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Why I Teach

Having very few good teachers growing up, I wasn’t inspired by any one teacher.  Sure, I had some teachers that took the time to connect with me.  My sixth grade Language Arts teacher inspired me to read while my English teacher in high school inspired me to write.  My college English professor encouraged me to pursue my writing further, which I did.  My wanting to become a teacher came in working with a student.  My ability to connect with younger students is what drove me towards the teaching profession.  I found something I was good at and went with it.  Today teaching isn’t my job, it’s my life, my passion.  I teach because I love making students smile when they overcome adversity and understand a new concept or skill.  I teach for the students, our future.

On the last day of formal classes, I tend to get a bit sentimental.  Another year done, another group of sixth graders moving on.  While some challenged me to be more patient than I’ve ever been, I will miss them all dearly.  It was a great year in the classroom filled with memorable moments.  Our amazing field trips and other fun endeavors helped keep things interesting throughout the past nine months. 

However, a big highlight for me was my Science curriculum this year.  The major changes I made to the class and the individualization of the curriculum helped make this year’s sixth grade science offering the best it has ever been.  The students were challenged and supported while also inspired to think beyond themselves.  In reflecting on the year, most of the students cited Science class as one of their favorites due to the teaching methods.  The students liked that it was very independent and individualized.  Because I crafted each Unit based on Bloom’s Taxonomy of teaching, I was able to provide the students with different and unique learning opportunities as they demonstrated their ability to meet the various Learning Targets throughout each Unit.  Thanks to the expertise of a mentor teacher, Steve Harris, who utilized a very similar flipped-esque model in the classroom and explained his pedagogy to me last year, I was able to grow as an educator this year and inspire my students to do something about the problems facing our world.

While this year seemed to fly by, it didn’t really feel like it was close to being over until today.  As each period ended, the students came to me with their “Thanks for teaching me this year, Mr. Holt” and “I’m going to miss sixth grade.”  That’s when it dawned on me.  It’s over.  While we have some fun activities planned for the students next week, formal classes and instruction are done.  It’s over.  Wow.  As the students shared their final thoughts with us today, I realized, that each and every one of my sixth graders grew so much as individuals and learners this year.  They challenged themselves, they questioned the world around them, and they shook things up a bit.  The world is in their hands and I feel pretty good about this group of young men taking over the reigns in a few years.  They’re ready.  

I teach because someone needs to help prepare for the future.  If I don’t do my part to help our future generations realize the gravity of what lies ahead, then I will have no one to blame but myself when the world ends in 50 years or so.  I teach for them.

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What Does Real Teaching Look Like?

My first few year as a teacher was quite rough.  First off, I had to teach Spanish, a language which I certainly wasn’t fluent in and had only taken two years of in college.  I was usually one or two days ahead of the students in terms of the content.  It wasn’t pretty.  Second, I was away from my now wife.  She lived in Portland, ME at the time.  Third, I worked at a boarding school where it wasn’t just about teaching.  My days were full and rich to say the least.  I barely kept my head above water that year.  The next few years were a bit easier, but I was still new at it all.  I din’t quite understand my role as a teacher.  I thought I was supposed to be the control machine that ran the show.  So, I ran a tight ship for a few years.  I was definitely a disciplinarian.  As time went on and I started to learn a bit more and gain confidence in my craft, I started to re-imagine my role as teacher.  Being a great teacher means letting the students run the show.  A class should be student-centered and not teacher directed.  It took me a while to get there, but I eventually figured it out.

Today was one of those highlights of why good teaching is run by the students and not the teacher.  In my Humanities class, the students finished working on the I-Search Process we began in early April.  The boys crafted a paragraph summarizing their findings.  After a class discussion on summarizing and how it is done effectively in writing, the students spent the remainder of our 80 minutes together finishing the I-Search Process.  While some of the students gathered more research, most of the boys summarized their findings and reflected on the entire research process.  The boys asked each other questions, shared ideas, and worked diligently.  They were focused and on task for the majority of the time.  This individualized work time allowed me the opportunity to meet with each student and discuss what they have learned about their topic and what they still need to add to their I-Search Document.  I had a great chat with one student about George Washington’s impact on our country.  He said, “Washington was a good leader that the country needed at that time.”  Wow!  He got it.  It was awesome to watch the students think, solve problems, dig deep into their research, and synthesize information.  They are so ready for seventh grade.

