An intention in creating and implementing the GWS project was to provide high school girls with opportunities to use literacy as a way to imagine and dream themselves in connection to science careers and pathways. In this case, the educators were from the Central Arizona Writing Project at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona, and the Arizona Science Center. The 24 high school girls were from the ASU Preparatory Academy. The teachers were part of the Intersections Project, which investigates the intersections of literacy and science via strategic partnerships.
Why Do Partnerships Matter?
When given the opportunity to collaborate, institutions can do work of consequence that neither could have accomplished alone. Intersections partnerships expand the relationship and collaborative potential between writing projects and museums. Partnerships also strengthen the ability of each institution to bridge the informal and formal worlds and to work in cross-curricular ways.
Start with a science concept, build a story, create a short film—that was the challenge put to Pittsburgh-area teens by the Carnegie Science Center and the Western Pennsylvania Writing Project. The hitch: they had to do it in one day.
In that first year, sixteen teens took the “Smash Jam” challenge. They visited the science center to see what artifact or exhibit piqued their interest. On a Saturday morning at the science center, they got started. By the end of the day, they had scripted a story, plotted the shooting strategy, shot a video, and edited it for a final showing later that weekend. In one day, they dove deep into science and put their literary chops to the test in writing and creating a video.
Kneeling down on the banks of the Poudre River in Fort Collins, Colorado, a fifth grader took a sample of water and measured its quality, recording the findings in a notebook. Later that same day, the same fifth grader took a sample from a pond near a cattle feedlot whose source is also the Poudre River. The results were vastly different.