When these kids are told to create their own classroom, the results are badass.
True
XQ

Think back to high school. What if your teacher had told you to throw out the curriculum and run the class yourself?

What would you have done? Would you extend recess by several periods? Would you turn the class into Watching "Real Housewives of Atlanta" 101?

Or would you pull yourselves together, get creative, and make something incredible like, say, a piano powered by celery and old bananas?


If your answer is the latter, you'd probably love Makerspace in Phoenix.

These students are defying expectations and turning their scientific ideas into reality.

Posted by Upworthy on Thursday, October 26, 2017

"Makerspace is a place for students to make," says Amber Henry, a Makerspace teacher and coordinator. "It's for them to do what they're passionate about. They get to take an idea that's in their head and make it a physical reality."

Students decide what they want to make and are guided by experts into making it real.

Everything from computer games to rudimentary electronics to art projects to a piano powered by celery and bananas is brought to life by the students of Makerspace, and the lessons are self-evident.

All photos via XQ Super School Project.

"When we tell students that there's math in this room, and there's science in this room, and there's English in this room, they see the collaboration," Henry says. "They see the connection."

More than just a lawless play-space, Makerspace lets students take control of their own learning in a really unique way.

Everyone struggles occasionally with the traditional class structure, and sometimes, reading textbooks and staring at PowerPoint presentations isn't the best way to learn.

"A lot of kids tend to think that high school is boring," says Hayden Araza, a Makerspace student, "because they're not given the opportunity to say what they want to do. ... We're gonna make our own rubric. We don't need one of yours."

That shift in thinking is particularly important for Phoenix's large population of low-income and minority students, who often fall behind in a traditional education system that's stacked against them.

Students in Phoenix are "often from low-income backgrounds, and they're often minorities," says Pearl Chang Esau of Expect More Arizona.

"These kids can change the world. The question is whether we are gonna support them and invest in them and give them the teachers and resources that they need to do that."

As more kids enter this existing educational system, it's going to take creative ideas like Makerspace to give them a chance.

With the job market more competitive than ever, kids need every possible chance to get a leg up. One of the best ways to do that is to give them a space where they can discover their own passions for science — and put real-life skills to use.

The "normal" high school classroom isn't always the most engaging or beneficial place for young minds.

Getting kids excited about learning is about giving them control, letting them try and fail, so that later on, they can succeed. Or, as these minds see it, improving education is about challenging what we've come to accept as standard.

Learn more at XQSuperSchool.org.

True
Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

Keep Reading Show less
Photo by Nick Fewings on Unsplash

Last year, we shared the sad impact that plastic pollution has had on some of our planet's most beautiful places. With recycling not turning out to be the savior it was made out to be, solutions to our growing plastic problem can seem distant and complex.

We have seen some glimmers of hope from both human innovation and nature itself, however. In 2016, a bacteria that evolved with the ability to break down plastic was discovered in a Japanese waste site. Two years later, scientists managed to engineer the mutant plastic-eating enzyme they called PETase—named for polyethylene terephthalate, the most common plastic found in bottles and food packaging—in a lab.

Here's an explainer of how those enzymes work:

Ending Plastic Pollution with Designer Bacteria youtu.be

Now researchers have revealed another game-changer in the plastic-eater—a super-enzyme that can break down plastic six times faster than PETase alone.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


Former CBS News anchor Dan Rather has become a beloved voice of reason, knowledge, and experience for many Americans on social media the past few years. At 88, Rather has seen more than most of us, and as a journalist, he's had a front row seat as modern history has played out. He combines that lifetime of experience and perspective with an eloquence that hearkens to a time when eloquence mattered, he called us to our common American ideals with his book "What Unites Us," and he comforts many of is with his repeated message to stay "steady" through the turmoil the U.S. has been experiencing.

All of that is to say, when Dan Rather sounds the alarm, you know we've reached a critical historical moment.

Yesterday, President Trump again refused to commit to a peaceful transfer of power after the election when directly asked if he would—yet another democratic norm being toppled. Afterward, Rather posted the following words of wisdom—and warning—to his nearly three million Facebook fans:


Keep Reading Show less
via DanielandDavid2 / Instagram

Editor's Note: We used "black" in lowercase for our headline and the body of this story in accordance with emerging guidelines from the Associated Press and other trusted news outlets who are using uppercase "Black" in reference to American descendants of the diaspora of individuals forcibly brought from Africa as slaves. As part of our ongoing efforts to be transparent and communicate choices with our readership, we've included this note for clarity. The original story begins below.

On February 26, 2019, Stacy and Babajide Omirin of Lagos, Nigeria got quite the shock. When Stacy delivered identical twins through C-section one came out black and the other, white.

The parents knew they were having identical twins and expected them to look exactly the same. But one has a white-looking complexion and golden, wavy hair.

"It was a massive surprise," Stacy told The Daily Mail. "Daniel came first, and then the nurse said the second baby has golden hair. I thought how can this be possible. I looked down and saw David, he was completely white."

Keep Reading Show less