Archive for the ‘Science’ Subject

Educators That Rock!: Stephanie Chasteen

Wednesday, March 17th, 2010

Stephanie Chasteen.

Dr. Stephanie Chasteen, who blogs at sciencegeekgirl, is a physicist, a writer, an education consultant and an audiophile who climbs mountains in her spare time.

While earning her doctorate in physics from the University of California, Santa Cruz, Chasteen got restless. She realized that though she loved science, research wasn’t her bag; she wanted to communicate science to the public. She began taking journalism classes and freelancing while continuing her physics courses and research. After being selected for a prestigious science communication fellowship through the AAAS, she was placed at NPR’s science desk in Washington, D.C., as an intern.

Upon graduation, Chasteen landed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Exploratorium museum in San Francisco, where she helped teach science to K-12 teachers, and created science podcasts on teaching tips for K-12 teachers. Chasteen now works at the University of Colorado at Boulder, studying how people learn physics.

In an interview with findingEducation, Chasteen likened her career path to that of heat-seeking bacteria: “I looked for what seemed interesting and intellectually ‘warm’ and moved in that direction and then reassessed.”

fE: When did you first become interested in science?

SC: Back in middle school. I remember, ironically enough in home economics class, hearing a physicist described as “somebody who learned how the world works” and I thought that sounded pretty cool. So I thought, “Oh. Maybe that’s what I’ll do.” I also came from an academic family so it wasn’t that big of a leap for me to consider going into science.


Related Link Resources
The National Science Digital Library
Exploratorium: Teacher Institute: Podcasts: Teacher Institute Science Teaching Tips
Exploratorium: Teacher Institute: SmallTalk podcasts
University of Colorado

Educators That Rock!: Patrick Sweeney

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Patrick Sweeney with a model home and blueprints created by his fifth-grade students.

This week findingEducation sat down with Patrick Sweeney, a fifth-grade teacher at Boones Ferry Primary School in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District of Oregon. Sweeney teaches all subjects in his mixed-level, self-contained classroom. How does he keep 27 students with different ability levels engaged and excited about learning while covering the necessary curriculum?

Sweeney is a big proponent of project-based learning and teaming, both within and across grade levels. By bringing interests he’s passionate about into the classroom, and combining them with project-based learning principles, he’s come up with some pretty creative ways to get kids excited about coming to school every day.

fE: What exactly is project-based learning?

PS: Project-based learning is using open-ended projects, usually based off of research, as a model for teaching. You can also define it by what it isn’t. It isn’t where subjects are broken up into sections: Math is taught is in a math class or math block, and literacy is taught separately and technology is taught separately. Project-based learning takes all subjects and integrates them. You’re interconnecting them so that everything seems to have a sense of purpose.


Related Link Resources
Boones Ferry Primary School
Kids with Cameras
Green Dollhouse Project
Green Tech Architecture

Educators That Rock!: Blake Harrison

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

Blake Harrison, left, and Alex Rappaport of Flocabulary.

This week findingEducation caught up with Blake Harrison, a.k.a. Emcee Escher, rapper, educator and creative director of Flocabulary, to hear how he and Alex Rappaport, cofounder and executive producer, are bringing their energy and passion for hip-hop to the classroom.

By weaving words into rhymes with infectious beats, Harrison and Rappaport knew they could engage students and ultimately teach them something. Their first CD, released in 2004, put vocabulary words in context, helping prepare students for the SATs. Since then, they’ve developed programs for teaching world and U.S. history, math, science and even Shakespeare. They’ve taken their music on tour, held teaching workshops and created a current events series called The Week in Rap, now being broadcast on Channel One, a national TV news network for teens.

fE: When did you get the idea for Flocabulary?

BH: In high school, I had one teacher in particular who used to say “’Sesame Street’ has spoiled you guys. You guys don’t know how to learn. You think education has to be fun, but it doesn’t. It shouldn’t be.” And I couldn’t disagree with him more. I just thought he was being lazy.

Education can be fun and we make it really fun for youngsters. But right around middle school and high school, there isn’t as much emphasis on that. And I just didn’t think that was necessary. I thought you could teach really serious academic content, get people where thy have to be in terms of the standards in achievement, while also doing something that’s really engaging.


Related Link Resources
The Week in Rap
The Huffington Post
The New York Times
ill Doctrine