COLLEGE PARK: Teacher takes kids to science outdoors | Education
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COLLEGE PARK, Ga. -- In a stream in the North Georgia mountains, near sixth graders from Woodward Academy in College Park are using nets and plastic containers to catch macro invertebrates during a lesson.
"They've never seen these kinds of organisms," said their science teacher and 11Alive Class Act winner Danise Fields. "They don't know how to identify by looking at tails and legs and that sort of thing. So, it's a new skill-set for them."
"You can't ask for a better environment to teach in," she added.
It is clear Fields loves every moment of the assignment, but her enthusiasm can't match that of the students. It's clear they're engaged in the world of living things around them.
"I love coming out here and the kids love it," Fields said. "And, it's easy to teach, frankly, when they're enjoying what they're doing. And, they're enthusiastic. It's something new and different that they've never learned about before, and it just makes a great environment for us to learn in."
Fields can relate with the students on a personal level because she was once also a Woodward Academy student who went on academic field trips in her middle school years. She's a graduate of the Class of 1983 who went on to become a scientist, but then, made a career change.
"After I had kids, I decided that (the work) wasn't conductive to my family life," she said. "Actually, it was my husband's suggestion."
Fields is passionate about teaching science and loves to integrate 21st century learning components in her classroom.
Her talent as an educator led to her selection as one of only 12 educators nationwide to participate in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Science Ambassador program. The honor allowed her to team up with CDC scientists during a five-day professional development workshop.
In addition, Fields collaborated with scientists to create a public health-based lesson plan aligned with National Science Education Standards and developed an HIV/AIDS lesson plan for the middle school level. Her HIV/AIDS lesson plan will be posted on the CDC website once it has been approved for publication.