In Joy McCook’s high school science classroom, learning is all about hands-on discovery. Joy’s students come to her with hypotheses and propose experiments to test them. Her response? “As long as we feel it’s safe, we’ll do it.”
Running a classroom this way requires a great deal of resources, such as test tubes, oxygen kits and water testing kits. Many of these resources need to be replaced every year, or even every six months. But for Joy, the cost is worth being able to encourage her students to think deeply and ask questions. She likes that in science, there’s not always one right answer.
“It’s not just A+B=C,” she said. “You find things out through failure.” Joy believes this lesson will help students outside of the classroom as well. Beyond teaching science, Joy builds a connection with her students, and practices “tough-love” in the classroom.
“I’ll do what I have to do to help them,” she says. In the case of one former student–whose other teachers didn’t feel he would finish high school–that meant working with him one-on-one until he went from a struggling student to an “A” student.
Joy says that it’s this connection with the students that keeps her going.
“They tell me some of the most heartbreaking stories that most adults don’t face, and they still come to class every day.”
Last year, Joy was able to take her students to the Atlantic Ocean to do water testing. Though the ocean is only 20 miles away from the school, many of her students had never been there.
This year, she would like to take it a step further. Not only does she want to do water testing in the Atlantic, she would like to collaborate with schools in Texas and Alaska and share results.
To make this possible, Joy needs a hand. Donations to her classroom will help provide STEM supplies, making her students’ experiments possible, and could help fund another trip to the ocean.
In Joy’s words, “More resources mean more opportunities for my students.”
To donate now, click here.
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