South Royalton, VT
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
Jennifer Hewitt finds success in using Game Factory, an activity she introduces during her probability unit. “Students work with partners to determine the fairness of board games by using the odds and outcomes to determine the theoretical probability of a game. The game is then played to see if the experimental probability matches the theoretical probability. After testing the games, the pairs use their newly acquired knowledge to create their own games,” explained Hewitt. She provides a structured, consistent environment for her students so that they know what to expect every day. “My students often hear me say, ‘Rules don’t change,’ and ‘What was true yesterday, is still true today,’” she said.
I spend a lot of time fostering a positive classroom community by teaching students that we each have specific strengths and weaknesses; which means that we have to support one another as we learn. That, along with a big smile, an encouraging tone, and a good attitude, helps even the most reluctant learners to be successful.