Science department starts off new school year with new teachers, new class


Students have created models of muscles in the face during their human body systems (PLTW) class. Sophomore Caroline Meador takes the class and said she wanted to continue to the second year because she enjoyed the first-year class and was really interested in what else there was to learn in the program. SELENA QIAN//PHOTO

According to the department chairperson Jennifer Marlow, the science department will have its next meeting Sept. 13 after school. At the beginning of the school year, Marlow said, the department is very busy, as they are still working to readjust and get into a rhythm, especially with the changes.

“Most of our department meetings this year are really going to focus on Canvas, and helping all the teachers in every department get comfortable using Canvas minimally, but also our goal is throughout the year to get teachers comfortable using it where they can actually post assignments, do quizzes online with the kids,” Marlow said.

The department has three new teachers this year as well: Alyssa Mastin, human body systems and earth and space science teacher; James Hambley, Biology I and botany teacher; and Spencer Fields, Biology I teacher and men’s and women’s tennis head coach. Mastin teaches the department’s one new class, human body systems.

Sophomore Caroline Meador takes the new class.

“So far, we’ve built a skeletal model, and we’ve used clay to show where some muscles in the head are. We’ve had a quiz over directional and regional terms, and we’ve done a couple of activities,” she said. “I like how it’s anatomy-based, so I feel like we’re learning a lot about the body, and they’re (kind of) tied together.”

Meador said she enjoys the class, and her teacher, Sarah Gillim, principles of biomedical science (PLTW) and human body systems teacher said she enjoys teaching it as well. Gillim said students are encouraged to take a slightly different approach to learning, with more hands-on activities and self-guided research due to the fact that the class has no textbook.

“I really enjoy teaching the biomed type of courses. I really like that. I used to be a pathologist, so both courses are right up my alley,” Gillim said. “Both courses are something that I am really familiar with, and I like a lot of hands-on things, and kids figuring some things out with guidance. I don’t like it to be a total black box for them because I don’t think that’s sensible, but for them to go through what I call ‘the struggle,’ to try to figure things out.”

Also, according to Marlow, the Indiana Junior Academy of Science (IJAS) competition will be Nov. 14, and students who wish to register should see her before Nov. 1, the registration deadline. For projects like IJAS Marlow said this year, statistics teacher Matthew Wernke will be helping students with the statistics components of their research, and she said she encourages students to see him if they would like help.