Jay Hooper, a calculus teacher at Centennial High School in Champaign, IL, has taken an unconventional approach to teaching. Turning his class on its head, Hooper focused on giving the students a greater chance to utilize class time. “In calculus, the students would probably really struggle on the homework and come back the next day with a ton of questions. So, you would spend half the period answering questions and then you would lecture again,” says Hooper of the traditional format.
Professor Mats Selen of the Physics Department at the University of Illinois is Principal Investigator of the EnLiST Project. As part of creating instructional materials for the EnLiST Physics Summer Institute for high school physics teachers, he has developed what he fondly refers to as a ‘lab gadget,’ which he hopes will help change the way physics labs cater to student learning needs. By using relatively inexpensive components he has been able to hook up the lab gadget to various measurement devices, such as an accelerometer, a Hall probe, and a high-gain amplifier.
In its efforts to nurture entrepreneurial STEM teacher leaders, the EnLiST project strives to engage EnLiST Fellows in ever expanding collaborations and learning networks that cut across science content areas and classrooms, as well as school levels and buildings, both within and across the EnLiST partner school districts.
Professor Alexander Scheeline in the Department of Chemistry at the University of Illinois is one of the Senior Personnel on the EnLiST project. Along with a number of colleagues in the Department of Chemistry, he has been pivotal to the development and delivery of the EnLiST Chemistry Summer Institute; a two-week intensive learning experience for EnLiST Fellows who teach high school chemistry.
When high school sophomore Ana Hernandez proposed her science fair project about biodiesel emissions, she had not planned on launching a suite of biodiesel processors for other Chicago Public Schools and The Museum of Science and Industry. Fueled by physics teacher Brian Sievers’ innovation and a desire to change the world, the Whitney M. Young Magnet High School student teamed up with four classmates to do that and more.
Beth Chamberlain, a teacher of Physics, Chemistry and Engineering; the Science Department Co-Head at Danville High School; and a long-time EnLiST Fellow, embodies the essence of what it means to be an entrepreneurial STEM teacher leader. In addition to teaching science to high school students in the formal setting of her school, Chamberlain constantly seeks opportunities and resources to make science learning accessible and engaging to younger students in informal settings.