National Science Foundation
image of Ms. Heather Shaw
Heather Shaw

K-6 Mathematics
Spencerport, NY
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 math.
In Heather Shaw’s class, conducting classroom surveys is a hit with all students, who work in pairs planning, writing, and executing surveys. “The students love this activity because they create a plan and then carry it out from start to finish,” Shaw said. She described her teaching style as hands-on and said that she aims to create an environment where students are active participants in their learning.
In my class, we spend a great deal of time talking about strategies that can be used to solve a particular problem. Afterward, during our debriefing sessions, we share what worked and what did not work. By shifting the emphasis away from the product and onto the process, students begin to understand that they do not have to have the ‘right’ answer, which makes them more comfortable taking risks in class.
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