Ms. Vanhala's Science Teaching Philosophy

My science teaching mission statement: 
To inspire students to love learning, to continually ask questions, and to think critically about the world around them.
In my class, teaching is interactive and collaborative rather than didactic. This means that students are very much responsible for their own learning and spend a lot of time working with their lab groups in activities designed to guide them to their own conclusions and understanding. They are creating their own knowledge and discovering science authentically on a daily basis. Although traditional lecture and notes might feel more familiar and comfortable to many of my students (and we will still do that from time to time), I firmly believe that skills such as collaboration, communication, and creative thinking are more important than rote memorization and regurgitation. Therefore, my classroom is designed to give students hands-on experiences so that they feel comfortable using these skills on a daily basis as they engage in science practices (as outlined by the new Next Generation Science Standards) just as real scientists would. 

My ultimate goal by the end of the year is for students to leave my class not only with some knowledge of science, but more importantly with the ability to think for themselves.