Then in my Science class, the students continued working on their Final Project.  They asked each other questions regarding the identification of trees in our ecosystem, worked independently on coding a computer game that teaches users about ecology, and researched life science.  The students were engaged and on task throughout the period.  They worked well and learned a lot because they were doing what they wanted to do.  They chose their topics and projects.  They were in charge.

Great teaching is putting the students at the helm.  When they choose the topics, they see the relevance in what they are learning and thus want to challenge themselves.  Real teaching isn’t about lecturing the students or standing in front of them for 40 minutes.  Great teaching is about the students and getting them to think critically, work together, and do school.  

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Is it Motivation or Grit?

Somethings in life are not fun to do but need to be done.  I don’t enjoy folding laundry and putting it away, but I do it because I have to for my family.  Sometimes I don’t always have the time to do it, but I find a way to make it happen.  I’m not motivated to do the laundry; I have the grit needed to know what needs to be done despite the obstacles.  Being gritty is a necessary skill to do well in life.  I have the grit and determination needed to do what needs to be done no matter what.

My students often struggle with this skill.  While some of my students can be motivated to accomplish work or do what is being asked of them, a few of my students are gritty enough to do what is needed all the time no matter the circumstances.  Some students don’t need an incentive, they learn for the sake of learning.  While grit is a skill we attempt to teach the students in everything that we do in the classroom, not everybody can be gritty.  Some people need a reason or a purpose to complete a task.  Those individuals may not get as far in life or be as successful as those gritty individuals who work for the sake of working.

Today in my Humanities class, the boys worked on revising and editing their self-selected Canaan writing piece.  While a few students worked diligently because that’s what they do all the time as gritty students, a few students were motivated by the fact that the final piece is going to be graded.  They asked questions like, “What do you want me to do, exactly?” or “How can I get a 4/4 on this assignment?”  They weren’t focused on revising their writing to grow as writers.  They were concerned about the grade involved.  If there was no grade involved, would they had worked so well?  I wonder.  Those gritty students revised, reworked, and edited their writing piece with vigor and zeal.  They peer edited and asked open ended questions like, “Does this new ending work?” or “Does it make sense?”  They were concerned with crafting their best work so that they could become the best writers possible.  

Is there anything I could do to help teach those students that need a reason to work to be self-motivated or become gritty?  We explain the purpose of everything we do in the classroom: To prepare you for your future.  We often discuss the importance of growing as a student and learner in class.  What else could we be doing?  Perhaps I could try talking about grit and the value of being a gritty student.  Maybe introducing the idea to them by showing them a TedTalk on grit and its importance in today’s world might help them to become self-starters.  Maybe it won’t.  Some students might also develop differently.  Some of my students are gritty now while others may become gritty later in life, and then some of my students just won’t ever become gritty.  It’s life.  Differences make the world go ’round.  Perhaps I will try discussing the idea of grit in the classroom with the students so that they understand what good work and effort should look like.  Being gritty will help my students become amazing global citizens.

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The Power of Science

As a student, Science was never my strong suit.  I was okay at it, but it didn’t really hook me.  Life Science seemed gross and Physical Science Involved a lot of math.  Earth Science seemed interesting, but was never presented to me in a cool manner.  I did fine in school in my various Science classes but was never really excited about Science.  I wonder if I’d have felt differently had I taken an interactive and engaging Science class taught by someone really excited about Science.  Perhaps.

Being able to teach science helped spark my passion for the subject.  I started digging into the various branches of science, learning about each thoroughly.  It was so much fun.  I was doing science as I learned about it.

Science is an amazing and thoroughly engaging topic.  The idea that all life is made of star dust blows my mind.  Evolution and the rock cycle are amazing concepts to study.  We as humans evolved from single celled organisms.  How did that happen?  How could it be possible?  When I hold a rock in my hand, I get shivers thinking about how it came to be.  Rocks are millions of years old and formed from magma inside Earth.  How crazy is that?  Science is a powerful subject.

