Writing about thermodynamics and aliens expands student imaginations.
What is life? That was one of the questions 826LA students tackled this summer in a workshop called "It's (Partially) Rocket Science." Most of our students come from low income backgrounds, but like most youth, they're hungry for adventure, to make mistakes without judgment, and to interact with peers and adult mentors who can answer easy and strange questions.
Students get to be themselves in our writing labs, or at least be comfortable enough to explore themselves. Through this workshop, which we were able to offer for free thanks to the support of Time Warner Cable—their Connect a Million Minds initiative also helped us develop the curriculum we used—826LA students engaged in writing, experimenting, observing, thinking, and had deep conversations about thermodynamics and aliens.
It might seem odd for an organization like 826LA to focus on science, technology, engineering, and mathematics—also known as STEM in the academic world. 826LA prefers the acronym STEAM—the "A" stands for "arts," one of our specialties and a critical element that experts argue supports and expands knowledge within the other four disciplines.