The reality of science, and scientific creativity, is so much messier and more wonderful than the stereotypes of movie nerds or geniuses with computer-logic brains. The We Are Science celebration of the Story Collider website provides insight into the variety of things people find interesting about science, the range of careers they pursue, and the meandering paths they sometimes take to find them. If we want glimpses into the reality of scientific creativity, this is a fine place to begin.
The site is full of resources that are perfect for either the beginning days of science class—when we are all full of hope and anticipation—or these waning days of the school year when it is time to reflect on what it all means and where we go from here. There is a five-minute video in which people in science careers explain how they got started. I love the short video of scientists’ tweets explaining their paths to science careers. Just as the Story Collider editor found, it touches my heart in surprising ways. You can also read responses from I Am Science audience members or explore the Story Collider podcast.
Consider having your students watch either the scientists’ video or the video of tweets (or perhaps have half the class watch each one, in a perfect “flipped classroom” exercise). As they watch, have them keep track of:
1) the kinds of science careers portrayed
2) the careers participants pursued along the way and
3) the obstacles or surprising turns in the path.
These could make an interesting bulletin board, in addition to an interesting discussion. Particularly as secondary students struggle with future plans, it can be helpful to know that not all paths are straight, but the results can be fascinating.
Or how about having students write their own fantasy tweet from their future selves about their amazing science career. The less inclined they are toward science now, the more creative the tweet may become!
Even non-scientists will be fascinated by this website. Take a look, then help us think about how to use it with students.