Science STARS Debut Film Aimed at Educating Others on Healthy Food Choices

Science STARS students and teachers

When it comes down to food nutrition, options and choices, some local teens have a lot to say about what we consume daily.
As part of a several month exploration of science in the urban community, 12 girls from East High School devoted their afterschool time this school year to investigating food, where it comes from, and the choices people make about eating. And, they are now eager to share their findings with the community in an attempt to help others make smarter decisions about food.  
To support their efforts, Get Real! Science, the science teacher preparation program at the Warner School of Education, hosted a red carpet event at the Cinema Theater in April to debut the science documentary film “Our Life. Our Meat. Our Story.” that was created by the East High girls to advocate for better food options and choices in their own community.
During the school year, the girls, also known as “Science STARS,” met weekly in the fall and then twice a week in the spring, plus took part in two full intensive weeks of activities and field trips in the community, as part of the Science STARS (Students Tackling Authentic & Relevant Science) afterschool club for seventh through twelfth graders at East High. Warner master’s students, who are studying to become science teachers, and doctoral students help lead the program.
The first half of the year was spent developing and conducting in-depth scientific investigations around food. As an extension of this work, the girls then focused solely on meat the second half of the year while also honing their literacy skills as they also worked alongside professional filmmakers and University of Rochester undergraduate science majors to create their 25-minute documentary that aired on Red Carpet Premiere Day for the community.
A story about people’s relationship with meat, the film highlights the importance of meat, the choices people have and don’t have about the meat they eat, and the impact these choices—or lack of choices—have on our bodies and the world. Throughout the film, the girls are shown interviewing food and nutrition professionals and experts in the Rochester community. These interviews helped students to wrestle with important questions about fairness, money, and family, as well as questions about being human and being wise. The film then wraps up with students summarizing their critiques and advocacy for better, healthy, and more-informed food choices. 
On Red Carpet Premiere Day, one Mom, Giovani Taylor, spoke proudly about the way she supports her daughter’s new eating habits today. Four months ago, her daughter, Shylynn Taylor, one of the Science STARS, ate meat. After learning more about where meat comes from and how it’s treated, she made the decision to become a vegetarian. “I feel healthier now,” said Shylynn during the red carpet event.
Her mother added, “It’s difficult because our whole household—we were raised on meat, so I had to go out and buy veggie burgers for her, just because I had to respect the decision she made with not wanting to eat meat.  I always do meat.  I love everything—every type of meat, but I had to accommodate what she decided."

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Media Contact: Theresa Danylak
(585) 275-0777; (585) 278-6273 (cell)

Tags: April Luehmann, Get Real! Science, girls and science, science, science education, Science STARS