October 17, 2021

EPISODE 8: WOKE SCIENCE

Speaker 0 00:00:00 Hello everyone. And welcome to revoke rewriting our children’s education podcast. My name is Michelle person and we are on a journey. We are rethinking re-examining and re-educating ourselves and our children. Last week, we talked about being woke in math. It only makes sense that this week we followed that up with being woke in science. Since we know they tend to go hand in hand, what does it mean to be woke in science class? What tools do you need to support the woke scientist in your home? Our guest today is master science teacher Medina Eastman, and she will share her background and some great tips from making science more engaging for our children. Do you know what I remember most about science as the years went on. I remember freshman year taking earth science and the population of my high school was about 50 50, meaning that there were 50 half, the kids were black, half the kids were white.

Speaker 0 00:01:01 It was a really diverse school at that time. It shifted since then, but it used to be fairly diverse. And I remember in earth science in ninth grade, um, there was a fairly, the population of the school was the population or the makeup of the class. Half the class was black, half the class was white. Um, and what I remember more specifically as I sat back and began thinking and preparing for this episode is how that makeup changed over the course of the four years. So my freshman year earth science happened half. I remember the next year after that biology, little bit less, by the time I got to chemistry, um, it was very clear that, um, that, that the makeup of the science classes were not the same anymore. Meaning there were far fewer black students in those classes than there were two years prior. Um, and far more white students taking chemistry. My senior year, by the time I got to physics, I was one of two, how does this happen? There’s something wrong with this picture. And I know that because I’m, what are you? Okay?

Speaker 0 00:02:37 Education cycles through buzzwords like nobody’s business and the sixties and seventies open classrooms were all the rage. You took a large group of kids. You put them in an open space and put two or three teachers in there to oversee them. And it was supposed to give you the best education experience possible. We don’t really do this anymore because it fizzled out. It didn’t work as well. We thought it would. Um, and the eighties and nineties mainstreaming was a popular buzzword and that meant moving special education students into their least restrictive environment. Now, this concept actually has Eben blowed. It’s now called inclusion. And currently it is at the forefront of what is considered best practice in special education. The early two thousands brought a focus on stem, science, technology, engineering, and math. All of a sudden science instruction became a thing. People recognize its importance, gave money to fund programs and prioritize its instruction, science teachers all over the world, rejoiced, but as with most things in life, somehow the new enthusiasm for science didn’t quite reach urban schools as of 2018, only 7% of stem bachelor’s degrees went to black students.

Speaker 0 00:03:56 The average annual salary for a stem career is $87,000. The average annual salary for a non-STEM career is $47,000. Think about that for a second. And the potential long-term implications that those stats have on the black family and the black families net worth research says you can effectively double your income with a stem degree, but only 7% of our young people have one. Our guest today is on a mission to change that her company’s science teacher mom provides homeschooling parents and science teachers with hands-on science activities to inspire and engage their students. Medina, thank you so much for joining us today.

Speaker 2 00:04:44 Thank you, Michelle friend, inviting me onto your show.

Speaker 0 00:04:47 No problem. So first, before we even get into your recommendations and your tips, can you tell the listeners a little bit about your background? Um, how did you come to start, um, the science teacher, mom? And what was your journey like to get to this point?

Speaker 2 00:05:04 Absolutely. So my name is Medina. I am officially an high school science teacher. I’ve been teaching for almost eight years while I’ll be going into my ninth year. I’m sorry. Um, in September and over when the school is closed during the pandemic last March, um, I was home with my sons and we were all home a little bit longer than normal. And so we had to figure out what to do. And so my sons are two and four and my first thing to fall back on is science. So I’m like, all right, what are we going to do? And using the stuff that we had at home. And so it was just figuring out what can I use at home, um, to really engage my sons. And so we did at home and I like to call it kitchen science. We looked around the kitchen and I would find things, whether it was a paper towel rolls to like the baking soda and vinegar, using extra glue that we had.

Speaker 2 00:05:56 And we did science. And so after the first time that we did an experiment, um, my son has been, repeatingly saying, can we do science? Can we do science? It’s been a whole mantra in this house that that’s what they want to do. I’m like, do you ever ask them, what do you want to do today? 99% of the time, they’re going to say, can we do science? And so that was a good thing I’m from here. I was like, all right, that was my challenge. So, all right, what else can we do? And so I would do a lot more experiments and a lot more activities at home with them. And I would start, I started to share on my Instagram and I had a lot of parents reach out to like, um, to ask for like more support. And they said, you know, what else can I do with my child?

Speaker 2 00:06:37 What are you doing? Can you help me? And so I just started to post a little bit more, um, now fast forward to about April. I, um, I decided to send out a small little for earth thing, a little package to my niece and nephews. It was a, um, like a planter seeds, like a very basic science kit to them, took a picture, put it on Instagram. And then I had an influx of parents and teachers asking like, how can I get one of those? And I was like, I don’t have it. It was a gift. I, I have maybe two more. If you want to send me shipping, I can just send you the last ones. And then that was it. And then after that, I had a lot of parents, um, asking, like, what are you doing next? When you have another one, can you let me know?

Speaker 2 00:07:23 You know, I want, I need something to do. And that’s kind of how the, um, the science packs came alive is from the need of the parents in our community, looking in trying to engage their children at home. And so I was just creating based off of my son’s interests that was using them. And they were like, Hey, let’s do this. We did a nature path. We learned about water because it started to be hot summertime, um, really going off of them and, uh, creating resources for parents. Um, and then, uh, fishing, when the school year started, we had to decide, is this me and my husband had to really talk like, is this something that we’re going to continue on? Um, or is it going to be like a hobby? And so it ended up, we decided that we wanted to continue on and continue to serve. Once we realized that there were more parents and who teachers, that we were in the classroom this past school year, um, for a lot of teachers who needed the support, uh, to infuse a little bit more science into their classrooms.

Speaker 0 00:08:22 Well, I mean, that’s an amazing story. I think we all here, when we think Corona, a lot of us are, you know, all we think about are the bad things that happen, the isolation, the, um, the mask wearing and the, you know, the, the, the kids missing school, but there were some, there were bright spots and, and your story is definitely a bright spot. Um, you know, and the fact that you’re now able to reach so many kids is amazing. Um, so I know you mentioned that you were a high school teacher. Um, but what I always say is good teaching is good teaching, and, you know, there might be specific strategies that you might do a little bit differently with a ninth grader than you would a kindergartener, but overall, you know, good teaching strategies or good teaching strategies. So what, what I would like for you to share with our listeners is when they are maybe sitting in on a class, or if they’re asking questions, uh, to their child’s science teacher, what does good science instruction look like?

Speaker 2 00:09:19 Absolutely. Um, definitely you want, uh, your children or students, they should be a scientist. So when they walk into a classroom, especially their science classroom, they want to feel, or they should feel like a scientist. What does that look like? They should be asking questions, whether it’s their own questions that they came from home with, like, why is the sky blue? Um, they could have questions based off of an experiment that the teacher did, and now they want to know more. Why did that, those two chemicals bubble, um, they should be able to make guesses. They should be testing things out and tinkering. They should see a lot of hands on engaging activities if they’re not really touching it. It’s, uh, it’s hard for me to say that they’re actually learning, um, within the large range of things, right? So every day you may not be able to do hands-on things, but over the course of a lesson or a unit, or however, the teacher breaks it up, they need to be doing hands on, especially in a science classroom. Um, they should be leading the learning students should be in charge of their learning, whether it comes from those questions, or if they’re in their groups and they’re doing discussions and collaborations, um, and they should be making connections to real life. So it does sound like it’s a lot, but over a course of a, of a science unit, these are the points that they should be getting into, um, in order to really embrace the science classroom.

