White Faculty’s Commitment to Racial Consciousness in STEM Classrooms
Edited By Nicole M. Joseph, Chayla Haynes and Floyd Cobb
15. Nesting in Nepantla: The Importance of Maintaining Tensions in Our Work
Every year, I run an activity with my secondary mathematics methods students in which I make them feel uncomfortable. It is called Bungee Barbie.1 They are assigned a group activity where they are given a Barbie doll, a measuring tape, a handful of rubber bands, and tape. They are asked to measure the distance the doll falls from a fixed point when dropped with one rubber band tied to her ankles. They are to continue this process with two, then three, up until ten rubber bands are used in a chainlike manner, taking note each time how far she falls. They are asked to collect this data and then, based on their “line of best fit,” make a prediction as to the number of rubber bands to use if she will be dropped off of my third-floor office balcony, fall the maximum distance, and not hit the ground below. The winning team will have bragging rights. They are told that in our next session, each group member will be responsible for explaining how their group collected their data, how they accounted for any error their data might contain, and how they made their prediction.
When they return to class the next day, they are confronted with my running the class completely in Spanish, and at a fairly fast pace for someone who is not a fluent speaker. In directing my comments to students, I change their names to their Spanish equivalents...
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