STARS is officially over for the cohort. I almost can’t find enough words to explain the past seven weeks, so I’m going to try to sum it up with a few; memorable, intense, rewarding, absolutely draining, and 100% worth it. I could write countless blogs on the numerous lessons and memories I will take with me from STARS, as well as how it helped me grow as an educator. However, I would like to focus on the last day; collaborative conversations.
Our STARS were well rehearsed and prepared, but it was the moments that we didn’t rehearse that had the most meaning to me. (Oh boy, I’m slightly tearing as I type this)
One of the first occurred when we had our visitors in our room. Everyone in the room had to introduce who they were, and say one interesting thing about themselves. The STARS had to give one thing they loved about Science STARS. We got answers like “making new friends”, “just being with the team, and doing science”, “the visit to the U of R”, “dissecting flowers”, “learning about the plants”, and “the recognitions at the end of every day”. It was really cool to see some of the takeaways the STARS had.
The next occurred during our presentation, when the “light team” was presenting to the guest. One of the STARS had handed everyone a piece of paper, and asked them to draw what they saw in the microscope, and write what they thought it was. While the guest did as they were instructed, one of the STARS grabbed my iPad and said they needed to get a picture of what they saw, because it made them “feel like a teacher.” I told them it was because they were the experts and had a lot of great information to share with the community. I also pointed out to them how successful they were, because it was only a minute into that part of the presentation, and they had their audience fully engaged.
The last that I would like to discuss in this blog entry occurred during the questioning portion of the “light team’s” presentation. A guest challenged the claim one of our STARS made about their hypothesis being correct. The guest pointed to the graph, and said that the graph showed that the sunlight grew more than the artificial light. The STAR that made the claim, quickly stepped up and explained how the guest misread the graph. She explained that for the investigation, we used tomato plant clones, so it was hard to start with two of the same size. However, she pointed out that the data showed, as well as the graph, that the plant that used artificial light grew 5 cm, where the one in sunlight only grew 2cm. Therefore, proving their hypothesis that if they used artificial light, then the plant would grow faster than a plant in sunlight. The reasons why this interaction was amazing, and a “proud” moment for me are as follows:
1. The question section wasn’t rehearsed. STARS were not sure what audience would ask. However, they were able to recall information that enabled them to provide great feedback, and answer to the community’s questions.
2. She said clones! She remembered a part of the protocol that was only touched on briefly, during a hectic time, when the hydroponics systems were set up, and the plants were planted. We did not touch on that any time after, nor did we mention it as we prepared for presentations.
3. She didn’t allow an adult to tell her that she was incorrect in her claim. She had enough confidence in her work, and the evidence to support it to argue in a very professional, and scientific way. (I did tear up at this moment during the presentation)
So overall, our final day of STARS was a success. I think most importantly, the STARS realized their accomplishments, and what they are capable of.