Speaker 0 00:10:43 Well, it sounds like you actually kind of answered my second question, which was what are the top three things that a science teacher should be doing to engage their students? And it sounds like the, it sold to reiterate and you’d let me know if I, if I heard you correctly, it sounds like they should be in charge of their learning. The children should be developing the science questions that they’re going to investigate. Once they have those questions, they should actively be researching the answers and that therefore will lead them into hands-on discovery and learning. Well, okay. So then maybe that’s just too well, what was the, what was the third thing?

Speaker 2 00:11:17 So, so I would say, like, I put those kind of in three different segments. When I talk about the top three things that teachers should be doing, I would say, empower, connect, and excite. And so with all of those things that, um, we discussed before, they kind of go within those three, so empower is giving them the opportunity to share their stories, allowing them to teach, um, maybe having a mentor. So if they’re in maybe kindergarten, first grade, maybe having a middle school or an upper elementary, um, student coming and doing a small little hands-on activity with them, something. So the older child is using their science to help someone else so that in the long run, that’s really why we do sciences, not so that we’re in a bubble living by ourselves, it’s for the greater good of our communities. Um, and then to connect, we want to make sure that we’re able to connect to our students by learning about them, their learning styles, real life problems that they may have.

Speaker 2 00:12:15 And especially as you go up into the high school level, the real life problems are real life problems versus maybe in kindergarten, they don’t really may not understand all of the same problems. So you want them to get in and take what they’ve learned in their real life, take those problems that they may have and come up with solutions because we don’t want them to be bogged down with just issues. But as a scientist, there are a lot of problems in the world and the job is to come up with these solutions. Um, and so just using that in practicality and then excite exciting them. And that’s part of the fun part for the students. And the teachers is to engage them in the learning with the hands-on activities, the cool explosions, using music and movement, and always wonderful. Um, those things always help with memory. Those pneumonics anything like that. Um, so I would say empower connect and excited

Speaker 0 00:13:09 And power connect and excite. Awesome. What can parents do at home to help them support their children as they are connecting and, um, and, and being excited about this learning?

Speaker 2 00:13:20 Um, I would say for parents as a parent myself, I’m switching the question of like, how was your day, um, when they come home, it’s like, what did you learn today in science? You know, like really be involved in exactly what you want to know from their answer. Um, so whether you want to ask them, how, what did you learn in math? Like being specific with what they learn. So if you want to know about their science, what activity did you do in science? So just being a little more specifics that it’ll jog their memory. Cause I’ll ask my son, what did you do? I’m like nothing. I’m like for eight hours, you didn’t have, there’s no way. There’s no way he did nothing. So if they’re the way, like, what did you do in science? Did you, you know, like just going into that so that they can remember, oh yeah, we did this. Um, and it probably varies on the age of your child. My children are two and four, so their memories are very limited. I would say to follow your child’s, um, interests. And so if your children love using the computer, maybe looking into coding, they have a lot of nice coding websites, online courses. I would say you can use a subscription boxes, subscription boxes are always fun because they come, it’s like male one and then two, everything is in there that you need to do the activity that you’re looking for.

Speaker 0 00:14:35 That actually leads me into my next question, which is what resources do you recommend? So I know you mentioned a subscription boxes. Uh, I know that I do one with my daughter. We do Kiwi crates. Um, and they, because they, um, they have them for different age ranges, like all the way from three all the way up. So I know Kiwi crates, a gray, what do you recommend?

Speaker 2 00:14:56 Right. Definitely. I love Kiwi crate. Um, I love, well, I have mine, which is a smaller, like an educational subscription box that goes forwards, the homeschooling parents or the science, the teachers and elementary schools, um, who are trying to teach a little bit more science into their curriculum. And so it really involves the parent teaching their child and becoming into that role. Um, but I love using science buddies. If your children are a little bit older and they’re going to do like science fair or anything like that, they have a lot of resources. They give you the supply list of everything that you need, um, along with how to do the activities and how to do the extensions. Um, and then of course on YouTube, they have wonderful videos. I love science show. Um, they have one for the lower grades and for the upper grades that really explain a little bit more difficult, uh, topics and makes it a lot more easier so that when you’re trying to help your child, cause not everyone went to school and learn science and they may come home with a question or they may have more questions based off of what they learned, which is a good thing.

