Ukiah High School, Ukiah, Oregon
7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Ms. Orr is part of NITARP 2013.
Ms. Orr is now the superintendent of the Ukiah School District! Read more here. Congratulations!!
Ms. Orr was featured in a nice article about her school. Link here or PDF version here.
Ms. Orr had a nice writeup by her local power company, Columbia Power.
Ms. Orr has just been announced as the Oregon State winner of the Outstanding Earth Science Teacher Award from the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Congratulations!!
Holly Bensel, John Gibbs, and Laura Orr had their proposal accepted for a NITARP presentation at the 2013 Portland (OR) Area Conference on Science Education, scheduled for Oct 24-26, 2013.
Mr. Gibbs made a presentation about his NITARP experience at the Oregon Science Teachers Association (OSTA) meeting. And he got to meet two of the newly accepted teachers (Laura Orr, Holly Bensel) for NITARP 2013!
My students now see themselves as capable of more than they had before but more importantly see themselves has having a future in the world they saw through the program. Attending the AAS is an important culmination of the experience that ties the importance of science research together and offers an important glimpse into a world of possibilities for students.
I was again reminded of how eye-opening a conference like this can be to a high school student with limited experience outside their home area. For them, the sessions presented were a view into a world they really didn’t know even existed. They were quick to recognize and admit that they largely knew nothing about what was presented in the sessions – but they were just as quick to talk about the fact that they were interested, curious, and wanted to figure out more. The poster sessions also provide opportunity for them to see themselves as potentially having a place among those attending and presenting. They were able to find people that they could talk to about the things the heard about in the talks and learn more. When they presented their own work it was amazing to see how much their confidence and abilities grew.
Teachers need to maybe be reminded that it is OK if they don’t have any idea what they are doing at times – and that they are not expected to be experts in the field. They do need to be able to admit when they are confused, be open to feed back from other team members, and have time to commit to the study. For students I think they need to understand that the project is ultimately ad investigation into something brand new – there is not right or wrong, clear end point, or place to check your work. They also need to remember that this is real research – not a basic lab or pull out session – there is real work that lasts longer than 55 min at a stretch and takes dedicated brain effort. Also not to be upset if wrong from time to time – it is all part of the process and a great learning opportunity.
[This trip] did have a big impact on what my students thought – it was very eye-opening for them to see that astronomers were not stuck in front of a telescope all night, have high computer skills but can also not understand all of what a particular program does or how, and are ‘normal’. Great for them.
I saw kids rise to a challenge and meet it – they learned a lot from the process, each other, and the experience – in ways they could not get in a regular classroom setting at home.
I have learned that a student’s age or grade level can never be used to judge their ability to grasp the complex if they are only give the right time and instruction. They showed me that again on this trip.
[Three best things about this trip:] Learning a new skill and the great gains in understanding and knowledge about the subject. Watching the students from a wide variety of locations and background come together and form friendships, working relationships, and build support for the project and each other. Getting the opportunity to work on a project such as this with other educators from various disciplines and backgrounds come together to form friendships, working relationships, and build support for the project and each other.
I rarely get out among other teachers in the same field as I am, with similar interest and motivations, and even less often do I have time to be in the company of professional scientists to see and hear what they are doing, how it is being done, what technologies are being used, etc. Without this type of program to get me to a meeting like the AAS I would never be able to put all of this together.
It was also good to have the time to connect with all the different types of people and areas of work that are represented at a meeting like the AAS – lots of time as a teacher is spent in my classroom only – I rarely get out among other teachers in the same field as I am, with similar interest and motivations, and even less often do I have time to be in the company of professional scientists to see and hear what they are doing, how it is being done, what technologies are being used, etc. Without this type of program to get me to a meeting like the AAS I would never be able to put all of this together. Being with the people drawn together at this type of meeting helps me as a teacher to see what is needed from me in prepare and present to my students as the current world of science. I also get to see and experience things that make my own brain start clicking and re-engage that wonder and questioning part of me that made me love science and want to go into science as a kid. I came away with many new ideas, new contacts to offer me support in my teaching and research, and a renewed enthusiasm for improving my teaching and my own understanding of astronomy.
Always impresses me how well a ‘kid’ can perform if supported and presented with a challenge that interests them.
[...]creativity has to be a underling personality trait for scientists
I am gaining in confidence as to my ability to understand, contribute to the study, and the data we will be using.
The rest of the NITARP teachers new, current, and past were really great to talk to – they all had bits of advice, stories, words of caution, and knowledge that I really appreciated. I was pretty nervous and concerned about how much I did not know about the program and what I would be doing that was greatly relieved after a few days at the AAS and talking with my team and others.
I LOVED the chance to talk with some of the students that have been involved in the NITARP program. It was really good to hear of their insights and thoughts about the program, the process, and how it influenced their year and future plans.