Linking and leveraging assets – with surprising results

The Purdue Agile Strategy Lab has been working with the engineering outreach initiative of New Mexico State University for the past eight months on a project to help high school teachers in that state integrate career & technical education (CTE) with STEM (science, technology, engineering & math). In most schools these are two quite distinct tracks, with the unfortunate resulting perception that “smart” kids take STEM, and lower-achieving kids are in the CTE.

In June teams of teachers and their university mentors gathered to launch the project and learn how to use Strategic Doing to tackle this challenge; on Saturday they re-gathered to present the results of their work. Several of the presentations illustrated why a particular aspect of Strategic Doing is so important and effective. We’ll report on a few in coming days.

The team from Atrisco Heritage Academy High School identified a host of assets in June, but three stood out: an enthusiastic biology teacher, a strong film program in which students wrote and produced videos, and a great culinary arts program. How they linked these assets was truly inspired – the team decided to create a unit on entomophagy. To you and me – that’s eating insects. The biology teacher has a deep interest in the use of insect protein as a sustainability strategy. As they combined these assets, here’s what resulted – in biology class, the students learn the science and are raising crickets; the film classes are creating a video about the process; the culinary arts teacher is researching recipes to make use of the crickets.

Check out this YouTube video, including great footage of the students introducing their peers to cricket cuisine:

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Liz Nilsen