2006 Presidential Award for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching
Each year the President of the U.S. recognizes outstanding K-12 science
and math teachers throughout the country. One math and one science
educator is chosen from each state who exemplifies deep content
knowledge combined with the ability to motivate students in science and
In Zachary Champagne’s class, students are taught to explore and build their own understanding of mathematics. For example, when introducing polygons to his students, he gives them both polygons and nonpolygons to allow them to discover, on their own, the essential attributes of polygons. “It has been my experience that when students construct their own understanding in mathematics, they are much more likely to remember and understand what they are learning,” explained Champagne.
I try to help my students understand a tough concept by placing them in real-world situations. If mathematics is applicable to their lives, then they see a reason for studying and learning it.