Teacher Cho­sen by Smith­so­nian

Serve Daily - - FRONT PAGE - By Lana Hiskey for Serve Daily

Amy Oller­ton, Vis­ual Art teacher at Maple­ton Ju­nior High School in Nebo School Dis­trict, par­tic­i­pated in the Teacher In­no­va­tor In­sti­tute at the Smith­so­nian’s Na­tional Air and Space Mu­seum in Wash­ing­ton, D.C.

Amy Oller­ton was one of thirty mid­dle-school ed­u­ca­tors from across the coun­try cho­sen to par­tic­i­pate in the two- week pro­gram. The Teacher In­no­va­tor In­sti­tute in­structs ed­u­ca­tors on how to bring the mu­seum ex­pe­ri­ence into their class­rooms by con­nect­ing in­for­mal STEM ed­u­ca­tion with gen­uine learn­ing. With an em­pha­sis on pro­vid­ing au­then­tic learn­ing, the teach­ers par­tic­i­pated in group work, at­tended mu­se­ums, learned about space, and did many hands-on ac­tiv­i­ties. Amy Oller­ton said of the con­fer­ence, “We met with area ex­perts and went to sem­i­nars and talked about ed­u­ca­tion. We saw IMAX movies about space, spent time at the Ud­var-Hazy wing of the Smith­so­nian, and even went in­door sky­div­ing.”

Dur­ing the course of the pro­gram, par­tic­i­pants are re­quired to pro­pose an in­de­pen­dent project and see it through to com­ple­tion. Amy Oller­ton pro­posed a project called “Pet­ro­glyphs on Mars”. Amy said, “I ask stu­dents to imag­ine that hu­mans have col­o­nized Mars and that we de­cided to cre­ate a vis­ual record of life on earth. We show the ideas through sym­bols carved into plas­ter, clay, or drawn on pa­per.” Stu­dents have rep­re­sented life on earth through sto­ries from world his­tory, themes about racism, tales about why hu­mans left earth, and sto­ries from per­sonal his­tory.

Amy Oller­ton learned a lot at the Teacher In­no­va­tor In­sti­tute at the Smith­so­nian’s Na­tional Air and Space Mu­seum. Amy said, “I learned…great ways to in­cor­po­rate STEM with hands-on projects. I learned about do­ing re­search at the Na­tional Ar­chives, as well as the ar­chives of the Na­tional Air and Space Mu­seum. I also got a re­searcher card at the Li­brary of Con­gress.”

Amy Oller­ton will con­tinue what she learned at the con­fer­ence by par­tic­i­pat­ing in video-chats with Teacher In­no­va­tor In­sti­tute lead­ers, pre­sent­ing at var­i­ous pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment ses­sions, cre­at­ing cur­ricu­lum and ac­tiv­i­ties for a new co­hort, and go­ing back to Wash­ing­ton D.C. over the next two sum­mers.

Photo: Nebo School Dis­trict

Amy Oller­ton, right, par­tic­i­pates in the Teacher In­no­va­tor In­sti­tute at the Smith­so­nian’s Na­tional Air and Space Mu­seum.

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