Earlier this month the students and staff of the Echo Park branch of 826LA, a nonprofit literacy and tutoring center, gathered to celebrate the publication of a book written and illustrated by students who attended a series of summer workshops on writing, science, engineering and technology. More than 15 Echo Park area students were involved with the project, which was cosponsored by Time Warner Cable, that resulted in a book, “It’s (Partially) Rocket Science.” The students wrote stories and drew images in response to a science lesson and discussion.
What follows are a description of some of the science lessons and excerpts of what students created in response:
Using ice cream as a starting point, students explored heat and cold and temperature shifts. They made ice cream, built coolers to prevent it from melting, and laid out survival plans for the desert, the Antarctic, and the next ice age.
House in the Desert
By Isabel Santiago
I would move somewhere else
Install a ceiling fan and put it on high
Drink a lot of iced lemonade
I won’t watch TV or use a computer
because it generates heat
Close the windows! You don’t want hot air to get in
Eat all my cold food
Put ice cubes in your mouth
Lesson: Planetary Geology
After looking at a few images of exoplanets and experimenting with oobleck (a non-Newtonian fluid), students imagined what other worlds might be like. They then wrote stories detailing future landings on faraway planets.
By Dayanara Martinez-Lozano
My planet is made of crystalline burritos. And the planet has air all right, air that we can breathe. You only need astronaut clothes, boots—and don’t forget a rocket, of course. You will need one. My planet’s name is SQUISHY BURRITO! I smell tongue meat, rice, and beans. People travel the planet on bouncy balls and even to go to the zoo. The zoo has scary animals like okapi, but don’t worry: they’re inside a cage.
Students first compared living organisms and non-living things in order to define life. Then, they used Pokémon to explore environmental adaptations. To finish the workshop, they hypothesized about life beyond the planet Earth.
Pokémon Viability Assessments
By José Rendon
Glalie will die on Mercury. Dustox will die there too because their weakness is fire.
Young writers and readers are always welcome at The Eastsider. Teachers can submit student work or samples of classroom writing projects to hello@theEastsiderLA.com. Publication is subject to review and parental approval. Click here for previous New Voices poems and short stories.