Christa Flores is a facilitator and researcher of Problem-based Science, an approach to science literacy with an emphasis on material science, design thinking, working in collaborative teams, sharing work and entrepreneurialism. Before joining the Maker Movement in Education, she taught lab-based science for 10 years in New York City. Christa graduated from the University of California, San Diego with a degree in Biological Anthropology, has done graduate work in primatology research through the New York Consortium of Evolutionary Primatology and obtained a masters in Secondary Science Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is also a Stanford FabLearn Fellow studying making in education through an NSF grant with a focus on how to assess student learning in a maker classroom. Christa is a co-author of Meaningful Making, Projects and Inspirations for Fab labs and Makerspaces. She is passionate about researching and designing meaningful making experiences for all ages, in all learning environments.
Recent Talks & Workshops
MakerEd Convening, virtual 2020
Bringing Voice and Choice to the Classroom to Create a More Joyful and Equitable Making Experience
Making expresses curiosity, joy, as well as sensitivity towards societal issues that depict an unjust world. In this workshop, we will be using the protocol Voice and Choice (Sheya, 2018) from Agency by Design to develop a critical awareness of power relations in the artifacts makers (re)design.
FabLearn 2020 New York (virtual)
Making Math Equitable
Marvelous Math Club (MMC) is a mathematics outreach club that was founded by a partnership between the mathematics department at the University of North Carolina-Asheville, in partnership with Asheville City Schools and the Asheville Public Housing authorities. The club seeks to encourage a love of math learning through the use of unconditional love, asset-based language and practices. MMC takes place onsite at the Pisgah View Apartments. Pisgah View is a public housing complex that houses six hundred individuals who qualify for public housing assistance. MMC meets at Pisgah View every Monday during the school year and hosts two weeks of summer camp. MMC serves students ages four to eleven, or preschool through fifth grade. Students who graduate from the program club are invited to stay on as junior champions and receive payment for supporting younger leaders with math mentoring. This paper describes the integration of making and engineering beginning the summer of 2019, into the regular math curriculum on Mondays and during the summer camp. Key lessons learned from this model over the past three years include observations of increased attention to task and the role of play in learning mathematical concepts.
MakerEd Convening, Pittsburg PA October, 2019
Collaboration is seen as an important 21st century soft skill, though is often not directly addressed in many educational spaces. As a “soft skill” there can be a misconception that collaboration is only learned in-between knowledge-based subjects matters. In this session the panel members will facilitate a proactive group conversation with the audience. The audience will also participate in a hands-on element as a collective showcase of pinpointing the average comfort level in teaching collaboration. By the end of the session formal and informal educators alike will walk away with a toolkit of knowledge and ideas to take and exercise in their own space.
Nation of Makers Conference (NOMCON), Chattanooga TN June 15, 2019
The Maker Economy and Workforce Development
Observations on developing trends concerning the gig economy as it pertains to makers. Solidifying observations of Northwest Arkansas and North Carolina and the impacts on regional economies and the development of the artisan workforce. Highlighting ways of supporting and scaling Maker small businesses beyond the Etsy marketplace.
FabLearn, Columbia Teachers College, NYC March 2019
Badges, Brownies and Building, applied constructionism to promote confidence in STEM topics in girls
The Asheville Museum of Science, in partnership with the Asheville area Peaks to Piedmont Girls Scouts council, designed and tested a series of two to three-hour Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) workshops for girls ages five to ten. The workshops were a response to the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA) releasing new badges, the first in a decade, that focused specifically on STEM skills. The workshops were held on Saturday mornings at the museum, most girls were accompanied by their mothers whom worked in collaboration with girls on projects. The curriculum for these workshops was based on three influences; the guidelines published for facilitators by the GSUSA, the tenants of meaningful making set forth by the Stanford Fablearn organization, and the historic under representation of females in STEM. Exit surveys were shared with the parents who accompanied their daughter during the workshop to assess any changes in their daughter’s confidence in the topic they studied during the workshops, either robotics or mechanical engineering.
STEAMConf, Barcelona Spain, April 2018
Redefining STEM Education for an Undefined Future
Inspired by the book, Creating Innovators by Tony Wagner and the tools and mindsets of the Maker Movement, this talk describes the journey begun in 2011 to redefine what education in a STEM classroom looks and feels like in a middle school setting. Listen to one scientist, turned educator's journey about designing curriculum for an uncertain future. Learn how this curriculum gave up the power of one for the sake of the whole, and how the use of real world problems can engage and empower youth to see themselves as "solutioneers" and the designers of their own future.
Reuse Remix Rethink: Exploring Mechanical Toys
In this hands-on workshop, participants will carefully dissect used mechanical toys and explore innovative ways learners of all ages can extend circuit and mechanism explorations using both analog materials and digital tools. This workshop will give participants ideas for how to use recycled materials in makerspaces and classrooms to support tinkering with science, art and creative coding. We’ll share practical tips on how to find and organize materials, share parts and tools lists and host a reflective discussion about how this type of workshop can contribute to a financially and environmentally sustainable making program.
The Science & Art of Tinkering
In this problem-based science workshop you will practice all of the skills of a scientist, tinkerer, and artist, while having fun and working through frustration. Imagine, test, build, iterate and laugh as you design a system to move a ball from point A to point B using as many forms of energy as possible. You will have 75 minutes to build your chain reaction before we set it off in a grand finale of surprising success or hilarious failure.