Sunday, May 11, 2014

Scientific Inquiry

The first event I would like to write about would be Scientific Inquiry. I got a job as an AfterZone Educator and I have to create and implement a STEM based curriculum for middle school youth in Providence. We started off the training by playing a game. The game involved us saying our names. For example I would say My name is Adriana, and everyone says Hiiiiii Adriana. Then I would say 'When I was in middle school I liked to read' and everyone would say Reading and do a motion resembling reading. This continued until we all knew each other. Afterwards we were placed in groups and given brief instructions to create the tallest bridge we can make with limited materials (but no specific amount) and no clear directions. The bridge had to hold a marble and should be built in order for the marble to drop into a small plastic cup. My team was very confused and we struggled to find roles for our group members. We struggled to communicate, and we felt rushed, and that we didn't have enough time. Then we were told this was an example of what would set students up to fail. Then we received this model about scientific inquiry and were told how would we change the lesson. My group came up with having a curriculum about bridges, the history of bridges, and  also lessons about weight, mass and physics. We would then have students research and then they would be given a visual of a bridge. Then they would receive materials and create. We learned that we can start off our lessons teacher driven and that we can build trust and create a supportive environment for youth. After that then we can help students guide their own learning and that will implement stem skills. I left this event nervous about this, but I'm excited to give my best and hopefully I will be successful.

Demo Day Spring 2014

I began my internship at The Hub, the high school initiative of the Providence After School Alliance (PASA). I wanted to get a clearer understanding of the administrative component of Youth Development. The Hub is the high school version of the AfterZone after school program for middle school. In addition to quality programming, high school students have the opportunity to receive elective credit for their participation. These are called extended learning opportunities, or ELO's. They receive this credit after finishing an online portfolio containing blog posts for each of the ten weeks ELO's are in session and after completing Demo Day successfully. Demo Day is a huge event that students look forward to because they get to showcase their learning. For my final project I began to analyze the data on by reviewing every students blog posts for every session ELO's have run since The Hub's first year. After completing my project successfully, my mentor decided it would be more beneficial for me to be a panelist for the ELO The Hip Hop Project. I had to judge 3 youth on the performance they displayed based upon a rubric. There were expectations in the description of the program: The youth had to display those expectations to receive a good score. I began the day at PASA at a training for scientific inquiry and applying it to stem curriculum (see following post) and after that I began to help prepare materials for Demo Day. Then I headed to Juanita Sanchez Education Complex (JSEC) to help one of the Hub coordinators direct students to the performance site. The bus was an hour late. We began to panic, and youth began to feel discouraged. Some complained and didn't want to even perform. I felt sad because I know the youth felt unimportant. We explained to them that it was unfair and they should complain. We helped them see it would benefit themselves to complete Demo Day and even though it was an unfair circumstance, they could persevere and be much stronger.

I arrived late for the panelist training, and I was nervous I was going to mess up. Luckily, the performance was delayed due to technical difficulties and I was able to read the packet of information. The performances were incredible! Students learned so much, they were incredibly confident and they had practiced so much. I also began to network and I walked around the reception speaking to people. That was really tough because I have serious public speaking anxiety, but I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone. I am glad that I was able to complete the goals I set for myself when I began my internship. I grew in so many ways and I ended up leaving with two jobs. I am receiving extra hours and I'm feeling more confident in my work. The professional development is helping me improve in the YDEV field and I'm looking forward to my future with PASA.