Methuen man joins NPR's Science Friday    

Courtesy photo. Acera School lab sciences specialist and Science Friday educator fellow Michael Hirsch of Methuen.

METHUEN — A local man has been named an Educator Fellow for NPR's Science Friday, a nonprofit organization dedicated to increasing the public’s access to science and scientific information.

Michael Hirsch works as a Lab Sciences Specialist at a private school in Winchester called Acera: The Massachusetts School of Science, Creativity and Leadership.

Science Friday airs on National Public Radio affiliates every Friday from 2-4 p.m.

Hirsch is one of seven science teachers selected from hundreds of applicants, and he is the only teacher from Massachusetts who was chosen to participate. The cohort of educator fellows works with each other and with other scientists to conceptualize and create educational resources that are free for teachers and aligned with Next Generation Science Standards.

“It’s been great to meet and collaborate with teachers from around the country in a wide variety of settings," he said. "It really shows what is possible for science education and all the different ways that it can be done. Plus, when science teachers work directly with scientists, they come up with amazing ways to take that experience and curate it for kids in the classroom.”

As an educator fellow, Hirsch will take some of the curricula he has developed and taught at Acera — including labs on fermentation, gene editing with CRISPR, and the skin microbiome — and build them into a series of science units that teachers everywhere can access and implement in their own schools that will live on Science Friday’s website under the Educate tab.

“Ever since I was in single digits, I wanted to be a writer,” Hirsch recalled. “I love expressing myself through the written word, and the fact that I get to do it for Science Friday beautifully marries my passion for it with my never-ending devotion to science.”

Similarly, as a curriculum creator for Acera’s public outreach division, AceraEI, Hirsch leads free professional development workshops for local public school science teachers in new and cutting edge science labs. To date, more than 30 public school districts — including Boston, Lowell, Salem, Lawrence, and Lynn — have participated in AceraEI’s training, and teachers have used the curriculum in their own classrooms with students.

Covering the outer reaches of space to the tiniest microbes in our bodies, Science Friday is the source for entertaining and educational stories about science, technology and other cool stuff. In addition to its radio program, Science Friday produces podcasts, videos, original web articles and educational resources for teachers.

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