CASSTOWN — Miami East High School was recently selected as one of 58 schools in the state of Ohio to be recognized to receive the Governor’s Thomas Edison Award for Excellence in STEM Education and Student Research.
Miami East High School teachers David Scott, physics and chemistry teacher, and Becky Weldy, science teacher, were recognized as one of more than 500 teachers across the state to receive the award.
The instructors integrated STEM education through high school student participation in a variety of activities including the Upper Miami Valley Science Day (Science Fair) at held at Tippecanoe High School. Students have participated in the event for the last four years.
According to Scott, the focus of Science Fair is to provide opportunities for mentored, student-driven scientific inquiry. Students conduct research on a topic of their choosing.
“In doing so, they experience science as a means of discovery, learning and skill development. In the course of these investigations students learn to formulate questions and hypotheses, design and conduct experiments, analyze data, and communicate their findings in a public forum,” Scott said.
Students also learn to construct tables and charts using Microsoft Excel, as well as use skills including formula writing, regression analysis, mathematical modeling, and proper construction of graphs. To varying degrees, students are introduced to statistical analysis.
Examples of students’ research include: Abby Bick’s exploration of bio-diesel’s “gel point” in lower temperatures; Kaitlyn Mack’s research of electrolytes in sports drinks; Emily Rowley’s evaluation of the accuracy of a cell phone-based spectrometer; Christine Marlow’s mathematical study of wave superposition and beats in music; and Kylie Blair and Jessica Gillum’s study of the relationship of soil nutrient content to well water quality.
Marlow’s project received a “superior” rating at the event. Blair and Gillum’s project was part of their work in agriculture sciences.
“In all of these projects, students initiated the work. Their work required independent learning and the integration of their knowledge of Science, Mathematics, and Technology,” Scott said. “All students gained a better understanding of the interrelationship of these disciplines. Furthermore, students gained an appreciation of the scientific process of discovery and the amount of work required excellent research.”
Students have also been involved in design and build projects in physics.
Weldy’s geology students took field trips to Ohio Caverns, Cedar Bog Preserve, and Caesars Creek State Park to learn about Ohio’s geological past. Weldy has also taken anatomy students to Wright State University’s Anatomy Laboratory to learn more about the human body.
Miami East High School will receive a special Governor’s Award certificate and each teacher will receive a complimentary membership to The Ohio Academy of Science (OAS).
“In my view, the award represents a collaborative effort of many, most notably the students, but also Mrs. Weldy, Mrs. Marie Carity, and the administration and faculty at Miami East,” Scott said. “My membership in the OAS gives me the opportunity to belong to a body that advocates for scientific literacy, research, and innovation in the state of Ohio.
“Furthermore, it provides additional opportunities to network with other educators and professionals that seek to further scientific research and STEM learning among their students.”
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