Tuesday, February 14, 2017

This February and Going Forward, Let's Pledge to Highlight All of the Hidden Figures of the Past

In October of 2012, CA State Superintendent of Public Instruction, Tom Torlakson appointed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to be California's After School STEM Ambassador for the 2013 calendar year. At the time Tom Torlakson stated:

"Few things are more important to children's education and to California's economy than the STEM subjects, and few people have more vision and commitment to making an impact in kids' lives than Kareem Abdul-Jabbar," Torlakson said. "I've long admired Kareem as an athlete, and I'm delighted now to count him as an ally in giving California's kids every chance to succeed, not just in the classroom, but after school as well."   

But what stood out for me most during this October 2012 CA STEM Symposium are the following two items that Kareem shared with the audience:

"If America is to maintain our high standard of living, we must continue to innovate," said Abdul-Jabbar. "We are competing with nations many times our size, and STEM learning represents the engines of innovation. With these engines we can lead the world, because knowledge is real power."

To me the most powerful part of Kareem's speech came when he stated:

 " My 7' 2" inch frame predestined my future to that of an NBA basketball player. It wasn't only my body type that led me to believe this, but it was also the era that I grew up in. As a child, I did't know that people who came before me, who had my same color of skin had done great things in Science. It wasn't until I started my college career at UCLA that I started learning about all the wonderful, amazing contributions that African Americans had made in the field of Science. If I would have known this when I was younger, maybe this would have set me off on a different career trajectory."

It was also at this conference that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar revealed his children's book that he had just written entitled "What Color is my World? The Lost History of African 
American Inventors." He wrote this book in particular so that African American children of today and tomorrow could see that their ancestors have done great things in the past, continue to do great things, and that the students themselves can do great things in the future.

As educators, parents, community members we must make it our number one goal to unearth all of the hidden figures from the past so that no matter what ethnicity a child is that they can see that people that looked just like them have made tremendous contributions to the society that we all currently live in. 

Some hidden figures that Hollywood has currently unearthed in the movie "Hidden Figures" are:

Katherine G. Johnson an African American physicist and mathematician who made contributions to the United States aeronautics and space programs with the early application of digital electronic computers at NASA. 

Katherine Johnson African American NASA Scientist.
Dorothy Vaughan an African American mathematician who oversaw the staff at West Area Computers and helped NASA win the "Space Race."

Dorothy Vaughan: African American NASA Mathematician.

Mary Jackson an African American mathematician and engineer at West Area Computers and eventually became the first female engineer at NASA who helped NASA win the "Space Race."

Mary Jackson: African  American NASA Mathematician and Engineer.

Watch as Sacramento City Unified School District's Office of Equity and Office of Academics rented out a local theatre and used it as a classroom to unearth and highlight yesterday's Hidden Figures.

Please remember to share the STEM / STEAM activities that you are engaging 
your youth in. We would like to share it in our STEM blog. Please also invite us 
out to your STEM events. 

STEM / Expanded Learning and Other Pertinent Articles:

1) STEM Afterschool (Change the Equation, October 23, 2014)

2) BlackMinds Matter: Supporting the Educational Success of Black
    Children in California (Ed Trust - West, October 26, 2015)

3) Ten Tips to Become a STEM Superstar
    (National AfterSchool Association article by Andy Allan, February 1, 2017) 

4) Unlocking Learning: Science as a Lever for English Learner Equity
    (Ed Trust - West, January 4, 2017)

5) 4 L.A. Colleges get $6 million grants to support Latinos in STEM
    (KPCC Staff - November 30, 2017)

6) STEMtistics (Change the Equation)

7) Not All Fun and Games: New Guidelines Urge Schools to
    Rethink Recess (NPR article by Sophia Boyd, February 1, 2017)

8) Creating a Safe Space for California Dreamers
    (N.Y. Times article by Patricia Leigh Brown, February 3, 2017)

9) Teaching Middle Schoolers to Patent their Creations
     (Edutopia article by Kevin Jarrett, February 1, 2017)

