Some books you can’t wait to read–you have to get them the day they come out, and then you devour them in a day or two. That was my experience with Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which I blogged about in February 2010. I read it as an argument for the value of science education in our culture, and later wrote an essay for Orion about why skimping on science is bad for an engaged and informed citizenship.
To document the piece, I used Skloot’s work, my own experience as a poorly-trained Brooklyn classroom teacher, as well as my more recent teaching experience working with the dedicated science teachers at Hawbridge in North Carolina. I also paid visits to the inspiring Environmental Charter Middle and High Schools in Los Angeles, and spoke with Sandra Laursen, who codirects a research unit devoted to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education at the University of Colorado, Boulder. You can read the article online in full here; it will also appear in Leave No Child Inside, an anthology just published by Orion.
(Above: seedlings in the hydroponic greenhouse at ECHS.)