Inside the Classroom: Academy Science

Academy science faculty share what makes teaching science so special for them.

I enjoy being in the lab with students. Guiding the students through their discovery, connecting the lectures and discussions to hands-on activities is my favorite aspect of teaching science. 

One example was when students were examining the skull and other bones of the human body. For the students, holding, noticing the ridges, the edges, the holes and manipulating actual specimens was fascinating to them, as well as humbling.”

– Wyeth Collo, Academy science faculty
Wyeth Collo explains the features of the human skull during an anatomy lab.

Step by step labs and hands-on activities allow students to test their own understanding and get a chance to learn by doing. I don’t have to tell students their initial predictions are wrong, they are able to see it for themselves and reason out what their initial misconceptions were.

They gain a sense of ownership of their learning and a feeling of pride in their newly constructed knowledge that is inspiring for me as a teacher to witness, and I appreciate being a part of this learning journey.”

Tiffany Coke, Academy physics and astronomy faculty
Students in Tiffany Coke’s physics class build a model to help understand different units of dimension.

My favorite things about teaching Academy science are my amazing colleagues past and present. They make coming to work every day fun and cheerful. I also really enjoy helping students become better scientists (and better people in general) as they work through our many challenging activities.

In one lab, students are tasked with finding the identity of 11 unknown solids but given no instructions.They have to draw upon all of their previous chemistry knowledge to think of tests that will help them identify each one. It is enjoyable to watch as students work together to run tests and analyze their results to successfully identify each solid – and cheer when they finally identify their last unknown solid.

Cullen Pang ’97, chemistry faculty
Cullen Pang ’97 advises a student during an Academy chemistry lab.

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