So what did the kids create?
When learning about DNA, kids extracted the DNA from strawberries and read about cloning. They then got creative with their own cloned animals, like this one:
Poets challenged students to create a message to the world in six words (and then share it with the world in HTML). A scientist and poet collaborated on an exercise to extract DNA from a strawberry and then extract poems from articles about DNA.
Another exercise asked students to write and assemble a poem that served as a 3-D model of DNA.
The collaboration itself turned into a learning process for the adults. Although they brought their own expertise to the task, they needed to incorporate the expertise of others.
They were entering new territory. Although each group had cursory experience with the others—scientists and poets, for example, are often invited into schools to offer one-time activities—they rarely had opportunities to engage as equal partners. Over time, however, relationships deepened, and the collaboration enriched the experience for all.
By the end, “team members had developed the capacity, relationally, to act together,” the leaders wrote in their final report. “Their various positions of expertise were both drawn upon and challenged, enabling them to move collectively towards a rethinking and redesign of online science programming that would meet the needs of teachers and young people in our region and beyond.”