10) Gender Equity in the Classroom 
      (Edutopia article by Rebecca Alber, January 27, 2017)

11) Engaging Children in STEM Education Early!
      (Natural Start Alliance article by Joshua M. Sneideman, December 2013)

12) Get Up, Stand Up: California's Search for Education Equity
      (Public Integrity article by Susan Ferriss, February 6, 2017)

13) The Next Big Blue-Collar Job is Coding
      (Wired article by Clive Thompson, February 8, 2017)

14) Creating a Door Out of Proverty Starts with Partnerships
      (Urban Institute article by Jennifer Peck and Jennifer Hicks, 
      January 13, 2017)

15) Innovative science instruction boosts academic performance among English
       Learners (Edsource article by Carolyn Jones, January 17, 2017)

16) Talking to students about STEM fields boosts test scores and career interest 
      (U Chicago News article by Mark Peters, January 17, 2017)

17) NASA's Real "Hidden Figures"
      (Space.com article by Elizabeth Howell, January 23, 2017)

18) A Growing Threat to Quality Expanded Learning Programs
      (Learning in Afterschool and Summer Blog by Sam Phia, February 6, 2017)

STEM (and other interdisciplinary core content) Activities / Videos / Websites

1) Writing Women Back into Science History (Science Friday - Podcast)

2) 12 Poems to Read for Black History Month (Poets.Org / Poems)

3) Madiba Lessons on The Life of Nelson Mandela 
    (Scholastic Lessons - Grades 7-12)

4) Icebreakers and Energizers  (YDN Network Resources) 

5) 20 Must-Try STEM Activities for Valentine's Day
    (Science Kiddo - Activities)

6) Librarian Approved: 30 Tech Apps to Inspire Creativity and Creation
     (Mindshift - Apps)

7) Share why your students love after school! (After school Alliance Activity)

8) 27 Ideas for Kids Artwork (Buzzfeed Art Activities)

9) Crafts for Kids (PBS Kids Art Activities)

10) Black History Month Lessons and Activities  (Education World)

11) NEA: Black History Month Lessons and Resources (Grades K-12)

STEM / Educational Grants: 

1) The Big List of Educational Grants and Resources 
     (Edutopia: Updated on February 8, 2017)

2) California After School Network Funding Opportunities
    (CAN Grant Page)

3) After School Funding Database (Afterschool Alliance)

4) Grant Opportunities (Impact Foundry)

5) Bank of The West (Funding Opportunity)

6) Application for Free Computers (RRR Computers)

7) Win $5,000 with the Science Everywhere Innovation Challenge
    (Deadline: February 17, 2017)

STEM / Misc. Professional Learning Sessions / Contest / Events: 

1) Region 3 Winter Conference for MS/HS Expanded Learning Practitioners
    (SCOE: February 21, 2017 from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm, Free Admission)

2) Chemical Reactions - Grades 3-8
    (SMUD: February 22, 2017, 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, Free Admission)

3) Cabbages and Chemistry - Grades 3-8
    (SMUD: March 9, 2017, 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm, Free Admission)

4) Project WET Grades K-12
    (SMUD: March 15, 2017, 9:30 am to 3:30 pm, Free Admission)

5) Put a Lid on It #2 (Engineering Everywhere) (Grades 6-8)
    (SCOE: March 21, 2017 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, Free Admission)

6) Alternative Energy (Kidz Science) (Grades 3-5)
    (SCOE: May 19, 2017 from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm, Free Admission)

7) College and Career Readiness Workshop (Grades 5-12)
    (SCOE: May 31, 2017 from 10:00 am to 12:00 pm, Free Admission)

Thanks again for all that you do in the field. Please keep us posted about STEM events/activities in your area. Please feel free to contact us at any time.

Monica Gonzalez-Williams (SCOE: Region 3: After School Regional Lead):

Phil Romig (SCOE: Science Curriculum Specialist): promig@scoe.net

Mark Drewes (SCOE: Project Specialist II: Expanded Learning) mdrewes@scoe.net

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