As Science Friday’s education director, Ariel Zych finds ways to empower parents and educators and everyday people to excite young learners with science, engineering, and math. She can be regularly found making messes with new experiments, planning teacher trainings, drawing diagrams, curating collections of SciFri media for libraries, or grumbling at the latest education op-ed piece.
Before joining Science Friday in 2013, Ariel was a high school biology, marine science, and environmental science teacher in Washington D.C. In addition to being a classroom teacher, Ariel has created and facilitated informal and formal science programs around the country and has developed curricular materials and experiences for camps, cruises, campuses, zoos, museums, scouts, parents, teachers, and schools.
While completing her master’s degree in entomology at the University of Florida, Ariel once discovered the mechanism of acoustic communication in scentless plant bugs, which was super interesting to her, but not to many other people. Several other memorable scientific pursuits include studying snail gonads, collecting ticks, caring for colonies of social spiders as an undergrad at Cornell, tagging dragonflies, sailing aboard the E/V Nautilus and, more recently, traveling to Antarctica to cover long-term research on the frozen continent.
Ariel constantly misses her home town of Portland, Oregon, and loves traveling the world, eating fun food, family time, and spending time outside.
Teenage girls learn computational design in a collaborative weeklong workshop at the New York Hall of Science.
Learn how insects have inspired engineers to make a robot that walks on the surface of water. Design your own water-walking critter using thin wire, and test its effectiveness: how many paperclips can it hold up using surface tension?
Watch an interview with a couple who built a home from shipping containers. Then, design and construct a scale model of a unique shipping container home using printed templates, and estimate the cost of flooring and paint based on model dimensions.
Perform an experiment to determine whether smooth or wrinkled fingers are better at holding wet objects. The experiment requires only a water bottle, paperclip, and plastic ruler.
Downloads: Video, student data sheet, illustrated instructions