Educational Philosophy

I want all learners to feel inspired and be creative. I strive to teach learners to understand science deeply and intuitively. My students learn by building, creating, investigating, playing, and making. I see myself as a facilitator for their educational journey. I guide my learners through their explorations, supporting them in failure and success, and making sure each one knows they have within them the power to change their world.

I fell in love with science early in life. Digging under rocks in the backyard and discovering all the creatures living there opened my eyes to invisible worlds. I was hooked. As a child I read every non-fiction book I could get my hands on. I watched every episode of Mr. Wizard. I knew I wanted to be a scientist. With science it felt like there was always a new adventure waiting for me, that there was always more to learn.

Unfortunately, the hands-on discovery I experienced at my Dad's side in the garden wasn't always replicated in school where textbooks and tests were often the focus. I was lucky. Academics came easily for me, but even as a child I knew that wasn't the best way to explore. 

In seventh grade everything changed. My school added a science lab and our teacher challenged us to perform experiments and share our results. It set me a path that lead me not only into science, but into education.

I was working as a scientist when I had my eldest. Before long I realized the joy of teaching them about science. Watching my children--and soon all the neighborhood kids--have those "Ah ha!" moments was wildly satisfying. I went back to school and became a middle school teacher, dedicated to sharing that joy in learning science with my students. Before long that joy could not be contained by the classroom so I began hosting afterschool clubs, classes at the local library, and summer camps.

When I discovered the Maker Movement it felt like coming home. Here was the creativity, curiosity, and hands-on experimentation I'd been searching for. I quickly incorporated the concepts into my teaching. One of the most important aspects, for me, was the idea that you could fail forward--that you could learn from mistakes and that failing was simply something that happened on the path to discovery.

As an educator I consider it my job to lead students to discover. To discover how their world works, to discover their own talents, to discover a sense of fearlessness when learning. I hope to inspire them to be curious, empowered, responsible, and independent as they take the lead in their learning. I believe that the 4Cs--critical thinking, creativity, communication, and collaboration--are powerful tools in the classroom and in life. I want my students to be excited about their learning and to experience the wonder of our world. However, none of this means the work is not rigorous or that expectations are not high. It's simply that my students know they have support and that they can always try again. 

Below I share some articles I've written and some written about me that further detail my thoughts on education.

Why Wonder Matters MakerEd Forum

Earn free Professional Development credit through Share My Lesson and the American Federation of Teachers by registering and watching my webinar on this topic.

Why Wonder Matters: Creating Authentic Connections in the Classroom

"By creating community and empowering students to take the lead, you'll inspire your students, connect them deeply to the content, build a creative culture, and, most importantly, invoke their sense of wonder by giving them the context and encouragement they need to explore fearlessly."

When I worked with Make: Magazine and Make Community I was part of several events in which we talked about the Maker Movement and Education. Here are a few.