and experience. She helps them prepare for national music theory competitions, as sharing her knowledge is rewarding to her. Besides teaching music theory, she plays piano pieces for the elderly at an assisted living community called Crossings at Chantilly. She loves when the residents of the community hum and sway along. All these acts of kindness and community service help make an active difference in her community, and she hopes that she inspires others through her efforts.

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