Garfield STEM Magnet Middle School is nominated for Next Generation Middle School Biology
Christopher Speck of Garfield STEM Magnet Middle School received four Classroom & Grade Level Learning Awards (formerly called Horizon Awards) for “High Altitude Balloon Project” in Spring 2015, “Coral in the Classroom” in Fall 2017, “Human Assisted Evolution in the Classroom” in fall 2018, “Next Generation Middle School Biology” in spring 2019 and “Let It Grow” in spring 2021.
Mr. Speck demonstrated the value of project-based learning. His students are equipped with tools and resources not found in a middle school science class, including
pressure sensors, GPS, Raspberry Pis, hydrometers, aquariums, pumps, digital thermometers, coral reefs, BioChambers, CO2 and O2 sensors, aquaponic gardens, and much more.
Mr Speck wrote last year: “My primary goal as a biology teacher is to give students a solid understanding of the natural world so they can protect it. One of my former bosses at the Advanced Materials Lab once joked, “Science is a race!” This mantra guides planning and instruction. I try to over-build my program so that nothing is left out. If I do something well, I want it to always be done well, and I want to add to it or improve on it the following year. That’s innovation.
If they win…
“If chosen as the top winner in his class,” Mr. Speck writes, “the funding will be used to purchase biotechnology equipment and additional materials to stimulate students’ knowledge and interest in the genetic. This equipment is compact and portable, making it easy to move between schools. Students will be able to extract, amplify and analyze DNA using the processes of polymerase chain reaction and gel electrophoresis. These kits can be used by any secondary school teacher in the cluster. Training will be provided to interested teachers.