My students are in the process of working on the Final Project for the class.  The students chose one of four projects to complete.  I based the project ideas on Bloom’s Taxonomy of Learning Domains.  One project involves creating a citizen science website regarding the trees in our ecosystem.  Another project involves creating and conducting a self-created science investigation regarding ecology.  One project involves researching a self-created inquiry question and crafting a report.  Another project, the most difficult of the four, involves creating a unique, playable computer game or application using an online coding program.  Each project attracted a different type of student and learner.  I wanted to be able to hook all of my students with this final unit.  While the students work at their own pace on the project, it is due for everyone by Monday, May 26.  During class, the students work on their projects independently, asking each other questions occasionally.  While some of the students are outside capturing photographs of trees on campus, others are conducting investigations, researching, or laying out their website.  Everyone is engaged and most of the students are working together to help their peers succeed and meet the two graded learning targets.

Today in Science class, the students continued working on this Final Project unit.  The students got right to work.  Three students went outside to identify trees.  Several students worked on their tree website while one student worked on his investigation using a microscope.  This one student is comparing the type of life living in various water types.  He used ocean water, lake water, and tap water as his specimens.  He created slides for each sample and then examined them under a microscope in class today.  He was so intrigued by what he found that he was sharing his findings with his peers.  The students were shocked by how much life is living in the water we drink.  It was crazy.  A few students worked together to identify tree samples.  Everyone was doing and talking science.  It was great.  The boys were using the scientific terminology covered in the past few months.  They were sharing ideas and talking about life.  It was awesome.  They didn’t want to leave class when it ended.  They said, “Can we skip lunch and do more science?”  When students are saying that, you know you have won.  Science is powerful stuff.

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How Did that Happen?

When I was in the fifth grade, I was in need of some attention from my parents.  Having a younger sister, my parents hardly paid attention to me at that point in my life.  So, I pretended that my wrist hurt.  While it did hurt a tiny bit, it certainly didn’t require any attention from my parents.  Or so I thought.  It turned out that I had actually fractured my wrist without even knowing it.  While I had on a whim, complained to my parents in hopes of them ohhhing and ahhhhing over me, there was indeed a problem.  I had no idea how it had happened.  How had I broken my wrist?  To this day, I still am fuzzy on what caused my wrist to break.  In fact, I even make up stories about what happened because I don’t really know.  Crazy.

Something similar happened in my Humanities class this morning.  Although my co-teacher was not in today as she was graduating with a Master’s Degree, the day was quite routine.  I began class with a read aloud and a normal Saturday discussion of things that had happened on this day in history.  It wasn’t a fruitful conversation, but we talked about segregation and the likes.  Then I got into the meat of the class: Object Poetry.  I conducted a mini-lesson on Object Poetry so that the students would know how to craft a poem based on an object they had seen in the Canaan Town Museum we visited last Thursday.  I read a sample piece that a student from last year had written.  It was pretty sweet.  We also reviewed the characteristics of poetry to remind the students of this genre of writing.  Nothing new was discussed.  It was a normal lesson up to this point.  The boys had a large chunk of time in which to craft their Object Poem.  So, they wrote and wrote some more.  They created brilliant pieces.  I was impressed.  However, the students that had generated nice poems are the same students that challenge themselves daily.  They get it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love it when that happens, but it wasn’t out of the ordinary.

Then the craziness began.  One student in my class struggled throughout the Poetry Unit we had completed several weeks ago.  While he crafted some silly nonsensical poems in the style of Lewis Carroll’s Jabberwocky, his free verse poems were short, simplistic, and had no deeper meaning.  He did not care to revise his work and never grew as a poet because of it.  He seemed to not enjoy writing poetry nor did he employ the techniques discussed in class.  Poetry was not his forte, at that point in time.  Today though, something happened.  I still don’t know what it was, but something switched inside of him as he crafted his Object Poem.  He wrote one of the most beautiful and sad poems I’ve ever read.  It was brilliant and breathtaking.  He based his piece on the musket hanging on the wall in the Museum.  It wasn’t talked about while we were in the Museum, but he had noticed it.  From that object, he generated a poem that told the melancholic story of its user who had battled more than just people when at war.  The aftermath of fighting for this person, was great and scarred him deeply.  He was sad and depressed.  This student’s piece captured the emotion and atmosphere of the story.  It flowed like a meandering river headed towards a most serene lake.  I was amazed and shocked.  How did he do it?  Was it the musket?  Was it just that moving to him that he was inspired to write this amazing piece?  Was it something I had said?  Was it the review of poetry that made everything we had discussed throughout our unit just suddenly click within him?  Was it just his day to write a poem?  Or was it something else.  This student carries around much emotional baggage and suffered a great loss in the not so distant past.  He lost a family member in a most terrible manner.  Was this poem crafted from that tragedy?  Did he just find a way to release his emotions?  I was so amazed, as was the student.  He seemed very surprised that he was able to craft such a brilliant poem.  He even said, ” I don’t know what happened.  I just kind of started writing and this came out.”  How?  How can I help this student bottle this experience and use it every time he writes or crafts a poem?

