My Dallas ISD 8th graders have so many ideas, opinions, and goals and often love to be very vocal about them! As a science teacher, curriculum developer, and STEM advocate, I feel it is critical to help develop these young minds who aspire to be our future scientists, chemists, engineers, astronauts, astronomers, and doctors!
I believe a hands-on approach is the best way to engage students and pique their interest and prepare them to be tomorrow's thinkers and change-makers in a STEM world!
I am passionate about developing rigorous projects that support globally sought-after STEM skills through inquiry and innovation.
Thwarting our progress has been the complete destruction of several neighboring schools last year when a rash of tornados hit DFW. Class sizes skyrocketed as we absorbed displaced students. Teachers were left without materials or resources to pursue STEM projects. Our students suffered further interruption to hands-on learning when COVID forced us out of our labs and into our homes. Already a school primarily comprised of very low income, high-risk youth, these challenges have us scrambling for more options to pursue the project-based learning we so desperately need to be competitors at the forefront of a STEM society.
Distance Learning has ushered in a new era of teaching that reaches far beyond our classroom walls. No longer are students limited to what's available in myopic textbooks and outdated resources found in dusty storage rooms on campuses across the country. For many historically marginalized populations in low-income districts, there aren't many resources at all compared to their suburban counterparts in wealthier neighborhoods. STEM has become an area of vast inequity, with only 16% of STEM workers being comprised of black and Latinx workers.
Students of color are often forced to attend schools that lack the equipment and resources necessary to bridge the achievement gaps seen between the "haves" and "have nots", therefore STEM becomes a luxury only "other" students are exposed to.
Opportunities for developing the thinking skills to meet the cognitive demands of today's technologically advanced society unfairly passes many of our urban students by. By increasing connectivity to rich, rigorous STEM experiences and building collaborative teams and mentorships, we can level the playing field for all students.
My students would benefit greatly from accessing STEM programs, streaming guest speakers, and communicating with experts in STEM fields from across the globe by way of headsets with microphones. Additionally, the opportunity to collaborate with other students in classrooms worldwide would foster the career readiness skill of professional collegiality. Building a network of science collaborators among global stakeholders would extend our instructional reach beyond our classroom walls, without the limitations of borders.
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