STEM pedagogy


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Proof Sheet for Barnaby Comic Strip, February 1962

What moments and events illuminate and obfuscate shifting subjectivities and aspirations of learning and teaching science?

A series of events in the 1950s in the erstwhile Soviet Union, including the launch of the Sputnik I satellite on October 4, 1957, spurred decades-long science education reform in the U.S. The exhibition Mobilizing Minds: Teaching Math and Science in the Age of Sputnik shows how policies like the National Defense Education Act in 1958 infused funding into learning technologies, teaching preparation, and developing new curricular methods and materials. Molecular models, mathematical illustrations, home science kits, and even satellite-themed lunchboxes became essential school arsenal. This Barnaby comic strip by cartoonist Crockett Johnson illustrates shifting career aspirations: Atlas the Mental Giant turns away from bookkeeping, being confident about his career prospects working in space and science-related projects. [discursive shift in figure of aspiration; shifting subject ideals]


Origin Story of Free Radicals zine

What capacities and experiences motivate the becoming of an educator?

Free Radicals is an online, free, science education zine centered on social justice founded by former and current science educators. Their articles + zines on engaging experts, Equity, Exclusion, and Everyday Science Learning, and Science Under the Scope are illustrative of their vision and practice. I chose this particular screenshot because, in my research, I am concerned about origin stories: why do some science educators become interested in thinking/learning/teaching about science differently? Through this question, I want to attend to the genre of biographical profiles and portraits that push against the genre of hagiography but retain historical and aesthetic import. 


JASTE on student science projects

What infrastructures and communities do next-generation STEM pedagogy require and set forth?

In the journal’s words, “JASTE is a journal for active promotion of social justice and environmental sustainability through science and technology education. This issue features a set of papers written by high school students about their research-informed and negotiated action projects aimed at addressing harms they determined in relationships among fields of science and technology and societies and environments. Guest Editors for this issue, Mirjan Krstovic (Instructional Coach) and Dave Del Gobbo (Science Teacher), worked – in supportive roles – with students throughout the 2017-2018 school year, culminating in this diverse selection of student reports.”

There are a number of publications and magazines that focus on science/activism intersections, but very few actually showcase, or credit, student work. I chose this visualization, a cover of a journal issue, because of a question I have recently been thinking about: How to build learning communities that mobilize students as researchers? This joins my thinking about connecting teacher preparation communities with student-researcher communities.

The Ultimate Homeschool Supply List

When has (re)spatialization occurred in STEM education and for what futures?

This is not a classroom. It is a room within the home of Teresa, a Chicago-based lifestyle and homeschooling blogger at Tiaras & Tantrums. In her post about how to set up a homeschool, Teresa provides a long list of what parents would need. I choose this illustration for two reasons. First, to shift attention to the materiality and infrastructure of science education. The legacy of post-Sputnik science education reform centers education technologies and science kits as essential components of classroom science instruction. In my research, I want to think about the political economy and infrastructuring of science education differently: Do we need all the education technologies and science kits to learn and teach science? Second, the rise of Black homeschooling gets at the problem at hand: public schools are not serving students as they should, and many would argue that they were not designed to do so. When the Koch Foundation funds homeschooling, what public futures get pushed into existence?

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