SMArT, Science and Math Achiever Teams, is a mentoring program which provides
college students with the opportunity to share their interests in science or
math with middle school students. This uniquely successful program pairs college
students one-on-one with fifth, sixth, seventh, and eighth graders to complete a
math- or science-related project of their choice over the course of one
Volunteers meet with their partners once a week for about two hours to work
on their project. In addition, there is usually at least one field trip each
semester in which all volunteers and students are invited to participate. These
trips have been to the Beardsley Zoological Gardens in Bridgeport, Mystic
Aquarium in Mystic, Sleeping Giant State Park in North Haven, and St. Raphael's
Hospital in New Haven.
At the end of the
semester, the students display their projects at the Science Expo, an open house
to which parents, faculty, administrators, community members, and the media are
invited. This also provides time for the volunteers and students to learn about
and discuss the projects that other pairs have completed.
Program SMArT's design allows the middle school students to explore an area
of interest with personal attention and ample resources, which often are not
available to them in the regular classroom setting. The middle school students
learn that through planning and commitment they can achieve their goals and have
a finished product. They also see that learning does not require being lectured
at or being forced to do something, but rather that learning can be fun and
rewarding. Program SMArT creates an environment of cooperative learning.
Interacting in such an environment is a unique experience for most students in