WEEK 2: Exploring Space and Role Models at Woodson

By Tolu

This week we have a smaller group of girls but a young, new addition—6th grader, Ashanta (red sweatshirt)!

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After hearing the girls describe their role models in the last session, STEM Facillitator, Tolu, decided to bring in one of her own to discus—astronaut and physician, Mae C. Jemison, the first African American woman in Space. None of the sisters had heard of Jemison before so Tolu gave a quick biographical sketch of Jemison’s life and career. Then, the students talked about what they admired about Jemison. Some said she was “smart.” Others said she  “went after her dreams.”

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Afterwards, we dove into a lesson on basic geography, Galileo, Copernicus, and the solar system. We also used a little bit of math to calculate the ages of some of the girls on different planets since the time to revolve around the sun differs on each one.

The girls clearly love math, pulling out their scratch paper to eagerly calculate their ages.

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Ashanta (6th Grade) is approximately 40 years old on Venus. Stephanee (7th Grade) is 22 on Venus and Briana (7th Grade) is 6 on Mars. All of them insist that boys, however, are from Jupiter!

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At the end of the day, the girls all posed with their National Geographic books on space exploration. Although some (Ashanta) are certain they do not want to become astronauts (especially after seeing Gravity) the girls had found a new role model in Mae Jemison. During our journal time, Briana wrote, “I used to think Mars was the 3rd furthest from the sun. I know its Earth now.”

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