by Katie Schenkel
As a new member of the Invincibility Lab team, I have been quickly learning about what is important for productive identity work in science and engineering. Our productive identity work framework depends on 1)developing knowledge and practice within a community of practice, 2)recognition by others and 3)positioning/agency. Through a series of blog posts, I am going to provide some examples of how to promote each of these three parts from my experience as a teacher. The first post will focus on how to help students receive recognition for their expertise from their communities.
Showcases are a great way for students to be noticed and praised for their STEM work by the larger community. Last fall, my class hosted a showcase at the end of their robotics project.
Here are the simple steps we took to make sure that it was a success:
- Invite the students’ families to attend. At my school, many families could not come so the students and I would video and email or text the projects to their families.
- Invite the school community to the showcase. For example, our school nurse, guidance counselors, some teachers and other science classes attended.
- Make sure the showcase is an open house. Your community is busy! People will be more likely to stop by if they know they can just drop in for a few minutes.
- Position the students around the room and invite the guests to go learn from all of the students about their projects. If guests have extra time, ask them to complete a questionnaire about what they liked about the students’ work.
You may be worried that no one will come to your showcase, but rest assured because I have two tips. If there are not many visitors, simply divide your class and have the students take turns visiting each other’s projects. Also, emailing or texting the videos to the students’ families was important for many of the students. It is just making your class’s showcase more virtual and accessible. What ways have you found to foster greater recognition for your students’ expertise?
Also, you can check out our productive identity framework here if you want to learn more!