All grade levels
Science at Howard Gardner MI Charter School is an inquiry process. Students observe, explore, and experiment both in the classroom and in the outdoor classroom of Nay Aug Park, the riparian areas of Leggett’s Creek and the Lackawanna River, and our neighborhood. They may also take field trips related to their topic of study.
The base of classroom study is the FOSS Kits (Full Option Science System) which were designed by University of California at Berkley. This program is a collection of activities aligned with the national science standards and covers topics in Life, Earth, and Physical Science. Students collaborate in small groups via hands-on experiments, recording data, creating graphs, and reflecting on their results. They have the opportunity to apply skills of measurement and the scientific method. There are supplementary reading texts used after the activities as well as math connection problems.
Since our classes are multi-aged grouped the curriculum alternates years with the exception of Kindergarten, which studies trees, leaves, and fabric each year.
Solids & Liquids – Pebbles, Sand, & Silt
Ideas & Inventions – Magnetism & Electricity
Variables – Food & Nutrition
Landforms – Electronics
Balance & Motion – Insects
Physics of Sound – Human Body
Levers & Pulleys – Mixtures & Solutions
Human Brain & Senses – Weather & Water
Students in all classes are invited to suggest experiments to try in the class or to share results of investigations they do at home. At various times there may be mung beans sprouting in the Primary class, wildflowers in the Upper class or an avocado plant demonstrating phototropism in the Intermediate class.
Environment and Ecology concepts are experienced by students in grades 3-8 during the fall and spring exploration of the habitats at Nay Aug Park. In addition students of the Upper class investigate watershed topics at the Lackawanna River and students of the Senior class at Leggett’s Creek.
Personal interests of students in the upper class are developed through assignments such as current events in science and science careers presentations. They are encouraged to express themselves through nature sketching journals, writing song lyrics to remember concepts, and a moon journal.
Members of the Senior class have research assignments such as creating an advertisement for an element to learn about the periodic table. Students read the Science World magazine for current information on science and technology. They will have an end of the year project depending on the odd or even year, either designing, implementing, and presenting an experiment demonstrating the scientific method or creating a personal reflection presentation of their relationship with the natural world.
I earned a Bachelor of Arts from Kutztown University and Elementary Education Certification from Marywood University. I have also continued to take classes in environmental education such as: Project Wild, PA Songbirds, Project Learning Tree, River of Words, PA Land Choices, Forest Stewardship, Project Wet & Wow, Healthy Water, Healthy People and Watershed Education.
My first teaching position was in Quito , Ecuador in 1987 where I taught first grade English and science. I returned to Scranton in 1990 and taught in the Upper Class of the Montessori School which became the University of Scranton Campus School which became the Howard Gardner School for Discovery. I served as interim Director of the Campus School for one year in 2001 and became the dedicated science specialist in 2003. I also serve as the Student Council support teacher.
During summers I I have taught for Carnegie Mellon C-MITES program for gifted students and the HGSD SCAMPS program.
I live in rural Dalton near the Lackawanna State Park and the Zeigler Preserve of the Countryside Conservancy where I enjoy hiking and kayaking.
I believe it is important to model what I teach and teach what I believe to be true so I volunteer with local environmental groups to test the water quality of streams in our community and participate in cleanups.