Sage on the Stage to the Guide on the Side

I had a brilliant conversation with a colleague. She shared with me - and shared correctly - that teachers are the ones who make the greatest impact on student success. For this reason, teachers still need to be experts in their content area.

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Stretching the Spandex of Spacetime

Sometimes, we get strange looks buying things in stores. Like the one asking why we’re buying five yards of hot red spandex using a tax-exempt form. Then there are the looks of helpless pity from homeowners just trying to fix their sink as these two people stumble through the hardware store aisles clutching an irresponsible number of 8-foot lengths of electrical conduit, knocking paint brushes from their display hooks. There are the strange looks from students as we spend five hours, attempting to assemble what appeared to passerby as a gigantic hamster wheel, only for it to snap apart over and over, vaulting PVC fittings into the air in the Barry commons.

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Service Learning at Don Bosco Center

Since 1972, Rockhurst High School’s senior class has been spending the beginning two and a half weeks of January spreading out for their senior service projects. This year we invested some of our effort in a service learning educational approach to one of the projects. Moreover, since this is the year we kicked off our school’s STEAM initiative, we wanted to take on a project that brings technical experience to our students (coding specifically).

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Spelunking

Recently I was invited my Luke McLellan and his boys in the Outdoor Club to join them for a spelunking trip to share some geology knowledge during the trek. I was excited for the invitation and grateful for the opportunity. What could be more “STEAM” than combining adventure and science???

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Solar System Ambassador For Hire

Back in September I was notified that the Jet Propulsion Laboratory was accepting applications for their Solar System Ambassador Program. I have always been fascinated with the science and engineering that has come out of JPL. JPL is the lab that is administrated by NASA at Cal Tech that has designed, developed, and managed such programs as the three Mars rovers (Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity), the Dawn mission at Ceres, the Cassini mission at Saturn, the Juno mission heading to Jupiter, and the Spitzer Space Telescope. Knowing this, I knew I wanted to apply to such a tremendous program.

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Faith and Astronomy

I was very fortunate to travel recently to Tucson, Arizona to attend a workshop through the Vatican Observatory Foundation. The workshop was titled "Faith and Astronomy" where the objective was to discuss the relationship between the Church and science through the eyes of astronomy. As a staunch supporter of astronomy, it was an honor to attend such a workshop as it was administered by Jesuit Brother Guy Consolmagno, the director of the Vatican Observatory. Brother Guy is one of the celebrities of astronomy and someone who has brought a better understanding of how the Catholic Church views advancements in science. To spend time with him over the week was a once in a career opportunity.

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Research Statistics

Last November, I had the opportunity to participate in the NCSSS (National Consortium of Secondary STEM Schools) conference in New York City. An acronym that contains an acronym? How meta! Rockhurst High School can learn a lot about the successes and challenges experienced by other STEM schools. Ultimately, how can Rockhurst integrate some of these innovative ideas with the non-negotiable Jesuit identity that is paramount in forming men for others?

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Robotics Students Compete for Top Honors

After school on Dec. 14, the top teams competed in the finals in the Barry Commons, surrounded by fellow classmates and teachers.

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God Don't Make No Junk

The algebra, geometry, trigonometry, and calculus skills taught in the Math Department are the tools that programmers, scientists, and engineers use to describe the wondrous world our God has created. As an instructor steeped in the Jesuit tradition, I constantly remind our young sons of Ignatius to see God’s presence in all things, “God don’t make no junk.”

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NSTA Conference

Recently I attended a conference in Philadelphia by the National Science Teachers Association that focused primarily on engineering. During my time at the conference I was quickly reminded that no one has “solved” STEAM, that its concept, in each individual academic community, is developed through the creativity of the teachers and designed for the needs of the student body. There is not, and there likely never will be, a national answer for STEAM that reaches the needs of all schools.

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Question?

We are in the midst of an ambitious education initiative and at the very core is the important question…what is best for our students’ academic future? While acquisition of knowledge is important, what does it allow our students to do? What does it allow them to become? Does lecturing basic facts lead to skill acquisition?

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Middle School Math Day

The math department hosted 19 middle school math teachers, on November 13th. The day was an opportunity to meet them and to collaborate and exchange ideas. Our invitations were met with a lot of excitement, and that made the day easy to put together.

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A Visit to K-State and the High School Programming Competition

Eleven young men from The Rock ventured out to Kansas State University to compete in their annual high school programming contest.

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Teacher Interviews

At the very core of our STEAM Initiative is the inclusiveness of all its aspects. It is our objective to impact each student in each of his classes, allowing him to experience an holistic academic culture. Throughout my research, travels, and conversations I have discovered that the cornerstone of our initiative, without debate, are the people within the Rockhurst community. Our creativity, our desires to improve, our professionalism, our care for our students, our openness to new ideas…these are paramount to meeting our objectives. No purchasing of materials or building new structure can meet what we can do as teachers. We are STEAM.

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The Times They Are A Changin', Bob Dylan 1965

Come gather 'round people wherever you roam and admit that the waters around you have grown and accept it that soon you'll be drenched to the bone if your time to you is worth savin' then you better start swimmin' or you'll sink like a stone for the times they are a-changin'. - Bob Dylan

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