Culturally Sustaining Greenhouse?

Hello to all my earthlings! Earthies? Apologizes for the pathetic pun but it’s in my blog’s title so it was a necessity.

Anyways, I want to start off by briefly introducing myself. My name is Hana and I am one of ten individuals in this year’s cohort of ‘Get Real! Science‘, a unique, interdisciplinary science teacher preparation program, at Warner School of Education at University of Rochester. I am fortunate to be part of such a special program that uses an inquiry-based approach to engage students in science inside and outside of the classroom. I look forward to incorporating what I learn during my time with GRS, along with my personal experiences, on this exciting platform. But most of all – I cannot wait to teach adolescents the exciting world of earth science! (No offense to the biology, chemistry, and physics nerds out there.)

My innate passion for the earth often influences me to visit county or state parks in my local area. Prior to making the big move to Rochester last month, I had one last outing with my grandma. Keep in mind that my grandma and I have a close relationship, so embarking on my new journey 8 hours away from home was intimidating and I knew being far from her would be tough. We both share a love for nature, so naturally we agreed to make a trip to Planting Fields Arboretum in Oyster Bay, NY. It is a nature park and arboretum covering over 400 acres! I highly recommend visiting if you’re ever in the area.

My awesome grandma and I cherishing our time together surrounded by a diverse array of beautiful flowers and other plant life.

After taking a short stroll on the grounds we decide to enter the main greenhouse, an earth scientist’s dream. As I push my grandma in her wheelchair along the narrow walkways that weave around the different varieties of plant life, I realize it’s easy to get distracted by the 90 degree heat (thanks to the greenhouse effect) when I’m sweating through my jeans and feel drips of sweat running off my glasses. Regardless, I persevere and continue pushing her on the wobbly path because it was our day and I wanted to enjoy every second of it.

Below is a diagram of the natural greenhouse effect in case you are unfamiliar with the phenomenon.

This is a basic diagram of the greenhouse effect. Notice that solar radiation hits and heats the ground. Infrared rays radiate off the ground and reflect once they hit the glass surface of the greenhouse. Long waves pass through the glass and radiate to the atmosphere. This necessary phenomenon keeps earth warm, allowing life to sustain. Or in the case of the glass greenhouse I visited, it traps heat inside, allowing the plants to grow and thrive.


Becoming a future science educator and pushing my grandma in a wheelchair have something in common. You may not think so but it’s true. It’s the idea that my future students will all come from different unique backgrounds, just like the wide array of plant and flower varieties that originate from biomes all around the world. In my future classrooms, I will encounter hurdles that will challenge me and I will work with students who might have very different upbringings than my own, as well as their peers. This is why I must maintain a classroom environment that is culturally sustaining or in other words, foster cultural pluralism in a safe space for all students. The main takeaway is that when I am confronted with a tough situation in the classroom, I must acknowledge that every individual in that room comes from different upbringings and so I must understand how to integrate pedagogy that is dynamic and diverse in nature.

As someone who wants to inspire younger generations by making them aware of the challenges our current and future planet will have to face, my greatest goal is to educate them on how to better the world with the simplest actions and how small actions can have large impacts.

So here’s to you learning a bit about me. And to me embarking on this journey to learn a lot about myself both as a learner and as a future educator.

Also don’t forget to check out my fellow cohort’s science education blogs!

2 Replies to “Culturally Sustaining Greenhouse?”

  1. The full title of your blog makes me giggle! I eagerly look forward to following
    your journey to become an Earth Science educator. A modern day Ms. Frizzle comes to mind… 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *