Torque like fork: STEM literacy in the community
Opportunities to learn science must extend beyond formal school environments. Both the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) and National Association for Research on Science Teaching (NARST) have published position statements on the importance of informal science education as a means to spark curiosity and build a foundation for lifelong engagement in critical thinking. The non-compulsory environment of community-based centers for STEM learning creates “alternative on-ramps for young people to engage with science” (Falk, Osborn & Dorph, 2014) but the learning must be intentional. Intentionality in STEM education, especially in urban settings, is a critical requirement for equitable science. Informal science educators can make a unique contribution to the development of equitable science teaching and learning in and outside the classroom in two areas: 1) craft opportunities for students to ask questions that have unknown (untested) answers and 2) incorporate language experiences into the science learning to build interdisciplinary literacy.