Season 1, Episode 2

Community and joy within K–8 science instruction: Desiré Whitmore

In this episode, we join Eric Cross as he sits down with physicist and science education specialist Desiré Whitmore. Listen in as Desiré explains her work at the Exploratorium, a public learning laboratory. Eric and Desiré discuss finding passion in science, the importance of meeting students where they’re at, and K–8 science instruction with real-life connections. Desiré chats with Eric about her work supporting the science of teaching science at the Exploratorium museum.

Meet our guest(s):

Desiré Whitmore

A Southern California native, Desiré earned an associate of science from Antelope Valley College, a bachelor of science in chemical engineering from UCLA, and a master of science and Ph.D. in chemical and material physics from UC Irvine. Her research focused on developing very fast laser and microscope systems that could capture molecules vibrating and rotating in real time. She was a postdoctoral fellow at UC Berkeley, where she designed and built attosecond lasers (the fastest laser pulses, which emit x-ray light, ever measured). At the Lawrence Hall of Science she wrote an all-digital K–8 science curriculum (Amplify Science), which aligned to the NGSS, with the Learning Design Group (LDG). Desiré left LDG to teach hands-on laser technology and physics courses at Irvine Valley College before joining the TI staff. She is the proud mom of Stella, a four-year-old boxer-pit mix. In her spare time, Desiré is restoring her 1967 VW bug.

Meet our host: Eric Cross

Eric Cross is a seventh grade science/technology teacher, grade level lead, and digital learning innovator for Albert Einstein Academies, International Baccalaureate schools. He is also an adjunct professor of learning and technology at the University of San Diego and a Google certified innovator. Eric earned a bachelor’s degree from Azusa Pacific University and a Master of Education from the University of San Diego. He had 17 years of experience working with at-risk youth and underserved populations before becoming a middle school teacher. By building relationships with students, colleagues, and the community, he has become an empowered leader in and out of the classroom. Through meaningful learning experiences centered around student agency, STEM has become accessible to students through highly engaging lesson design, thoughtful integration of digital tools, and culturally relevant pedagogy.

Transcripts and additional resources

Show notes:


I think it's really amazing when we can realize as teachers... our job is not just to enforce rules on our students... our job is is to help students achieve more learning. - Desiré Whitmore