Science Connections: The Podcast
Welcome to Science Connections: The Podcast! Science is changing before our eyes, now more than ever. So…how do we help kids figure that out? How are we preparing students to be the next generation of 21st-century scientists?
Join our host Eric Cross as he sits down with educators, scientists, and knowledge experts on ways to best support students in science classrooms. Hear how to inspire kids across the country to love learning science, and how you can bring that magic into your classroom for your students.Stay connected
S1-10: Empowering the science educator: Jessica Kesler
In the final episode of the season, Eric sits down with his friend and professional development facilitator, Jessica Kesler. During the episode, Jessica describes her passion for sharing high-quality, empathy-centered professional development for K–12 educators. The conversation also dives into Jessica’s experiences teaching in Philadelphia, and how teachers’ roles often involve more than just delivering content.
Season 1, Episode 09.
Supporting K–8 science students in the digital world: Ricky Mason
In this episode, Eric sits down with Ricky Mason, chief executive officer of BrainSTEM. Ricky shares his passion for inspiring students into science careers, and his path from an engineering career with organizations like the Department of Defense, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the Central Intelligence Agency to starting BrainSTEM, an education program that develops creative digital tools to enable all teachers and students to dive deeper into STEM content. Ricky and Eric talk about representation in science classrooms and the importance of embedding fun within K–8 science content!
Season 1, Episode 08.
The importance of risk-taking in the science classroom, a conversation with Valeria Rodriguez
In this episode, our host Eric Cross sits down with Miami-based educator, Valeria Rodriguez. Valeria shares her journey of serving in the Peace Corps, working a corporate job, and eventually finding her passion as a middle-school science teacher. Listen in as Valeria explains how sketchnoting, a form of note-taking that utilizes illustrations, encourages student choice and creativity in her classroom. Eric and Valeria also discuss the importance of risk-taking within the science classroom, and how their own mistakes can be crucial in modeling resilience for students. Lastly, Valeria shares several teachers that have inspired her throughout her career.
Season 1, Episode 07.
Overcoming adversity in the science classroom: A conversation with Joe McCormick
In this episode, Eric sits down with Joe McCormick, director of engineering at SplitSpot. Joe shares about this experience losing his central vision in high school and the transition into college at Harvard. Eric and Joe chat about self advocacy within the classroom, and scaffolds that worked for Joe as he learned how to navigate the world with his disability. Eric also learns about beep baseball, the adapted national pastime for the blind and visually impaired, and the importance its community for Joe’s journey to become an engineer. Lastly, Joe shares about accessibility tools, college acceptance, and how to motivate students to love computer science.
Season 1, Episode 06.
Supporting students with a creative twist: a conversation with Kentucky Science Teacher of the year, Shad Lacefield
In this episode, Eric sits down with the Kentucky Science Teacher of the Year, Shad Lacefield. Shad shares his experience teaching during the first year of the pandemic, where Shad dressed up in over 100 costumes to create a unique and engaging online learning experience for his students. Shad also explains ways he connects with his students to celebrate student success, as well as large-scale efforts he leads within his school to cultivate the love of learning science content.
Season 1, Episode 05.
How does coding fit in the science classroom? A conversation with Aryanna Trejo of Code.org
In this episode, Eric sits down with Aryanna Trejo, a professional learning specialist of Code.org. Aryanna shares her journey from working as an elementary teacher in New York City and Los Angeles to teaching other educators at Code.org. Eric and Aryanna chat about computer literacy within the science classroom, problem-solving skills, and ways to model productive struggle for students. Aryanna also shares ways to teach coding and computer literacy in schools, no matter the classroom’s technology level.
Season 1, Episode 04.
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.
Season 1, Episode 03.
Ways to integrate literacy skills into a K–8 science classroom: Rebecca Abbott
In this episode, our host Eric Cross discusses the importance of integrating literacy skills into science instruction with Rebecca Abbott, Professional Learning Lead at the Lawerence Hall of Science at UC Berkley. Listen in as Rebecca challenges science educators to weave together vocabulary, background knowledge, and an understanding of language structures to help students make sense of complex science texts. Eric and Rebecca chat about ways to infuse literacy in the service of science.
Season 1, Episode 02.
Community and joy within K–8 science instruction: Desiré Whitmore
In this episode, Eric 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 we’re they’re at, and K–8 science instruction with real-life connections. Desiré chats with Eric about her work on supporting the science of teaching science content at the Exploratorium museum.
Season 1, Episode 01.
The journey from student to SpaceX Engineer: Juan Vivas
In this episode, Eric Cross talks to supply chain engineer Juan Vivas of SpaceX about his experiences growing up as a Latino in STEM. Juan shares his story of moving to the United States to study engineering and becoming successful in his career as a scientist. Juan openly discusses the experiences that made a difference in his life and the teachers that inspired him along the way. He also shares his experience as an engineer in different fields, as well as what it’s like to work in the supply chain during COVID.
Season 1, Episode 00.
About Science Connections: The Podcast
Welcome to Science Connections: The Podcast! Science is changing before our eyes, now more than ever. So…how do we help kids figure that out? We will bring on educators, scientists, and more to discuss the importance of high-quality science instruction. In this episode, hear from our host Eric Cross about his work engaging students as a K–8 science teacher.
Meet our host
Eric Cross is a 7th 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.
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Science Connections: The Community is a space for educators committed to implementing high-quality science instruction. Our conversations are to support our current and future scientists. To hear more from educators, scientists, and curriculum experts, join the community on Facebook.