All grade levels
Science at Howard Gardner School is an inquiry process. Students wonder why, observe, explore and experiment both in the classroom and in the outdoor classroom of Mountain Lake and Robinson Park in our neighborhood or Nay Aug Park. They may also take field trips related to their topic of study. Classes are held in the “Science Cottage” which is located at the north end of the main building. Just to the west of the cottage is an area destined to become a vegetable and flower garden.
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 on 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 will study trees, leaves, wood and paper, and fabric each year.
Balance & Motion – Insects
Physics of Sound – Human Body
Levers & Pulleys – Mixtures & Solutions
Human Brain & Senses – Weather & Water
Solids & Liquids – Pebbles, Sand, & Silt
Ideas & Inventions – Magnetism & Electricity
Variables – Food & Nutrition
Landforms – Electronics
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 for the primary class, wildflowers for the upper class or an avocado plant demonstrating phototropism for the intermediate class.
Environment and Ecology concepts are investigated by students during the fall and spring exploration of outdoor habitats. In addition students of the upper and senior classes do more observation of wetlands at Mountain Lake and Roaring Brook. We take only pictures and leave only footprints. (We do pick up garbage and collect data)
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, writing song lyrics to remember concepts and a keeping 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.