Science STARS: Live and Let Science

After a month in hiatus, the blog is now making its triumphant return as fall 2014 settles in. This week was the recruitment session for Science STARS as well as the expo, so brace yourself for some reflecting. One last note regarding the title, I was challenged to make the punderful blog post titles to all reference movies, but because I’m a bit weird, I took it a step further and from now until the end of STARS, they will all be references to James Bond movie titles.

On the whole, recruitment went fairly well. Our decision was to run our pilot study to show the potential Science STARS a small sample of what we would be doing. Our mini-study involved sorting cards by suit and number while listening to two different versions of the same song, the original version and a smoother cover version. The demo went well: the students were engaged, they were curious, and they were interested in a study that looked at their music at a deeper level. We had some hiccups in the first period. It turns out we needed to give the students more time in the activity, and our directions needed to be a lot clearer and much more visual. However, we were able to take our mistakes and make all of the adjustments we needed to make. By the 3rd time we ran our recruitment demo, it was polished and we got through everything that we needed to get through without taking up too much of a teacher’s time. We got people not only excited for our study, but for Science STARS as a whole, so our job was done.

During recruitment, I also got to see an 8th grade science teacher teach. It was amazing. She was encouraging and gentle when she needed to be, and when one student was consistently being a disruption, she never got angry with him. She asked what she could do for him. She let him go on a walking break (she asked him to “deliver a paper” to another teacher, but in essence it was a walking break without him knowing), she was accommodating in her warnings, and even when she had to move him, she did it respectfully and asked “would you like to move to another seat?”  That display of kindness and patience has the power to really change a student’s life. Whereas other teachers may simply kick that student out of the classroom, she was patient and even after the class was over, she chatted with him and they made a promise to help each other out. That is the power of relationships and I now know what a benchmark of that looks like.

Next came the expo, which posed very similar issues as our recruitment demo. The first trial had a lot of kinks that had to be addressed on the spot as once again, we underestimated the time an activity would take and we underestimated the amount of stuff we had to get through and that 10 minutes is actually not a lot of time. On top of that, there was less time than we though there would be between rotations. By the end of it all, I had felt like I had marched through a hurricane, but just like the recruitment demos, the major issues were cleared up by the second session and adjustments were made and made quickly.

No lie, I am a bit nervous about planning for Science STARS. Music and its effect on our activities is a fascination of mine and I want to share it with others. However I have to remember that this is for the students and making their music work for them. I can do my best to introduce new genres, but I may have to work in a scope that is more familiar to them. Also I am sure I will have to scaffold in some concepts in experimental design. If that ends up being the majority of the science content, so be it. If I do my job then the STARS team will have set up some dynamite experiments of their own creation, and that is a big accomplishment in six weeks and something to be proud of.

Signing off for now, so until the next post, bye-bye.

P.S.: I leave you with two songs I enjoy for studying/ doing work. One is the epitome of relaxation http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eQK7KSTQfaw

And the other is a bit more upbeat.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysGzu9WYBwg

 

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