Name: Jonathan Everett
School: Greenwood Middle/High School
Located: Millerstown, Pennysylvania
Number years teaching: 16
What do you teach and to what grade(s)?
Eighth-grade Integrated Science, 11th-grade Physics, Coach: PJAS and CASEF Science Fairs and the Greenwood Rocket Team
Why do you like what you teach?
I love teaching science. My mission as a teacher is to lead students on journey in science in which they achieve more than they ever thought possible. The lab and engineering experiences that I can implement in science make it the best subject to teach. When students explore, test ideas, build performance devices, reengineer devices, or just mess around with equipment to see what it does, learning becomes exciting and real. Add innovative uses of technology, performance challenges, laboratory carousel activities, and state and national competitions to a science program, and students learn to strive and reach goals while learning to think and creatively problem solve along the way. Simply put, teaching and coaching science is a rewarding career full of fun and challenges.
Did you always want to be a teacher?
No. As a child I was fascinated with the technology of a videocassette recorder, a personal computer, and the idea of a phone that could work without wires. This led me to pursue a career in engineering or technology. I became hooked on science in my 11th- and 12th-grade physics classes. I started college as an engineering major but switched to a physics major with a minor in education near the end of freshman year. I made it a point to earn a true BS in physics and then to gain an education certification separately because I felt the best teachers would know their content well. I then started my education career as a physics teacher. Soon after, I pursued an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction because I learned you also need to know how to deliver the information.
Why do you like to teach with hands-on products?
Hands-on products give the students an opportunity to explore, play, and discover the way the objects in this world work. There are so many “aha” or “mind blown” moments when the students work with science materials and get unexpected results. Those results then redefine how they view the world.
How does using hands-on products improve the students’ learning experiences?
Hands-on products provide the students with experiential learning opportunities. Standard lecture format passes on the teachers’ learning to the students. However, in hands-on learning the students discover truths of how science behaves through personal experience. I strongly believe that personal-experience learning is stronger and better retained than lecture learning. Both forms of learning have their place in education. Experiential learning is stronger, but lecture learning is more efficient. Years after a course, nearly all former students choose a hands-on learning experience from the class as their most memorable moment.
How long have you been using Pitsco Education products?
I have used Pitsco products since 1999.
What is your favorite Pitsco Education product and why?
I love Pitsco’s amazing collection of wheels and miscellaneous parts the best. I have used Pitsco materials for student projects in mousetrap cars of numerous varieties, blimps, bridges, rockets, windmills, catapults, and kites.
How do the students respond to Pitsco Education products?
Students get very excited when I break out parts and materials and provide them an engineering challenge. Pitsco products are great in that you can use them in various creative ways to build and modify operational devices. Science becomes very engaging when those devices are tested on multiple standards. The students then use that experience to reengineer their devices to achieve a great proficiency in the performance challenges. All forms of building and engineering projects work very well with Pitsco products.
What's your greatest teaching accomplishment?
Throughout my 16-year teaching career, I have authored and [been] awarded 23 grants for a total of $181,675. Collectively, these grants have been used to put computers in classrooms, add data probes, buy lab equipment, improve classroom technology, and fund student science competitions. I believe this achievement has brought the greatest positive educational impact to the students throughout my career.
Visit www.pitsco.com/scholarship for details about the scholarship or to nominate an educator you know.