RESET volunteer George Pick is ending his time as a RESET volunteer after reaching hundreds of children in third and fourth grades at Key and Barrett Elementary Schools in Arlington, Virginia. George joined RESET in 2012 because he wanted to stimulate children’s interest and creativity, and to introduce them to science because of its importance to society and the economy.
George was born in Hungary and lived under both Nazi and Communist regimes before emigrating to the US when he was 22. He taught at Georgetown University for 7 years while completing a Masters program in mechanical/nuclear engineering. He worked with the Navy civilian research program for 30 years, serving as project manager for the High Energy Laser and Sea Sparrow Missile projects. George also taught mechanical engineering at Northern Virginia Community College, volunteered at the Holocaust Memorial Museum, and teaches in life-long learning programs.
After five years as a volunteer, George offered this advice for other volunteers:
- When you meet with your teacher the first time, discuss how your RESET program will best fit with their science program. George found most teachers cooperative and interested; in fact, one teacher who didn’t have a science background would meet with him on the Sunday before each session to go over the experiment for that week.
- Leave the children with a take-home object, e.g. a magnet. In one session George’s students made anemometers that they were able to keep.
- Use the metric system, and incorporate measurement and graphing whenever possible to reinforce other STEM skills.
George identified the experiments that he and his students liked the best:
- The pendulum—It’s a simple way to introduce kinetic and potential energy, formulate a hypothesis, and measure and graph pendulum length and cycle time.
- Density—Students learn to measure volume through liquid displacement and to calculate density as weight divided by volume.
- Filters—Observe the effect of filtration on water containing various constituents.
- Weather – Students read a weather chart and examine a three-dimensional model that shows isobars of pressure and temperature.
Some feedback from George’s students:
- “Thank you for doing the science experiments with us. You were such an experience.”—Charlotte
- “It was the best thing ever.”—Temaulen
- “You are the best at science ever. I had fun and it was so awesome and science is my favorite subject ever. “—Buslewie
- “It has been such a great experience for me. I wish you could come back.”—Cheyenne
George made many valuable contributions as a RESET volunteer; one of his teachers wrote,”We are very grateful for this outstanding opportunity, and we feel other schools would highly benefit from the unique partnership”