The following post is from 2010 Siemens STEM Institute Fellow, Lissa Moses. Lissa invites you to learn more about her work by going to http://www.mosamack.org and reviewing her presentation at the 2014 Siemens STEM Institute here: http://www.siemenssteminstitute2014.com/daily-blog/mosamack-science-detective She also has a special offer for all Discovery Educator Network educators. See below for more details.
Reflections and an Opportunity from a 2010 Siemens STEM Institute Fellow
When I first walked into the Siemens/STEM Institute, I was overjoyed and relieved. I had spent my first year teaching trying to accomplish everything at once. I wanted my students to love science, to be natural explorers, to identify as scientists and to confidently explore the world through the lens of an investigator. As I sat in Silver Spring in a large air conditioned room inside a building that displayed what seemed like a football field-sized shark on the exterior, I knew the week was going to be eventful. I knew that everyone in that room shared my goal of making science education something memorable for our students.
During my time at the STEM institute, there was a focus on solutions. Too often during the school year did complaints get mixed up in my path to fix science education. But inside the walls of the STEM Institute, we focused on what my former softball coach called, “the controllables.” That is, everything outside of the “chum bucket”.
We spent a week eagerly and aggressively sharing best practices and I left the institute excited to implement them in my classroom. I entered that next year hyper-aware of what worked in my lessons and why and, as a result, noticed something glaring. I knew that media was effective in the classroom, but something was wrong. My media was failing on multiple levels: not only was it constantly lecturing my students, but the majority of resources depicted “the scientist” as an older Caucasian male. I wanted my students to see themselves as scientists and yet I was providing an image that none could relate to: fewer than half of my students were male, zero were old, and zero were Caucasian.
The idea for Mosa Mack: Science Detective was born. The main character of my short animated science mystery series is female and voiced by a former student of mine. The goal of the series is to shake up the way that students and teachers alike perceive scientists so that we are intentionally empowering a broad audience to participate. The field of science needs diversity. There are dozens of studies and articles investigating why there are so few women and people of color in the STEM fields. As a teacher, you get an inside peek of this. From an early age, media shows students that science isn’t for everyone. My goal is to change that through Mosa Mack.
Over the past few years I’ve continued to build the characters and storyline. We are working on more episodes, and I’m excited to share our existing stories with the world. Because of the friendships, mentoring, and support I’ve received from this network, I’d like to invite you to join our adventure by providing a limited time 20% discount our episodes. To take advantage, please follow these steps.
1 – go to http://www.mosamack.org/
2 – Click on purchase and register for an account
3 – enter code “mosastemin14” during the checkout process