KID Museum students, teachers, and partners were featured at a special event at the White House this week highlighting the contributions of Latinx leaders in science, technology, and space exploration. With the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, Minecraft Education (showcasing the new version of their popular LatinExplorers game), and collaborators from local school systems, KID Museum was proud to highlight innovative ways to support future generations of Latinx students to choose careers in STEM-related fields.
More than 30 students from KID’s longtime partner, Parkland Middle School for Aerospace Technology, participated in the event. A majority Latinx school, Parkland is deeply committed to supporting a more diverse STEM workforce of the future.
The White House attention comes at a critical time for infusing hands-on, maker learning experiences into school curriculum, particularly for historically marginalized students. For 10 years, KID has partnered with schools and teachers to offer programs that support efforts to ensure Latinx students have the experience and skills they need to become the changemakers, problem solvers – and space explorers – of tomorrow.
Most recently, KID launched the Latinx Educator Maker Lab focused on professional development for teachers who serve Latinx students. Rosalita Santiago, a K-12 STEM specialist from Arlington Public Schools and Latinx Educator Maker Lab participant, spoke at the event, noting the importance of building a sense of belonging in STEM for both Latinx students and teachers. Equally important to teachers is access to learning innovative methods to build a curriculum that is culturally responsive – so students can see themselves in the content.
“We need support for organizations like KID Museum that provide educational opportunities for educators. We can go to their professional development programs and learn about how to integrate STEM into the content we teach. Most importantly, their training also gives us the confidence to teach these concepts to our students.”
– Rosalita Santiago, M.Ed., STEM Specialist for K-12
KID Museum’s Latinx Educator Maker Lab is built around our Mind of a Maker framework, which includes eight dimensions of cognitive, social, and emotional development to cultivate empathetic problem-solvers and changemakers. Blending culturally responsive-sustaining education with hands-on maker activities allows teachers and, in turn, their students to advance their technical skills while being empowered to take creative risks and iterate in a safe and supportive environment.
The White House event allowed us to showcase how our unique approach to hands-on, STEM learning provides the platform to develop in-demand 21st century skills, particularly among populations that historically have been overlooked or left behind in STEM fields. As industry and government leaders said loud and clear: we urgently need diverse voices and representation in fields like space exploration – and we need to invest now for the next generation to see themselves in this future.