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
Mystery Powders, a chemistry lesson that teaches the differences between physical and chemical changes is Wendy Scheleur’s favorite lesson. She said, “My students become students at Hogwarts, the school in the Harry Potter books, and attend a Mystery Powders class. In the class, they test a variety of powders to determine if they produce a chemical or physical change. At the end of the unit, their reports are submitted to Dumbledore himself.” Scheleur added, “Chemistry is exciting all by itself, but the Harry Potter theme takes this lesson to a new and exciting level of ‘mystery.’”
Kids love science! As intimidating as it may be to some, if you give kids a variety of materials and let their imaginations begin to flow, then that wall will crumble. If students know you believe in their ideas and trust their abilities, they want to, and do, succeed in science. My class motto is, ‘Smart people ask questions!’ because every good scientist knows that scientific learning begins with questions.