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The Science Museum of Minnesota's Teacher Professional Development Group at Science House is a leading provider of professional development for Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) educators in Minnesota. Our mission at Science House is to increase STEM literacy and eliminate achievement disparities in math and science. Our programs are based on the Science House Framework for Access and Equity in STEM.
Framework for Access and Equity in STEM
Lens 1: Disparities and Inequities
This lens focuses on STEM educational outcomes, expectations, and school and district policies. It provides insight into (1) changing school and district demographics; (2) the disparities in resources and educational outcomes that exist in state and local STEM education systems; and (3) policies and underlying beliefs that maintain and are used to justify the disparities.
Lens 2: Curriculum and Pedagogy
This lens focuses on culturally relevant STEM pedagogy and curriculum. It explores how the materials and structures in STEM education convey messages about race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, gender, and ability and engage or disengage students in different ways. Recognizing that STEM standards and curriculum are not ideologically neutral and working collaboratively to make the enacted curriculum accessible for each and every student is demanding work; it requires educators to truly understand and value diverse perspectives and experiences of both their students and their colleagues.
Lens 3: Reconstructing the Nature and Culture of STEM
This lens examines the effects that classroom portrayals of STEM have on student engagement. Math and science have long been viewed as culturally neutral, objective disciplines that are primarily about learning facts and procedures. Yet science and math are practiced and used by people in specific historical and cultural contexts. As they interact with the world, people observe nature; identify and describe patterns; note quantities and how they change; and design, develop, and use tools, processes, and systems. The ways in which they do these things are grounded in culture.
Lens 4: Identity
This lens focuses on the idea that both learning and identity are socially and culturally constructed. STEM educators must be attentive to student learning and to the construction of students' STEM identities. They must also understand that these identities are co-constructed with students' racial, ethnic, gender, disability and SES identities. Deconstruction of social and cultural notions about what STEM is and who does it ultimately supports the growth of student identities that include "being the kind of people who would want to understand the world scientifically".
Lens 5: Distributed Community Leadership
This lens focuses on transforming communities. This lens developed out of (1) recognition that achieving equity in STEM education can not be accomplished by individuals working alone, and (2) a commitment to building strong leadership communities both regionally and within districts and schools. Transformation requires STEM education communities to go beyond technical strategies (curriculum adoptions, standards alignment, changes in class size or schedules, implementation of inquiry pedagogy) and to enact deep cultural change with the goal of universal student achievement.