African Americans have contributed to the United States’ Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) enterprise since the nation’s beginning, yet their names and contributions have been routinely overlooked. Museum educators counter this omission by sharing the lesser-known stories and far-reaching impacts of African Americans in STEM.
The Museum’s STEM educator programs empower 3rd-12th grade teachers to confidently lead their students through STEM principles and practices, while using stories grounded in African American achievement. Our student programs provide visitors opportunities to engage in hands-on activities, learn about STEM careers, and explore African American contributions to history and STEM.
Environmental Justice and African American Communities Summer Workshop
In 2014, residents in the city of Flint, Michigan began noticing changes in the color, odor and taste of the water coming from their taps. In some homes, lead was discovered to be more than 800 times the acceptable level and was known to cause rashes, particularly in children. The city and its population who are a majority African American, alerted authorities, yet the response to the residents’ issues were initially ignored. Since then, the city of Flint has made significant progress towards replacing household pipes and service lines, yet as the improvements continue, the full impact of the negligent response may not be realized for years to come. The Flint Water Crisis is just one example of current environmental issues negatively impacting the health of U.S. residents throughout the nation.
Join the National Museum of African American History and Culture for a two-day workshop on July 26th-27th, 2021 as we investigate the Environmental Justice (EJ) movement and its connection with the African American community. The Environmental Protection Agency defines EJ as “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations and policies,” so that communities proportionally share in the burdens and benefits of an environmental service.
By the end of the workshop, participants will be able to identify the core concepts and leaders of the EJ movement, better understand the history of African American participation in the EJ movement, and identify EJ issues in their own communities. We will learn of environmental issues related to communities across the United States, including Cancer Alley along the Mississippi river, hog farming in the U.S. southeast, while taking an in depth look at the Flint, Michigan Water Crisis. Using Flint’s water issues as an example, participants will engage in classroom activities designed to inspire curiosity and action in their students around the topic of EJ. During this virtual workshop, participants will develop an understanding and appreciation for African American communities as they strive to have their voices heard on issues concerning their local environments.
The workshop is targeted to 3rd-12th STEM teachers. We encourage teachers to register and participate regardless of their EJ knowledge level. This is a two-day (4 hours/day) workshop. Participants are expected to attend both days of the workshop. There is no cost to attend and participate in this workshop. This is a virtual workshop and will be conducted using Zoom.
Register for the workshop
Participants attending both days will receive
• A workshop certificate for 8 hours of professional development participation
• Classroom set of supplies and materials used during the workshop
• Monday July 26, 2021 – Tuesday July 27, 2021
• 1-5pm Eastern Time (each day)
• 12-4pm Central Time
• 11am-3pm Mountain Time
• 10am-2pm Pacific Time
• 9am-1pm Alaska
• 8am-12pm Hawaii
This STEM workshop is generously supported by Dow.
Questions regarding the workshop can be sent to NMAAHC-STEM@si.edu.
Watch Our Tutorial Video
Learn more about upcoming programs from our education team and how to find online STEM resources from the Museum in our tutorial video.
Journey to the ISS: Learning and Building together
Since new developments are the products of a creative mind, we must therefore stimulate and encourage that type of mind in every way possible.George Washington Carver