Teaching Traveling: Know a Science teacher anywhere in the world who wants some great lesson ideas? Read on to hear the wonderful curriculum that my colleague, Adam Shopis has created!
Adam, tell us about yourself.
Adam: I grew up in suburban Connecticut. I went to Cornell University for a year and a half to study engineering, but dropped out. I ended up graduating from Bowdoin College with a degree in English. I now teach in Boston Public Schools.
TT: Speaking of English, what is this Science Fair book you’ve written that is sweeping the globe?
A: After over a decade of dreading Science Fair time, I radically transformed the way I do it in my classroom. Actually, it wasn’t so much radical as it was just applying normal teaching techniques to Science Fair. In addition, the awesome 7th grade team (including you!) at my school embraced the idea and used Science Fair as a grade level interdisciplinary experience.
My book “Why Science Fair Sucks and How You Can Save it” focuses on how any Science teacher can finally tame the Science Fair beast. I think there are many Science teachers out there that pull their hair out every year when Science Fair comes around.
My book can help them with that through detailed unit and lesson plans, examples, handouts, links to online documents, and the rationale for each piece.
The teachers who have used the book so far say that it’s totally changed the way they run Science Fair for the better. Science Fair is now both easier to run, and much more useful for student learning.
TT: Tell us about your Science Fair Podcast and your website.
A: I’ve been podcasting my day to day experiences with Science Fair in my “Science Fair Podcast“. You know this because you were a guest on Episode 7! Each day I do a lesson on Science Fair and report on what I did and how it went. I record it on my drive to work. There’s a tense moment in almost every episode where I almost get into an accident. I’m hoping to give real on-the-ground experiences to teachers out there struggling with Science Fair. I write a little blurb about each episode on my web site, ScienceNugget.com.
TT: What have you realized about how social media can spread curriculum ideas internationally?
A: I’ve had individuals and organizations from around the work retweet my podcast topics. I hope that social media is planting seeds of reform for Science Fair teaching in schools all around the globe.
TT: On the topic of global movement, tell us about some fun travels you’ve undertaken.
A: My grandmother is Puerto Rican, but I never visited PR until I was an adult. The first time I went was during my April vacation from school. I went to beautiful Rincon on a surf trip with my wife’s two brothers. This was an awesome chance to connect with my family roots, since my grandmother grew up one town over. It was also an experience that allowed me to bond with her.
I’ve also traveled to Costa Rica with my wife on a great, relaxing, and enriching vacation. We’ve also taken sojourns to London, Paris, Montreal, and Quebec. We haven’t traveled out of the country since our two children (Jorge, 4 and Julian, 2) were born, but we’re getting psyched to start taking them on adventures with us. I think our first trip will be back to my ancestral Puerto Rico.
TT: Thanks so much, Adam! Readers, what questions or comments do you have?