Middle School Science Teacher
Know Your Pelicans
What do you teach? What is one of your favorite parts of the curriculum?
I teach 7th and 8th grade science. One of my favorite parts of the curriculum is teaching density. Through a series of experiments, students discover the misconceptions that they have developed about density. Later, students construct their own definitions of density in terms of mathematics and particle chemistry. It is exciting to guide students through this process and then to have them connect their understanding to real world scenarios. There are connections all around us: Why did the Titanic sink? What causes ocean currents? How does a hot air balloon work? What adaptations do animals have that increase their buoyancy?
Tell us about a time you found your job especially rewarding.
The Middle School Science Fair is the most rewarding part of my job. Although it is challenging to manage 24 completely different projects at the same time, it is a truly authentic and meaningful experience for the students. They can discover and follow a passion in science and take their learning as deep as they are willing to go. When choosing topics, I have students think of global problems and then narrow their scope to a middle school level. In doing so, my hope is to inspire students to see how they can change the world through science. As an added bonus, I get to learn interesting new science every year depending on what my students decide to pursue.
Besides your subject, what’s something you hope to teach your students?
I am passionate about environmental sustainability. I want students to recognize that the choices we make today in terms of our environment can be complex and have far-reaching consequences. Living sustainably means that we must balance economics, environmental stewardship, and social equity.
What is your favorite space on campus and why?
The Garden is my favorite space on campus. Not only is it beautiful, but it is a place where we come together as a community to play and enjoy the company of one another.