Season 1, Episode 4

Connecting with students and caregivers in the science classroom: Ryan Rudkin

In this special episode, our host Eric Cross sits down with veteran middle school teacher Ryan Rudkin. Ryan shares her expertise after almost two decades in the classroom, discussing ways to incorporate aspects of problem-based learning into the K–8 science classroom. Eric and Ryan talk about how to increase parent engagement, involve community members, and add excitement to lessons.

Meet our guest(s):

Ryan Rudkin

Ryan Rudkin is a middle school science educator near Sacremento, California. Although she originally thought she would teach elementary students, Ryan connected with middle school and never looked back. Now in her 16th year in the classroom, Ryan also supports teachers in her district with professional development. Ryan’s favorite part of teaching science is seeing students grapple with concepts and explore phenomena.

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 like to make my class and my learning environment enjoyable. I know there’s other goals in mind… but at the end of the day, I want to come back and I want [students] to come back. It’s so rewarding as a teacher to see these kids that are just on fire… and you know that one day they’re going to go off and do amazing things. - Ryan Renee Rudkin