I certainly can’t take credit for this strange yet phenomenal event that happened in my classroom today.  However, I sure wish I knew how it happened so that I could tap into this student’s creative juices again.  He’s not the most brilliant or creative writer, but today something sparked his creativity.  What happened?  With only one week of classes left before the end of the academic year at my school, I may not be able to solve this mystery, but I do believe that this student has unlocked something special within himself.

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Is the Answer in the Question?

As a young child, I pestered my family and teachers with numerous questions.  Why is the sky blue?  Why do I have to go to bed now?  Why is gramma’s arm skin so flappy?  Where do babies come from?  I was so curious about the world around me.  Much of what I learned growing up came from asking questions.  Real learning comes from our answering questions and solving the problems within.

Today in Science class, as my students continued working on their Final Project, I meandered through the room watching my students.  How are my students working?  Are they being productive?  Are they following the instructions?  Are they focused?  Are they using reputable resources?  Do they need help?  But mostly I fielded their questions.  However, rarely did I solely answer the question asked.  I generally put it back on them. 

Student: Do I have enough information?”

Teacher: What does the Science Website say you need to research?

I want the students to know where to go for help when I’m not around.  All of the projects and activities for my Science class are posted on my class website.  Through rereading the project requirements, the student figured out that he did not have enough information.  He solved his own problem with a prompting reminder.

Student: “Is this a Red Pine Tree?”

Teacher: “What makes you think it is a Red Pine Tree?”

If I had answered that student’s question directly, he would not have learned how to use support when researching or identifying a flora sample.  He needs to know that embedded within every wondering is the answer.  Like most humans, he doubted himself.  We need to empower our students to believe in themselves and what they already know.  Our students know so much more than they let on knowing.  Rather than answering the questions our students ask, question their question.  Allow the students to solve their own problems by reminding them of what they already know.

Student: “How do I add a picture to my website?”

Teacher: “I just saw your classmate here figure out how to do it.  You should ask him.  I bet he’s an expert in adding images to websites.”

I want my students to use their peers as guides and learning support.  In the global society in which they live, they are always communicating with their friends and peers about all other nonacademic related stuff.  Why not enable our students to help each other with their academic work as well?  Sometimes, the best help students receive comes from their peers and not the teacher.  Their classmates use language they can comprehend when explaining a topic or answering a question.  Empowering the students to be experts and guides in the classroom helps them feel successful and supported.  It also allows them to feel confident in what they know.

As a teacher, I want my students to discover knowledge themselves so that they can own it.  When I spoon fed them content or material, they may not be engaged in or care about it.  If I can guide students to the rainbow, they can generally find the pot of gold at the end on their own.  The best answer I can provide my students is a question.

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Is Struggling Part of the Learning Process?

In planning out my new STEM Class offering for next year, I am forced to peruse the Common Core Standards for Math.  As I looked over many of the units in the textbook, I realized I am unfamiliar with some of the skills I will need to have in order to effectively help the students understand and grasp the content next year.  So, what do I do?  I learn.  I’ll ask for help, do some learning over the summer, and figure out how to do the work.  When faced with difficulties, I find a way to overcome them.  I can’t just stop at the wall and give up.  I need to find a way over the wall or eliminate the wall altogether.  The real learning comes through solving problems we are faced with.  Struggle and failure are a crucial part of the learning process.

Today in Humanities, my students had to craft a personal narrative reflection piece based on what they had learned from the guest who visited our classroom and spoke about growing up in Canaan.  While most of the students quickly brainstormed their ideas and began writing right away, a few students struggled.  One boy asked, “What do I do if I can’t think of anything interesting Mr. Barney talked about?”  I had the students field his question.  Having peers provide feedback is more useful and beneficial than any nugget I could have offered.  I could see that another student was also having trouble generating an idea about which to write.  So, I provided the class with an example of how my piece would start.  I then let the students work.  They couldn’t begin typing until they had their idea.  This way, I was able to quickly see who was struggling in the class.  Rather than help those students in need, I let them struggle and process the information provided.  Learning happens when students solve their own problems and overcome adversity.  After a few minutes, every student had an idea and began working.  Even those students who struggled a first, chose a topic and began writing.

