EPISODE 37: Teaching and Learning Science

On Thursday, February 11 at 4:00 pm US-EDT, we present a new episode of Reinventing School on Learning Revolution.

This time, the subject is science. Once again, there are only about 10,000 instructional hours in K-12 education, and science about 10% of them--about 1,000 hours. (That's the equivalent of 40 hours per week for 26 weeks.) Is this enough time? Too much? Should everyone learn the same concepts and theories, do the same experiments, or should students follow stories that are more relevant to their own lives? Lots to consider as we discuss 21st science education with our guests Chris Monsour, a Biology teacher in Ohio; Brenda Walsh, a Chemistry teacher in Minnesota; Lisa Kenyon, a Biology professor at Wright University in Ohio; and Mark Hannum, K-12 Programs Manager at American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). Plus several students.

Please join us on Thursdays for our live shows, or visit www.reinventing.school for the recorded versions.

More about this week's guests:

8535460092?profile=RESIZE_400xChris Monsour is a Biology teacher at Tiffin Columbian High School in Tiffin, Ohio. In the midst of teaching science during the time of Covid, Chris has been focused on making his science classes relevant,  accessible for all students and improving how science is delivered on-line. During his 22 years in the classroom, Chris has taught AP Biology, Anatomy and Physiology, Environmental Science, and Oceanography. Throughout his professional career, Monsour has tried to model how science is practiced. This includes a month-long stint on a research vessel in Papahānaumokuākea Marine National Monument with NOAA as the Teacher at Sea. Chris has also traveled the world with Earth Expeditions, an organization that engages people with grassroots conservation and sustainability programs that are making a difference. His works included travel  to Trinidad to work on Leatherback turtle conservation, Namibia for Cheetah conservation, and most recently to Thailand to study what Buddhism teaches about the environment. Chris has also built relationships with science organizations dedicated to improving science education and inquiry.  Chris has been active with the National Association of Biology Teachers serving as a board member, director of NABT’s Bio Club High School Program, and now as the President-Elect. Chris has also served as a Biointeractive Ambassador for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute which is a network of expert high school and undergraduate educators who work closely with BioInteractive to promote and support evidence-based teaching practices, drive change in science education, and elevate the professional and scholarly profile of science teaching. Monsour graduated from Heidelberg University with a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Biology. He went on to earn a Master’s of Science in Science Education from Montana State University looking at incorporating reading in the Science Classroom.  In 2015, he was awarded the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. Most recently he was awarded the Kim Foglia AP Biology Service Award from The National Association of Biology Teachers which recognizes an AP Biology teacher who displays a willingness to share materials, serves as a mentor to both students and professional colleagues and creates an innovative and student-centered classroom environment.


8543395670?profile=RESIZE_400xBrenda Walsh is a Chemistry teacher at Eden Prairie High School in Minnesota. She graduated from Mandan High School, Mandan North Dakota, and earned her undergraduate degree from Dickinson State University in Dickinson, North Dakota. Prior to teaching, she was in the environmental field in both private and government agencies. She earned her teaching degree and Masters of Art in Teaching from the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota, and started teaching in middle school in 1993. Brenda has served as a National Science Teaching Association (NSTA) District Director from 2016-2019 and is currently the NSTA High School Division Director. She is passionate about helping students become problem solvers, critical and global thinkers with the importance of evidence-based reasoning and learning good communication skills. She is also very passionate about inclusion and is an advocate for all students.


8543408069?profile=RESIZE_400xLisa O. Kenyon- is a Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences in the College of Science and Mathematics and Faculty Director for the Center for Teaching and Learning at Wright State University. She currently serves as board director for the division of Post-Secondary Science Teaching at the National Science Teaching Association (NSTA). Her research focuses on engaging K-12 students and teachers in scientific practices such as explanation, argumentation, and scientific modeling--specifically, examining how students use their epistemologies of science to support these practices. Other research interests include curriculum design, project-based inquiry, and teacher professional development. Kenyon has published research in Journal of Research in Science Teaching and Journal of Science Teacher Education and pedagogical articles in NSTA Science and Children, Science Scope, The Science Teacher and Journal of College Science Teaching. She has received a number of awards in teaching and research, Affiliate Societies Council Outstanding Engineers’ and Scientists’ (2017), Wright State University Professor J. Kegerreis Distinguished Professor of Teaching (2016-2019), Southern Ohio Council for Higher Education’s (SOCHE) awardee for Excellence in Teaching (2016), and Wright State University Presidential Award for Faculty Excellence Early Career Achievement (2009).


8543596669?profile=RESIZE_400xMark Hannum is the K-12 Program Manager with the American Association of Physics Teachers where he oversees programs that support the professional development of K-12 physics teachers. In this role, he also works to expand and promote the voice of classroom teachers for Education Policy. His expertise is derived from a unique paring of experiences in higher education, federal agencies, and many years as a high school physics teacher. He has helped managed large educational programs at the National Science Foundation and at a premier STEM magnet school in Northern Virginia where he is currently a physics instructor. As an Albert Einstein Fellow at the National Science Foundation (2008 - 2010), Hannum, supported the GK-12 grant program, evaluating the collaborations between Ph.D. candidates and K-12 teachers. In 2006 he joined the faculty of American University in Washington DC as a part-time lecturer in both the Physics Department and the School of Education where he developed new courses in both Secondary Science Instruction and Elementary Science Methods.


4995562699?profile=RESIZE_400xHoward Blumenthal created and produced the PBS television series, Where in the World Is Carmen Sandiego? He is currently a Senior Scholar at The University of Pennsylvania, studying learning and the lives of 21st-century children and teenagers. He travels the world, visiting K-12 schools, lecturing at universities, and interviewing young people for Kids on Earth, a global platform containing nearly 1,000 interview segments from Kentucky, Brazil, Sweden, India, and many other countries. Previously, he was a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist for The New York Times Syndicate, and United Features. He is the author of 24 books and several hundred articles about technology, learning, business, and human progress. As an executive, Howard was the CEO of a public television operation and several television production companies, and a state government official. Previously, he was a Senior Vice President for divisions of two large media companies, Hearst and Bertelsmann, and a consultant or project lead for Energizer, General Electric, American Express, CompuServe, Warner Communications, Merriam-Webster, Atari, and other companies.


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Before the virus, more than a billion children and teenagers relied upon school for learning. After the virus (or, after the current wave of our current virus), basic assumptions about school and education are no longer reliable. School buildings may become unsafe for large numbers of students. The tax base may no longer support our current approach to school. Without the interaction provided by a formal school structure, students may follow their own curiosity. Many students now possess the technology to learn on their own. And many do not.

Reinventing.school is a new weekly web television series that considers what happens next week, next month, next school year, and the next five years. Hosted by University of Pennsylvania Senior Scholar Howard Blumenthal, Reinventing.school features interviews with teachers, principals, school district leadership, state and Federal government officials, ed-tech innovators, students, leading education professors, authors, realists and futurists from the United States and all over the world.

Each episode features 2-4 distinguished guests in conversation about high priority topics including, for example, the teaching of public health, long-term home schooling, technology access and its alternatives, the role of parents, friendship and social interaction, learning outside the curriculum, the future of testing and evaluation, interruption as part of the academic calendar, job security for teachers and support staff, setting (and rethinking) curriculum priorities, special needs, student perspectives on the job of school, the importance of play, the psychology of group dynamics and social interaction, preparing for future rounds of a virus (or cyberattack or impact of climate change, etc.), college readiness, higher education transformed, the higher education promise in an economically challenged world, and more. Clearly, there is much to discuss; nearly all of it ranks high on the list of priorities for raising the world’s children.