As science educators struggle to design learning experiences that meaningfully engage youth, turning to film production offers a promising tool for providing teen women from historically marginalized groups with access to participate in science and engineering.
Jessica Thompson from the University of Washington College of Education and her research partners shared findings from a study of Science STARS (Students Tackling Authentic and Relevant Science) during the 2018 meeting of the American Educational Research Association.
The teen women participating in the Science STARS after-school program produced film on subjects important to them and their communities in Rochester, N.Y., East Lansing, Mich., and Cascade Middle School south of Seattle, including teenage depression, blue jays and restoring a polluted lake.
"They're telling these deep, authentic stories about science but in the very teen-friendly way and all within this context of [saying] 'We care about others, we care about our environment and we want to make a difference'," Thompson said.
Drawing on critical science agency as a theoretical frame, the research team's analysis highlights the varied ways that urban teen women positioned themselves as authors, leveraged their unique funds of knowledge, and collectively made science and engineering contributions with implications for action.
Watch each Science STARS film below to learn more about the teen women's projects.
Hicklin Lake: A Hopeful Future
You Are Not Alone
Solar Bird House
Produced by Science STARS in East Lansing, Mich.
Dustin Wunderlich, Director of Marketing and Communications