Speaker 2 00:16:04 But if you’re not really comfortable with it as a parent, you may recluse and say like, I don’t know, actually teach it tomorrow. I don’t want to do that because then they’ll feel like they’re doing something wrong or like it’s too hard. Or maybe it’s not that important, but if you embrace it and it’s like, all right, I tell my sons all the time, like they asked me a question I’m like, um, I don’t know, let’s Google it. And we go straight to Google and they’re like, let’s look it up. And as long as they know that it’s a working relationship, learning is a full-time job. We learn until the day that we die. We’re learning something new all the time. And if they see you do it, then it’s going to be a lot easier for them to do it as children like, oh, mom is still learning. She’s still doing this. And so if you can go ahead and just like, Hey, you know, let’s look it up. And I find like these YouTube videos are great on the sign show because I’ll learn from it. And then maybe if some words are a little harder for them, I’ll just reiterate it right to them at their age level. And so it kind of depends on the age level of your students or your children. Um, but definitely using those visuals. I love love.

Speaker 0 00:17:07 Wow. Well, where can listeners find you if they want to connect specifically with you? And I’m the science teacher, mom, how can they find you?

Speaker 2 00:17:15 You can find me on science teacher, mom.com. That’s my website or on Instagram at science teacher, mom. So every everywhere you can find me science teacher, mom,

Speaker 0 00:17:25 Medina. I want to thank you so much for being here with us today and sharing all this information about how to make our children more engaged and inspired when it comes to science, because we know that science is a growing field and there’s a lack of our kids taking advantage of the opportunities that are out there right now. So thank you so much for coming on today. We really appreciate

Speaker 2 00:17:47 It. Thank you for me.

Speaker 0 00:17:49 Have a great day to empower, connect and excite simple enough, right? Empower them by letting them lead the learning. Let them tell you what they want to explore. Connect the learning to real life experiences whenever possible, and keep the learning exciting with engaging hands on activities that make the learning fun. I want to thank my guests, Medina Eastman again for taking the time to chat with us today. Show notes, resources, and links to the things we’ve discussed today are all available on our website@justlikemepresents.com. Make sure you hit the subscribe button and share this podcast with other parents and educators in your circle. Visit us on Facebook at just like me presents. Join our group and tell us what you think and share any science tips or resources that you might have next week. We’ll be diving head first into social studies and discussing how quite honestly social studies and history might quite possibly beat the most important areas to the manned representation for our children. Thank you for listening. And remember if our children can see it, they can achieve it.

Speaker 0 00:19:03 Parents are you frustrated with traditional education? I was educators. Are you struggling to find inclusive academic content that represents your students? I know the feeling that is why I created just like me presents just like me presents is a multimedia production and development company that stresses the importance of literacy, culturally relevant teaching materials and active learning experiences. Check out our culturally responsive books and supplemental curriculums on our website. Www just like me presents.com and the just like me book and just like me pick sections. Your child will be amazed at how many books they can choose from where the characters look like them. They’ve never had math explained the way we do with remember through rhyme and I can guarantee the history we share. And meanwhile, an Africa isn’t taught in any traditional public school. Let us help you get the tools you need to rewrite your child’s education and set them on a path to success. If you have a child in kindergarten through fifth grade, trust me, you’ll want to check us out. I think you’re going to love our programs and the long lasting positive impact you have on your child. Our programs help students develop a strong sense of self, affirm their identities and encourage critical thinking and entrepreneurship skills. Head on over to the website. Now at www just like me, presents.com and help empower your child to become the best version of themselves. And remember if our children can see it, they can achieve it.

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