Hands-on, inquiry-based learning is at the core of Alicia Clark's and Nicole Overton's approach to co-teaching science at Gillen Brewer. "Science is meant to be seen and not heard," explains Nicole, as students learn concepts when they can be applied in a concrete manor. They share the belief that science education is critical, and exposing students when they are young creates a spark that will ignite a lifelong interest in the subject. Science involves learning about the world around us through observations and experiments, and can be a starting point for problem solving, critical thinking, and asking questions, preparing students for a world where STEM and STEAM education and careers are increasingly widespread.
This year's theme, From Here to There, lends itself to scientific exploration and can be responsive to students' interests. For example, Carly's class is doing a water unit, and during science lessons they have learned about water transportation by reading a book about boats, building boats with connecting blocks in the water, and putting lego people in the boats to get them from here to there. Other science projects this summer include the study of the Scientific Method in Hannah's and Linda's classes, where students will conduct experiments and go through each step; making observations and asking questions along the way. In Emmy's class, students keep interactive science journals that they are responsible for in the classroom, and in Michelle's, students are studying habitats. In Alex's class, the interdisciplinary study of the human body connects science with social studies. To reinforce science education at home, Alicia and Nicole suggest that families encourage students to ask questions, prompt them to talk about science topics, and use everyday supplies to do open-ended science projects at home.
After teaching preschool, kindergarten, and in Emmy's classroom last year, Alicia moved into this role to see the progression as her students move through the program, and was excited at the opportunity to work with students of all ages. For the first two and a half years of her college experience, Nicole was a pre-med student, and her strong science background prepared her for the welcome challenge of making science accessible to all types of learners. Together, Alicia and Nicole will co-teach every class and every student, bringing developmentally-appropriate science instruction to Gillen Brewer in a consistent way.
Alicia holds a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Education from Ohio State University, and Nicole holds a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology and Theology from The University of Notre Dame, and a Dual Master of Education from Long Island University in Special Education and General Education.