STEAM camp

Researchers from the University of Washington College of Education shared their work to realize the promise of making and tinkering for diverse audiences during the American Educational Research Association’s 2017 annual meeting.

During the session “Equitable Pedagogies and Relationality in Making,” Professor Leslie Rupert Herrenkohl discussed STUDIO: Build Our World, a College partnership with Seattle’s Neighborhood House in which UW undergraduates lead hands-on STEM learning opportunities for low-income, immigrant and refugee youth, while Professor Megan Bang shared collaborative research in Seattle and Boston to design an “artscience pedagogy” that aims to cultivate youths’ attunement and involvement with complex ecological phenomena.

“Relationships are really at the center of the work that we do,” Herrenkohl said. “In a lot of STEM programming we think about the content being the most important thing, but we’ve really centered the relationships—between the youth and the mentors, but also relationships among the mentors themselves, and the relationships among the staff members both at Neighborhood House and the University and the mentors.”

That centering has helped STUDIO identify important pedagogical practices to broaden participation in STEM through near-peer mentoring, Herrenkohl said, empowering youth of color to see themselves as capable science learners within a community.

“Art and science are actually both two fundamentally creative processes that have deep complementarities,” said Bang.

Working with youth in both school and out-of-school environments, the artscience pedagogy is designed to disrupt hierarchies of ways of knowing that structure inequality in science learning, as well as open up more relationally responsive, participative modes of thinking, feeling and making than are conventionally made available in school to youth from historically non-dominant communities.

“We are in a time where creative endeavors of future-making are necessary if we are to imagine worlds beyond inequity,” Bang said. “Increasingly artscience—and I think it’s one of the functions of art, but also one of the functions of advanced science—to imagine those possible worlds, and it deeply asks science education to reimagine what we should be doing with kids.”


Dustin Wunderlich, Director of Marketing and Communications