A new school year!
New opportunities for growth and improvement!
I am extremely blessed to have a career that is so professionally and personally fulfilling! Every day, I get to do two of my favorite things on a daily basis: teach science and coach football! How awesome is that?!?!?!?!
While the first day of a new school year represents excitement and hope for most teachers, the first days of school are often met with just the opposite reaction from students. Especially those dreading a particular subject.
1. Science is problem solving!
More so than any other fact, I try to impart to my students that the process of science is the process of problem solving. Whether they have desires to be scientists, doctors, or something completely unrelated to science, the process of science will teach them to make good sound evidence-based decisions.
I often cite my work as a football coach as an example of the process of science being used in situations unrelated to the core content. Every week starts with the same question: What do we need to do to win the next game? After some observations (film study of ourselves and opponents), a more focused, testable question is generated: How do we limit #7 in the pass game? What strategies can we use to hold the opponent's rushing attack to under 100 yards? Based on the previous week's film, how do we get our running back more involved in the pass game? During the course of a week, I perform numerous forms of data gathering and experimentation (all aspects of practice: team film study, individual drills, team time, 1 on 1 competition...) This data is analyzed and reflected upon at coaches staff meetings throughout the week with new questions arising as a result of our work. This new data is added to the old data until we finalize the game plan and form conclusions about how we will perform. Those conclusions are put to the test each week during the game, which generates new observations, data, and questions.
This is science; a cyclical, non-linear process of observation, research, testing, discovery, and innovation! The examples of the scientific process applying to daily life are limitless: choosing the right school, investing in stocks, buying the right house...The list goes on and on! When viewed through the lens of being a process used effectively by the most successful people, students see the real life benefits of science for everyone!
Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to hear Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson speak. What an incredible experience! One of many things that stood out to me was when Dr. Tyson showed this photograph, entitled "Earthrise."
These are just a few of the ways that I try to make science real and relevant for my students. I haven't even touched on the notion that scientific discovery and innovation fuel creativity! Truthfully, now that I think about it, the converse is true as well, "Creativity fuels scientific discovery and innovation!"