9th grade level introduction to biology and integrative science

05/10/2012 18:09

From 2001-2003 I taught the biology section of an integrative science course for primarily 9th grade students at The Webb Schools.  One of the things I loved about this opportunity was the chance to design the curriculum.  I had very limited time with the students as this part of the class only took up about 1/3 of their year, so it was a challenge to fit in a solid introduction to a vast, diverse, and rapidly changing scientific field.  I also felt that it was extemely important to give the students an opportunity to develop their own experimental project and experience putting the scientific method to work.  For some students, I knew that this would be the only course in biology they were exposed to in their high school career, and potentially beyond.  For others, their next adventures in biology would be the AP class so I wanted to equip each student with general knowledge about the living world and a skill set to approach future challenges.  Another unique thing about this teaching appointment was that my classes were entirely one gender at a time so I got a rare glipse at how boys and girls learn and behave differently at such a transitional time in their lives.  


Stay tuned for a sample syllabus, it will take some serious digging for me to find!  Floppy disks anyone?

Outside of the classroom

Outside of the classroom I was very busy at Webb, advising students, coaching x-country, basketball, and track, spending time at the dorms and taking students on weekend outings.  I also made it a priority to get students involved in local and nearby events.  I was selected to bring a handful of students to the first Student Ocean Conference held at the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, CA, where I helped students research watershed pollution and conservation issues affecting the ocean.  The students participated in the conference, presented their work, and later made a presentation to the school about the event.  It was a wonderful way to bring students out of the classroom to think about real world challenges relating to course material and to brainstorm with their peers about possible solutions.  And spending a night at the aquarium wasn't too shabby either!