Some students just need think time or processing time.  I needed to give these students time to understand the instructions on their own terms before they could work.  This is okay.  It’s part of the learning process.  Students need to know what is being asked of them before they can do it.  Overcoming adversity and struggling is a necessity when learning something new and challenging.  It’s part of the journey towards enlightenment, which I saw first hand in class today.

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Why do our Students Think it’s about Quantity?

My teachers used to describe assignments in terms of length.  “You need to write a 2 page essay” or “You need to write 10 sentences.”  Why?  The focus wasn’t on the skill or content but how much I did.  Even if what I had written wasn’t quality, as long as I had enough I received a high grade.  Why?  Due to this method of teaching I always focused on the length of assignments and not what the assignment was intended to demonstrate.  As I often tell my students when they ask such questions, “It’s about quality not quantity.”

This evening during Study Hall, one of my students wanted me to assess his Evaluation Phase for the Biodiversity Unit.  Jokingly, I said, “I can tell just by looking at the length of this assignment that it doesn’t meet the Learning Target.  You earned a one out of four for this assignment.”  His response was shocking, “Alright, I guess you’re right.”  At that point I stopped the act and said, “Do you really think that I would grade your work based on looking at the length?”  He then realized I wasn’t serious and said, “No, I guess not.”  I truly believe that this student’s first response was honest.  He really thought I would grade based on how much he had written.  

While we do not assess or grade our students in this manner in the sixth grade, this student clearly had experienced this sort of grading approach in a past educational institution.  Why?  How can a teacher allow students to think that you can only display your ability to learn by how much you do?  It doesn’t make sense to me.  It’s about the skills and objectives the students need to master.  School should not be about writing the most or doing the most work.  I wonder if this skewed approach to teaching has jaded or broken some of our students?  How can we help our boys realize that it’s about meeting or exceeding the objective and not how much work you do?  Some students can demonstrate their ability to meet graded objectives briefly while other students are more detailed and verbose.  Does it matter?  No it doesn’t.  How can we help teachers see this?  I worry that we are creating a future generation of zombies who will be able to work on an assembly line and nothing more.  

I know that as a teacher, I need to help my students learn how to solve problems creatively and honestly.  To do this, I need to engage my students with the content, skills, and material.  They need to be doing to really learn.  Doing is not about how much, but how and why and what.  Good teaching is not about the quantity.  I hope that my students begin to realize the real purpose of education by the end of their sixth grade year.  I hope that as their teacher I support and help them work to their true potential as students.

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Hold the Bar High

In school, we had these yearly athletic competitions to see who could do the most push-ups, sit-ups, and pull-ups.  Being the very unathletic type that I am, I was never able to do a full pull-up.  The bar was just too high and I was never strong enough to reach it by pulling.  No one ever challenged me to do a pull-up and I wasn’t strong enough to reach the bar with my chin.  I couldn’t do it because I didn’t have the support system in place.  There was no encouragement or purpose.  Why should I even try to do a pull-up?  In college, I wanted to get in top physical shape.  So, I worked out in the gym on campus daily.  They even had a pull-up bar.  Once I had been working out for several weeks, I tried my luck at the pull-up bar.  Sure enough, I could do it.  I had focus and a purpose.  I wanted to be strong to stay fit.  With a reason to be in shape and the gym to support me, I did what I needed to do.  The bar was within my reach then.

As a teacher, I hold the bar high for my students.  My expectations are rigorous and high.  I know my students can meet the demands placed on them with support and encouragement.  I tell them from the start of the year how they will be graded and assessed so that they know what is expected of them.  We use a standards-based grading system on a 4-point scale in the sixth grade.  I then tell them why we grade in this manner.  The students need to acquire certain skills and be able to complete particular tasks in order to matriculate into seventh grade.  Our grading system provides the students with the opportunity to challenge themselves, redo work that does not meet the standard being graded, and receive extra help and support throughout their academic journey.  In my classroom, education is not about getting the grade, but about comprehending the material and being able to apply, synthesize, analyze, and evaluate it.  For most units covered throughout the year, the students have options and choices when completing work that demonstrates their ability to meet or exceed the graded objective.  I want the students to be engaged with what they are learning about and find it relevant.  If they choose how they display their ability to meet the standard, they will have more buy-in and care about what they are learning.  While the bar is high as it is difficult to analyze and synthesize information and knowledge, with support and choice, the students can easily reach the bar and in most cases hop right over it.  

