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I am a farmer’s daughter who developed a strong environmental interest at a young age, but ended up studying Medical Microbiology and working in city pathology laboratories for 12 years.
Three children and an interest in people as well as their specimens saw me gain teaching credentials so I could share my love of science with youngsters. Since then I have taught grade 5 to 10 within two regional schools both of which have school farms allowing us to study the land, its ecosystems and giving us room to launch rockets! My current school Exeter High has an excellent science team and an engaging curriculum that regularly sees student work recognized in state-wide and national competitions.
I teach and enjoy all areas of science, but the topics students enjoy most always give teachers great pleasure. To that end my classes build rockets, write poems about supernovae, model earthquakes, work out what they need to live on other planets, design experiments to demonstrate tides and eclipses, extract and purify metal from ores, investigate conditions that affect microbial growth and more. Sometimes my students enjoy these activities even more than I do! Hopefully the Spaceward Bound experience will give me other ideas to enhance planetary and space science in the curriculum and show students how they fit in the scientific world.
As an active member of the Tasmanian and Australian Science Teacher Associations, I particularly enjoy the sharing of information and pedagogy that happens via journals and at our conferences. The opportunity Spaceward Bound gives to be involved in real research science is very exciting and I can’t wait to learn more about microbes, how they fit in desert ecosystems and what we might find on Mars. I’m also looking forward to meeting other participants and sharing the knowledge and ideas we gain in the desert.
My overall teaching goal is to send lots of students off to secondary college, then university, with the desire and ability to study science and hopefully realize what great career opportunities it offers. Let’s hope Spaceward Bound can help me inspire future astronauts, geologists and astrobiologists.
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