by Phi Le
The goal of the SHC Science Department is to inspire and produce the next generation of scientists, and to foster and cultivate scientific literacy. We want to empower our graduates to make informed decisions about issues like global warming, natural resource management, and food production that are ever so technical in nature.
There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that has to be done to allow us to do things like transition to a physics-first model, implement an Inquiry & Innovation (I2) Program, and realign our curriculum to the new national Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). In order to stay current with the latest trends and techniques in science education and to network with the nation’s best and brightest science teachers and educational leaders, we sent four teachers to the National Science Teachers Association Conference in Chicago, Illinois.
Along with other SHC Instructors of Science Mark Pagano, Kirstin Weihl and Liam Carey, I attended sessions about topics ranging from phenoma-based learning, teaching with models and simulations, the power of play and standards-based grading. We heard exceptional talks from speakers like Neil Shubin who discovered a fossil that helped explain life’s transition from water to land, and Bill Nye who has been a public advocate for science and science education for decades.
As instructors, we met daily to debrief and discuss how they could incorporate what the learned and listened to into the SHC vision, and we left the conference excited and invigorated and ready to push the school’s science program to the next level.