University of Rochester

Hip-Hop Dance, Hairstyling, Cell Phones Attract Middle School Girls to Science Through After-School Program

October 22, 2007

Students Engage in a Series of Authentic Scientific Inquiries as Part of Science STARS

Seventh and eighth grade girls from Wilson Foundation Academy will be searching for real scientific answers to questions on topics that interest them most. As part of Science STARS (Students Tackling Authentic and Relevant Science), an after-school program that is led by graduate students at the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education, middle school girls will study the real science behind hip-hop dance, hairstyling, and cell phones.

As they devote their after-school time the next five weeks to exploring science, these young scientists in training will develop and conduct a series of original scientific investigations on the following themes: How does hip-hop dance affect balance coordination and reaction time? What is the impact of hairstyling products on hair? How do cell phones distract us through everyday usage? The middle school girls will then unveil their results to the community on December 1 in the Rush Rhees Library at the University of Rochester River Campus.

"Research shows that not enough middle school girls engage in out-of-school time in science," said Al Schademan, doctoral student and visiting assistant professor in the science teacher education program at the Warner School of Education. "Science STARS changes that by showing girls how to participate in science while having a great deal of fun. By allowing them to explore themes that peak their interests, we're not only attracting more girls to the field, but we're keeping them interested and engaged in science."

The Science STARS program, an initiative developed by April Luehmann, assistant professor at the Warner School, was formed as a club for middle school girls. The program gives seventh and eighth grade girls the opportunity to participate in the richness of scientific inquiry, hoping that these experiences will help them to become capable science learners as well as give them a rich appreciation for the exciting role science plays in our daily lives.

Middle school students are not the only ones who will benefit from this program. Equally important, the program will give Warner graduate students, who are studying to be science teachers, the opportunity to facilitate science learning for middle school students.

Science STARS is part of the Get Real! Science Project, a teacher preparation program designed to engage students in real science. For more information on any of the Get Real! Science programs, visit www.rochester.edu/warner/getreal.

About the Warner School of Education
Founded in 1958, the University of Rochester's Warner School of Education offers master's and doctoral degree programs in teaching and curriculum, school leadership, higher education, counseling, human development, and educational policy. The Warner School of Education offers a new accelerated option for its Ed.D. programs that allows eligible students to earn a doctorate in education in as few as three years part time while holding a professional job in the same field. The Warner School of Education is recognized both regionally and nationally for its tradition of preparing practitioners and researchers to become leaders and agents of change in schools, universities, and community agencies; generating and disseminating research; and actively participating in education reform.




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