S1-08: 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 experiences she had with several teachers who inspired her throughout her career. Explore more from Science Connections by visiting our main page.

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What teachers say

What Valeria Rodriguez says about science

“I use [sketchnoting] and I mess up all the time…because I feel that my students don’t want to make mistakes, and drawing is one of those things that taught me that it’s okay to make mistakes.”

- Valeria Rodriguez
Educator, Instructional technologist, and Graphic facilitator

Meet the guest

Valeria is an educator, instructional technologist, graphic facilitator, and dreamer. She currently works as a Science teacher as part of a STEAM Team in Miami, Florida teaching third through fifth graders as a free-lance graphic facilitator. She loves to connect with passionate educators she meets around the country. Valeria has presented and led workshops at educational conferences like SXSWEdu, ISTE, NSTA, NSTA STEM Forum, SHIFTinEDU, FAST, FCIS, and SEEC. When she is not teaching or sketching, Valeria can be found adventuring with her family around the world, training for triathlons, and creating opportunities to empower kids in all kinds of communities. 

You can check Valeria’s work on her website and follow her on Twitter & Instagram.


About Science Connections

Welcome to Science Connections! 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. Listen here!