Q&A with science teacher James Hambley on YouTube channel with over 75k subscribers

Ray Mo and Wendy Zhu

Could you briefly introduce what BeardedScienceGuy is and your social media presence?

BeardedScienceGuy started with some videos I made when I was teaching at the middle school on the west side of Carmel. Some of the labs we did in class were hard for a student who missed that day to understand what was going on, so I started filming some of it. Then, I decided that if I’m going to make them anyway, I might as well throw them up on YouTube and see how they do there. YouTube and Facebook are the big ones. I do have an Instagram, but it’s kind of just random science pictures I take. Facebook’s the one where I have half a million followers. On Twitter, I have pretty much no presence.

Chloe Sun

How long have you been a science teacher at Carmel High School?

At Carmel High School, this is my fourth year, and then I was at Creekside Middle School for three years before that. This year, I’m teaching chemistry, one of the astronomy sections and botany, but I’ve taught integrated chemistry/physics (ICP), biology (and) zoology.

What do you like about teaching these classes?

I am a scientist at heart; I love the sciences. I love experimenting. I love using evidence to make claims and explore the world, so sharing that with students is kind of where my passion is.

How do you think your YouTube career has extended your love for science and teaching?

I think YouTube really helped me focus on how to explain different phenomena to students, what kind of language to use so that an audience understands what’s going on and doesn’t lead to any misconceptions that they might have had. It helps me focus on making sure to explain things in a way that doesn’t further any misconceptions that might be widespread in certain types of science.

What motivates you to keep creating content?

I would say it’s kind of a mixed bag. I enjoy explaining science and sharing that with others, but I also enjoy being able to spend my revenue from the videos on more science stuff. My channels don’t make a ton of money, but it makes enough that I can buy things like thermal infrared cameras and pieces of tungsten and things that I wouldn’t purchase with my own personal paycheck, but now I have a source of income where I can buy some of these really cool things, make more videos with it and also share it with students in the classroom.

What are your goals for the future of BeardedScienceGuy?

I currently just started storyboarding an experiment book but also just continuing on, I’ve got supplies for my next five or six experiments in my garage right now, but I (had) a baby in February, so I’m not sure how much free time I’m going to have until next summer to actually do any of that. But that’s kind of where I’m at now—making more videos, possibly getting a book out in the next couple years.

Click here to view Hambley’s YouTube channel.

Watch one of Hambley’s most popular videos here:

James Hambley
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