View Lessons by Subject > Science > Teachers' Knowledge, Preparation, & Passion
(Life Science): As explained in the questions above I am a very academically motivated girl. I excel in all classes but the class that motivated me to set such high standards was my seventh grade life science class taught by Ms. [teacher name]. It was not only the teacher that motivated me, but also it was the method of teaching she brought. This particular teacher would metaphorically dangle a star above our head and our job was to do our best to reach it. Every time we had Ms. Joel for third period (as we have a rotating schedule at my school) we would do lab. However, it was not the lab that produced a sense of motivation and interest in me, but it was what the labs taught us. A typical lab in Ms. Joel’s class had structure. The structure goes as follows: Introduction, hypothesis, materials list, procedure, except or reject your hypothesis, conclusion and questions. Ms. Joel gave us the guidelines and we received the responsibility of creating our own introduction, hypothesis, etc. Because we were able to have the responsibility to take learning into our own hands, I was able to create my own experiments, questions, and answers. I was able to discover information on my own and learn to answer my own questions. Along with learning new concepts I was able to learn the importance of critical thinking and individuality. Now in eighth grade I have moved beyond just the classroom and taken that self-reliance I learned last year into my own hands. I am an extremely ambitious girl with a dream to become a pediatric orthopedic surgeon specializing in engineering. This way I will be able to create my own healing techniques and rehabilitation apparatuses, to provide for my patients in need of medical attention. I hope to one day create a new method of healing, that will be faster and prevent further injuries. I will be a doctor with my own answers. This motivation was created by Ms. [teacher name]’s science class in seventh grade.
(Physics): I remember being nervous about taking Honors Physics my senior year as I had no idea what to expect. However, having Mr. [teacher’s name] as a teacher completely erased all my fears with his energetic lectures, crazy mnemonics, and prioritization of students fully understanding concepts (not just memorizing formulas). Here is one example of an event that particularly fascinated me with physics. My fellow students and I were learning about waves, and Mr. [teacher’s name] told us about a technique that a certain type of spider uses in order to survive: it will dig a relatively deep hole for itself, surround its opening with several rocks, and connect strands of webs from itself to each one of the rocks. When an ant or other sort of prey barely touches one of the rocks, the spider will sense the vibrations through the strand and will leap out of the hole with incredible speed to catch its prey-- and the spider knows exactly which rock the poor creature touched. Mr. [teacher’s name] then proceeded to show us this amazing type of behavior in a short video.

Mr. [teacher name]’s frequently connects physics to such interesting facts about the world, ranging from opera singers breaking wine glasses to small bees killing giant wasps through heat transfer. Such connections have not only kept me engaged in the class (in addition to having a more profound sense of appreciation of the existence of life) but also have allowed me to really grasp physical concepts.
Freshman year our class went on a field trip to Long Island Sound, for Project Oceanology. One of our chaperones had a tendency to be particularly enthusiastic about everything. This specific event though, she had a way of lifting our spirits even though it was freezing, we were in the middle of an estuary, and we were soaking wet. One of our on-deck labs was to look at the sea life we lifted up in a huge net. Not exactly the most thrilling lab. We didn’t find much that interested us, but her tone and attitude about everything made the experience much more enjoyable. Even the smallest things she made a huge deal out of. I remember we only really had snails and crabs in the net, but she would still yet out “Oh my! Cute little snails and crabs! What an excellent find!” and encouraged us to do further research on these little creatures, finding out whether they were male or female, so on and so forth. Her zest for learning with us, although she was a teacher, made every single one of her classes engaging and fun. She loved to learn along side of us, and that made our own learning experiences excellent.
(Computers): The subject that mostly motivates me is computer class. Computer class is very engaging because my teacher is a very good teacher when it comes down to computers. The last project we did was a podcast. The podcast was supposed to be about a famous artist, actor, etc., but the artist had to have made a contribution to the world, or the needy. When we were learning how to do a podcast my teacher was there the whole time and if someone needed help my teacher would help them as many times until that student got it right. That’s why computer class motivates me to do better in school.
(Biology): My teacher had been teaching at our school since my mom attended when she was in high school, yet she never lost the sparkle in her eye that she got from teaching. She always engaged us, even if we didn’t want to be. A specific time that describes her utter adoration for the subject is when we were doing a lab about plant cells. The class was looking at small samples of different plants through a microscope. My teacher was fascinated every time she looked at all the different plants. “Look how beautiful it is, can you believe how complex and intricate it is!” She beckoned us to be as fascinated with the wax cuticle of a mesophyte as much as she was. And with time, we did come to appreciate how interesting what we were studying really was. Her excitement made me want to be just as excited.
Ms. [teacher name] is particularly rewarding to have as a teacher because she is not scared to mention her opinion while giving the scientific facts in her argument. Many teachers will not discuss creationism or other controversial topics, especially since we attend a nondenominational school, but Ms. [teacher name] always shares her opinions, which ends up making the discussion or debate more diverse, and several different opinions are shared.
(Biology): In ninth grade Biology class, my teacher gave us activities with different pop culture references such as Harry Potter, Toy Story and Justin Bieber. It was funny, it kept us engaged, and really showed she cared as a teacher. It was still relevant to the subject, but it made biology more relatable and put it into an everyday situation. It was a helpful way to keep us motivated. Plus, at the end she put a video of a celebrity singing about biology. Bringing pop culture into class keeps it fun. Plus, it showed me that my teacher really wants to make an effort to connect with us. Now I feel like I can talk to her about anything, both in school and out of school reasons.
(Physics): I have never truly enjoyed any sort of the sciences. When I found out I had to take Physics as a freshman, I was kind of excited because I had heard the class is all mathematics. From the first day, my teacher has always been... enthusiastic about the subject as whole. In particularly, he enjoys the topic of waves. Waves are a hard concept to understand (of course, making it his favorite), so my class was having problems grasping the idea.

To make it clearer to everyone, my teacher started jumping around the room. He was actually bouncing off the walls. He kept moving his arms in a way similar to transverse waves. Afterward, he grabbed a slinky and began swirling it across the floor in the form of a longitudinal wave. Later, he set up a strobe light to show a piece of string resembling a standing wave. This entire time, he never stopped making funny analogies, giving us ways to remember what was going on, such as, “I love Physics, you know, like a love song!”

With this way of teaching, I actually managed to learn what was going on! By using his techniques of playfulness, my teacher managed to keep us all engaged, while still getting the point of the topic across. If there had been boys around, we would have gone off on a tangent similarly. Instead of circling back though, the boys would continue to make jokes, causing the class to stray farther and farther away from the main topic. As a result of the all-girls environment, teachers are able to be more playful during classes while we still cover the same amount of information.