Take a gorgeous 75 degree California day, a group of rambunctious middle school students coming inside from lunch, and get them to focus on how the sun can be transformed into renewable energy.
No problem for Angela Duke who teaches 6th and 7th graders about the environment and where they fit into the protection of it.
Nestled in one of the most remote areas of West Virginia known as the Birthplace of West Virginia, you’ll find an incredible teacher who opens up the world to her AP Biology high school students.
"Despite being the second largest county in West Virginia, we have one of the smallest populations. Most of the county is comprised of state and national forest; It’s a biologist's dream. I moved here in 1990 and have never left.”
Kathy White, has been transcending socio economic barriers for 27 years at Pocahontas H.S. Find out more about how she inspires students to pursue a lifetime love of science and sense of environmental protection.
Every time we go to the National Conference for the National Science Teachers Association we become inspired and stoked about our work. It’s the one-on-one conversations we have with science teachers that brings us the greatest satisfaction.
One such conversation was with Barbara Shannon. Currently, Barbara is the Director of STEM Education for Synergy Academics whose mission is to create solutions that eliminate the achievement gap. But, before that, Barbara spent many years teaching science to kids in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD).
Where a Healthy Respect for Science is Cultivated
“Good afternoon,” greets each student as Ms. Putney individually welcomes students into her 7th grade science class at El Sausal Middle School in Salinas, California. Once students are seated, Robin stands before her classroom and is greeted with an equally respectful, “Good Afternoon, Ms. Putney…”
When Mark Friedman walked up to our booth at the recent CSTA annual conference in October and shared that he’d been using Shape of Life classroom resources for 13 years, we had no idea the degree of great work he had accomplished using our resources.
You see, Mark doesn’t just teach science– he creates a world where his personal dedication to social justice and equality is applied to the success of inner-city high school students in one of the nation's most challenged regions of LA. Kids who wouldn’t ordinarily be exposed to the wonders of marine biology have a whole world opened to them because of Mark’s belief in the power of education. And, the fact that Shape of Life plays any role in this endeavor is beyond rewarding to us.
How Shape of Life Helps H.S. Teacher, Greg McBride, Engage Multiple Kinds of Intelligence
When you walk into Greg’s classroom, you feel like you’re walking into a science exploratorium that makes you want to learn about everything, all at once. There is a diverse mixture of all kinds of media that captures and holds the squirreliest of monkey-minds.
When Greg McBride starts off the school year, he requests that each student take an online test that doesn’t measure a students’ intelligence—but, how they are intelligent. “Kids learn at all different levels. When they take this test, they don’t discover ‘if’ they’re smart—they discover how they’re smart!”, said McBride. “Shape of Life’s online resources engage kids on multiple levels with writing, reading, listening, drawing and also by viewing never-before-filmed feeding and habitats of animals. Shape of Life offers students lots of ways for their brains to latch onto pretty nerdy concepts.”
Dr. Karah Nazor teaches Marine Biology to junior and seniors boys at McCallie High School. Her classroom doubles as a jellyfish research lab and she and her students raise moon jellyfish and upside down jellyfish in the classroom in a collaborative project with the Tennessee Aquarium. Her student's most recent research interests are to understand the response of the upside down jellyfish's symbiotic algae, zooxanthallae, to heat stress and ocean acidification. She and her students are currently building a new culturing system for Mnemiopsis leidyi or sea walnuts and are going to work on reproducing a spawning protocol from Dr. Browne's lab at UM.
"Did you hear that crashing noise? That was us, Shape of Life and I, breaking down those classroom walls and getting students connected to the world around them!"
I learned about the Shape of Life this year as I’ve been dabbling in the use of social media to tear down the classroom walls and connect parents and students past and present with each other and with professionals in our field. Something came across our class Twitter feed featuring a Shape of Life video clip that was a tremendous help with my unit on Echinoderms for the 11th graders...
My name is Deanna McBeath and I've been teaching middle school for ten awesome years! Right now I teach 5th and 6th grade science at the Bernard Zell Anshe Emet Day School in Chicago, IL. I fell in love with science while growing up in Kentucky and Costa Rica, both of which have absolutely stunning natural environments to explore, from Mammoth Cave – the largest underground cave system in the world – to the many volcanoes and rainforests and precolumbian archaeological sites in Central America. Was I a lucky kid, or what? I love all kinds of science, but I get especially fired up when teaching about biodiversity, evolution, and earth science, and my favorite part is getting kids all fired up, too!
I just learned about Shape of Life this year at the NSTA conference, and I was so excited to try it out. I knew it would fit perfectly into the unit I was about to start with my 5th grade students about evolution and biodiversity...