In 1988, I first began using the Arts to teach science at Roosevelt High, a school of six thousand students in East Los Angeles. Students sketched, colored and labeled an illustration of the water cycle from the textbook. The class quieted. Students repeated a rap about the states of matter. “Matter is the stuff that everything has/ it comes in liquid, solid and gas”.
I played my saxophone, asking leading questions about the science of sound. I read aloud a story I wrote with moon facts, then challenged students to write their own story using a given list of facts about the moon.
The students became creative and engaged. While listening to a song about basic chemistry, a Roosevelt High football jock sighed; “Oh sir, I’m in love...with atoms!” These activities lead the class to discuss and question science. Grades improved. I have been creating science Arts Integration materials ever since.
In 1997, applying my Science Arts Integration materials, I began to work as an consultant in schools in Richmond and Oakland. Collaborating with local Arts Providers, we guided teachers and their students to create science arts materials. We presented in-class staff development and teacher training workshops. This consulting work was funded by bilingual education programs and various grants.
In 2005 I returned to classroom teaching to further develop science arts materials. In 2006, I was awarded Teacher of the Year for science arts enrichment at Cal State East Bay’s Upward Bound.
I currently teach Biology and English at Alternatives In Action High School in East Oakland.