DIANE STINGER NSF Teaching Partner
Irving Middle School, School Dist #25

Years Teaching:
32 years

Idaho State University—BA and Teaching Certificate

Graduate Partner:

Special Accomplishments/Interests:
Region 5 Science Teacher of the Year 2002-3; Region 5 Middle Level Educator of the Year 2003; Science Olympiad Outstanding Coach 2005 & 2006; National Board Certification 2000

How will you continue to integrate an aspect of GK-12 and your partnership with graduate students into your teaching, philosophy, etc.?
What I have learned from the GK-12 partnership has changed me as a teacher. I now understand that there are many methods by which students learn. The Scientific method can be used with many subject areas. Pushing the students to inquire instead of giving the answer to them is significant for increasing student understanding. I use the scientific method in more lessons. Students are definitely participating in more inquiry lessons in which the outcome is not known.

How has the GK-12 experience changed you, and how has your participation changed the GK-12 project?
I have become a science teacher that expects my students to inquire about science ideas more than I was before. I used the book before my GK-12 experience with expected outcomes, now we do a lot more experimenting and the students are coming up with unexpected outcomes. This method, at first, was uncomfortable for me. Now, I understand that this is how students learn about the natural world. Students are also using more math and technology to understand science concepts. My involvement with Idaho State University has enabled me to use it as a resource which has really increased my ability to provide STEM lessons. Working with a science fellow has been invaluable to my students. A science fellow has the knowledge of current science theories to share with my classes.

My participation in the GK-12 project has changed that project in ways that I am not clear about. I can guess that having classroom teachers share their daily lives in a classroom helps scientists realize the reality of teaching in a public school. There are so many interruptions in a classroom; Photos, athletics, choir, band to name just a few. Then there is the pressure of the standardized testing that takes up so much of time each year and seems to be getting worse. When I think of the contrast between the classroom and the lab I think of daily reality compared to creative and challenging experiments done in scientific time not by the school bell.

Profile date: April 2007