The Bright Idea Attracting Students to STEM - 5:08
with Leal "Al" Smith, Educator/Filmmaker at Pike High School
Posted Sep 13, 2017 Expires Sep 13, 2019
The bright idea that is getting students in Indiana more interested in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM is not entirely new. In fact, the idea comes from what kids are already interested in...movies. Once Al Smith became aware of this staggering statistic - only 5% of African American students are likely to achieve the STEM readiness benchmark before heading off to college or begin their careers - he took action and developed an idea...or a movie character that is. Smith spoke to the Indianapolis Recorder in July of 2017 and had this to say: "There is a Luke Cage for an older demographic, but there really isn't a superhero film starring a minority teen. I really wanted to target minority males and youth, because I feel there is a void in innovative stories. My overall goal is to create a space for math an STEM in entertainment and to make this material digestible for students." Smith is currently in production for his work "The Black Hornet of Flatland Heights". For more information on the film and other projects from one of the 100 Indiana educators awarded the Teacher Creativity Fellowship from Lilly Endowment, visit Purpix Media. Interview recorded on August 23, 2017. Hosted by Taylor Bennett. Part I of I. Read a partial transcript of the interview here: Bennett: In a 2016 report by ACT, it indicates less than 30% of high school seniors are prepared to study STEM. As an educator, is that disheartening to you Smith: I see it everyday, yes. It's one of those their where they don't see the connection between education and success. Bennett: You're involved in a film project that addresses this, tell me about it. Smith: It's called The Black Hornet of Flatland Heights. Without giving too much away the lead character and his science teacher end up forming a bond. They exchange words and create a friendship. In the end, the science teacher turns the basketball player into a superhero, The Black Hornet.
Hosted by: Taylor Bennett Produced by: Heartland Newsmakers Team

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What Indianapolis Needs to Better Fight Food Insecurity

Indianapolis has been ranked the worst city in the nation for access to fresh food. The Patachou Foundation is aware of that fact and is "working hard to change this by providing real food and hands-on education to kids living in these areas." Offering a hands-on approach to fight food insecurity. The foundation send out educated representatives into the community; into school cafeterias and into classrooms. The kids are exposed to nutritional demonstrations and given a wholesome meal, similar to what you eat at the cafe or other Patachou-owned restaurants, like Napolese. Click here for more on The Patachou Foundation. Interview recorded on August 23, 2017. Hosted by Taylor Bennett. Part 1 of 1. Read a partial transcript of the interview here: Bennett: We've highlighted some organizations that are fighting against hunger, is it making a difference so far Feltrop: Absolutely. Those statistics show that, across the nation, food insecurity and access to food is on the minds of policy makers. Bennett: What is the issue in Indiana Feltrop: Well specifically in Central Indiana you have a combination of issues. The reality is that hunger includes access to food. Indianapolis has a huge problem with the layout of the neighborhoods and just the economics of running grocery retail makes it difficult to place, locally, accessible, fresh food options in neighborhoods. Bennett: Does it also mean healthy food Feltrop: Fresh options are more healthy. Statistics do show that when there is a close proximity to a grocery store, the health outcomes of the community members tend to get better. Bennett: What would you like to see as far as making this problem go away What would be the ideal Feltrop: The reason why we are still grappling with this is that there are so many facets to the issue. It's an economic issue; poverty has continued to worsen. The polarizing economy really makes it difficult for families to get out of the cycle of poverty. When you include the health piece high food insecurity lead to negative health outcomes among youth. Indianapolis is ranked poorly when it comes to health in youth. Issues like diabetes and obesity are linked to food insecurity. Then there is a social piece about access to food; it's a neighborhood problem. Policy makers need to get fresh, healthy foods to neighborhoods based on their individual needs. Bennett: A lot of components. Feltrop: What we do at The Patachou Foundation is specifically address childhood hunger and their access to fresh foods. We work with local schools and deliver healthy meals to students facing food insecurity and poverty.
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