Today in Science, the students completed work on the Biodiversity Unit as they finished addressing and answering the five Evaluation Phase questions.  I told the students this is the Test for the unit.  I need to be sure they learn what they need to know to be prepared for seventh grade Science.  During the class period, I meandered through the classroom talking with the students about their work.  I read over many of the answers the students had devised and asked them questions to poke and prod at their understanding of Biodiversity.  I want them to be sure they show all that they know about the material covered and how it applies to them and their world.  I offered some advice to a few of the students as well.  Some of the boys asked specific questions, which I either answered or put back on them.  I really want the students to realize that many of the questions they ask can be answered by them or with the help of a peer.  When I did offer feedback to the students today, I noticed that many of them applied it and changed their work based on the suggestions provided.  Although several students said, “I’m done,” during class today, nobody finished the Evaluation Phase in class because I held the bar high and wouldn’t allow them to settle for the bare minimum of meeting the learning target.  I know all of my students can exceed my expectations for the course.  They just need to prove that to themselves sometimes.

In some cases the challenge can be by choice and sometimes the teacher needs to propose the challenge and support the students as they journey towards the next step in their academic career.  The focus should always be on the skills and the students’ understanding of these skills and their ability level.  We need to help our students demonstrate their true potential at all times.  I like to do this by asking questions and forcing the boys to think about the material or content in new and creative ways.  A lot of what we teach in the sixth grade is directly related to problem solving.  If the students know how to creatively and effectively solve problems, they will find much success in all of their classes.  The bar needs to be held high for real learning and success to happen.  Students don’t learn without a struggle.  However, we as the teachers, need to be there to help give them a boost up to the bar so that they can reach it and realize that they can do it.  Education is a team sport.

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When Science Becomes an Ethics Discussion

I’ve always struggled with the purpose of animal dissection in Science class.  Shouldn’t Science be about preserving and maintaining life not ending it?  In our technological world, can’t we learn as much about life and animals using computers and online programs without dissecting organisms?  Is it right to destroy life to learn more about it?  What life lessons are we teaching our students by having them dissect once living things?  Are we teaching them that it’s right to take life?  Should we abuse our power as humans?  Ethics and Science can sometimes be worst enemies, but do they have to be?  Do we have to have our students dissect organisms?  The short answer is no.  I believe, as a Science teacher, it is my duty to teach my students how to sustain and care for our world’s Biodiversity.  Life is vital to our survival and I want my students to see that.

During Saturday’s Science class, what I thought would be a quick discussion on global warming turned into a rich discussion about the ethics of scientific research.  Every Saturday throughout my Biodiversity Unit I’ve introduced and discussed a current event regarding the science of life in our world.  This week the focus was on an environmental issue as the students finished the Synthesis Phase of the unit during which they generated a solution to an issue affecting our world.  Scientists are in the process of creating or finding a way to create animals that can survive and thrive in a world with rising global temperatures.  As Earth’s temperature continues to rise, animals we currently use for meat may one day become extinct.  So then what?  This article led to insightful questions and a spirited discussion of how scientists solve problems.  Is it morally and ethically right to destroy life to learn more about it?  The students were inspired by the discussion and asked some great questions.  They were very curious.  I tried very hard not to give the students my opinions on the ethics of scientific research, but instead inspire them to think for themselves.  I wanted the boys to question the way the world works.  Is it right?  Is the current method of solving problems effective?  Is it the only way?  I wanted my students to think and inquire, and that they did.

My hope is that I encourage my students to become thoughtful, inquiring, and responsible global scientists.  I want them to think about current issues in the scientific community so that they are aware of the world they are being charged with running in the near future.  I explained to the students during Saturday’s class that these are the issues they will be faced with when they take over the world in a few years.  They need to know what they will have to address and deal with.  People can’t solve problems they are unaware of.  My goal as a teacher is to prepare my students for their future by getting them to question the world around them and find creative and unique solutions to the problems the world has in store for them.  Sometimes Science class is more than just Science.