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4th-Quarter 2013 Scholarship Winner

Name: Mindy Pearson

Role: Science Coach & Subject Area Leader

School: Memorial Middle School

Located: Tampa, FL

Number years teaching: 16


What do you teach and to what grade(s)?

Comprehensive Science, Grades 6, 7, & 8

Why do you like what you teach?

Science is always relevant and naturally lends itself to inquiry. Most of all, it’s fun!

Did you always want to be a teacher?

Interestingly, no. I went to school to become a hard scientist. I didn’t really enjoy my work in the research lab. When I began teaching the biology lab for non-majors at Florida State University, the teaching bug bit me. I was hooked. Here I am, 16 years later . . .

Why do you like to teach with hands-on products?

Science is learned best by DOING IT, not reading about it in a textbook. In order for kids to think like scientists, they have to act like them.

How does using hands-on products improve the students’ learning experiences?

The old Chinese proverb comes to mind: "Tell me and I will forget. Show me and I may remember. Involve me and I will understand." When kids can tie a science concept to a concrete learning experience (observations, inquiry, etc.), they are more likely to retain the content and make connections.

How long have you been using Pitsco Education products?

About 16 years!

What is your favorite Pitsco Education product and why?

I am drawn to the variety of racers and buggies (such as the propeller racers, the balloon racers, and the wind bag), as they can be used to teach a variety of physics concepts as well as engineering design.

How do the students respond to Pitsco Education products?

Kids love Pitsco products, as they lend themselves to DOING SCIENCE.

What's your greatest teaching accomplishment?

I think my greatest teaching accomplishment is making students enthusiastic connoisseurs of science – while at the same time closing the achievement gap at my impoverished, urban school.