Fort Worth, Texas, United States
I think of myself as more than a science educator. When I make a connection from my curriculum to the everyday world, I have instilled an opportunity for that connection to reappear throughout their lifetime. I hope I weave opportunities for my students to take on the role as a researcher who develops their own well-defined questions, discovers the answer, and analyzes their result. As we question our way through the kingdoms, from eubacteria to mammalia, the students journal in their observation log about characteristics that classify each living organism into that phylum and class. We hypothesize and debate the adaptations and modifications that the organism exhibits. What are the adaptations in behavior, physiology, energy, and reproduction that have enabled this organism to survive? It is a glorious process to watch them stand in front of other students and explain an observation that stems from higher level thinking instead of reciting a string of memorized facts. They observe the motion, gathering of food, survival, internal/external anatomy or set up a week long experiment that shows reaction to stimuli. My labs have been designed with lab procedure sheets where the student can implement a variety of tools including microscopes, preparing their own slides, triple beams, timers, metric tape measures, beakers, cylinders, petris, etc. The students’ recording sheet is in the format of the scientific process including a testable hypothesis and an organized investigation.
I feel that my students are more successful in mastering life science in a rich, problem solving manner. In addition to a challenging curriculum in class, my students complete a yearlong conservation project over the Monarch butterfly migration. This project has grown over the years and now supports many programs which allow my students to mentor in conservation science, citizen science, public awareness and leaders in the community. Our facebook page has over 1,000 followers throughout the nation that follow the migration of the Monarch through the children. In science, you need to know the world in order to change it; so I tell my students to embrace knowledge, question and ask yourself how you can problem solve to make improvements.The hidden discovery I want my students to ascertain is noticing patterns. Whether it is the mushroom or the squid, both have the same survival patterns to still be in existence today; I see this breakthrough in their faces and it is grand!