From now until January we are going to be doing Cranky Contraptions out on the museum floor. Cranky Contraptions are wood and wire kinetic sculptures that animate a character or scene when the handle is turned. One thing that I enjoy, is that this activity is an open-ended platform for expression. Recently an Explainer seized this opportunity to make a personally meaningful artifact through a cultural lens. As a facilitator, I want to foster an environment that allows anyone to bring their whole selves. Below are a few words from this Explainer.
"My name is Hannah Estrada. I am a sixteen-year-old Chicana.
I landed on this movement because I knew immediately that I wanted to make a lowrider. So, I began looking at other examples and trying to envision that movement as a car going up and down until I found one that I thought would work. I chose to create a lowrider because of how significant it is in Chicano culture and California. Lowriders are often stereotyped as gang members or bad people. In reality, lowriders are hardworking people that have a love for self-expression through their cars."
If you have never seen a lowrider before, here is a video of one in our museum they're a perfect example of Science Technology Engineering Art and Mathematics!
I had asked Hannah to share her thought process with us here on this blog post and with her peers in a meeting. One of the reasons why I asked her to share this with everyone is not just because the movement is amazing, but also because it is part of my strategy of practicing Culturally Responsive Teaching. CRT is a pedagogy that allows each student to have a richer experience in academia by honoring and recognizing various identities and experiences. My hopes are for Hannah and anyone reading this to feel empowered to bring your whole self as a learner and how . they can integrate themselves into the work they're doing. As I am signing off I am wondering about other best practices for CRT and how to apply them in informal education.