Dan Brown ’09, a science teacher at Shelbyville (Ind.) High School, has been named a Dow-NSTA Fellow in the New Science Teacher Academy. He earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education from Butler.
One of six science teachers selected from Indiana, and 215 nationwide, Brown will participate in a year of web-based professional development activities and mentoring. He will also receive financial support to attend and participate in NSTA’s 2012 National Conference on Science Education in Indianapolis in March.
With Shelbyville High School since August 2011, Brown teaches biology, chemistry and physics to students in grades 9-12. He also coaches 7th grade girls basketball.
To qualify for the fellowship, he submitted an essay, recommendations, and a lesson plan demonstrating his ability to differentiate instruction for all levels of students.
“Luckily, the recommendations I had from Butler (Dr. Meredith McAllister) and my co-operating teachers were very positive,” Brown said.
His lesson plan offered a different approach to a standard chemistry lesson: finding empirical formulas for common household substances.
Traditionally, instructors teach this topic through a lecture and worksheet, he said.
“I teach it by going over one example problem via notes,” he said. “Students then move through lab stations, where they calculate the formulas for bleach, ammonia, sugar, etc. All the while, I circulate the room and help with students who are struggling.”
A science teacher from New Hampshire is mentoring Brown under the fellowship. “We have contact via e-mail or phone once or twice a week,” he said.
“Three times throughout this year, I will undergo an inquiry project. There are several different topics to choose from. Each requires a planning phase, an implementation phase and a reflection phase. Each inquiry I prepare will be revised by veteran teachers and will be implemented by me in my classroom. In addition, I will also videotape these lessons and get feedback from my advisor.”
He has also taught at Ben Davis High School in Indianapolis, and served as a substitute teacher for Bartholomew County School Corporation and volunteer assistant boys’ basketball coach at Columbus (Ind.) East High School.