In The Wizard of Oz, the “great and powerful Oz” instills wonder in those around him through seemingly magical means.
At Sonoran Science Academy Davis-Monthan in Tucson, Arizona, “Mr. Oz,” also known as Oguz Guvenc, takes a different approach by letting his students create their own sense of wonder and excitement. Mr. Oz, Pitsco’s September 2014 Teacher of the Month, teaches physical science, conceptual physics, astronomy, and Science Olympiad topics and claims he is happiest when preparing projects that mean something to his students.
“All of the classes that I teach are project based,” he says. “Students learn in context with a real-life goal. They are always excited in my class and that makes me love what I do.”
Activities such as his “Road Hazards Project,” which involved students researching traffic-related issues and presenting them to community leaders, and his “Catapult Wars” project for his conceptual physics class engage students and teach them to own their learning.
Project-based, hands-on learning is the key, says Guvenc, recalling the change in his students when he moved from a lecture-based classroom to project-based teaching. “My students started coming to my class to work during recess, lunch, after school, and even in the morning to complete their projects. Those were the same students I could not even get to my tutoring to make up for their missed quizzes!”
So although his projects take a considerable amount of time and effort, Guvenc says it’s all worth it. “My greatest achievement is seeing my students more engaged and excited about my class than they are . . . for their most favorite video game.”
Congratulations on being named our September 2014 Teacher of the Month, Mr. Oz. Keep creating the magic!
Learn more about Oguz Guvenc here. Read about our other Teacher of the Month recipients at www.pitsco.com/TeacheroftheMonth.
By Rena Mincks, TAG member, Jefferson Elementary, Pullman, WA
Sometimes keeping my highly capable third-, fourth-, and fifth-grade students enthused and engaged can be challenging. Not with straw rockets. All students were actively engaged in designing, building, and experimenting with the easy-to-use materials. Rich conversations around velocity, length of flight, and angle of launch were heard for weeks as students would change one variable at a time, including length of straw, weight of nose cone in relation to length of straw, types of fins, and number of fins. Students were designing various data tables to see which type was easiest to read. Measurements needed to be accurate to see exactly which rocket performed the best.
Straw Rockets - Getting Started PackageStraw Rocket Launcher Lesson PlanDrawing the Short Straw
Forces within the Earth bend and strain the thin crust on which we live. When these forces are strong enough, they cause the crust to snap causing an earthquake. We have all seen the tremendous damage and devastation that can occur especially to manmade structures. Engineers, architects, and scientists have to work together to understand how earthquakes work and construct structures to withstand these forces.
Want your student(s) to learn the difference between a live load and a dead load? How about how engineers create buildings to withstand an earthquake's force? How excited would your student(s) be to design and test how structures are affected by earthquakes?
Using the myQuake miniSystem, students can design, construct, and test structures for earthquake resistance in a dynamic way. This system is ideal for teaching about resonant frequencies, sensor measurement, and data acquisition and analysis. Pitsco offers two different two-student packages that utilize the myQuake miniSystem.
In the Understand Structures & Earthquakes Action Pack, students explore components of an earthquake and the factors engineers must consider when constructing earthquake-resistant buildings. Students will complete lessons focused on answering questions such as these: Why do structures crumble in an earthquake? Is there such a thing as an earthquake-resistant structure? They will design and build an earthquake-resistant structure. The myQuake Teacher’s Guide provides two weeks of curriculum, and the Action Pack contains enough materials and equipment for two students.
Earth science, physics, and engineering all combine in the study of earthquakes to make a dynamic learning opportunity that is captured in the myQuake Mini Pack. In the myQuake Mini Pack, students learn about seismic waves, plate tectonics, and other key concepts; build simple structures to test on the myQuake; experiment with the Harmonic Highrise to see resonant frequency; and perform other activities. The myQuake Teacher’s Guide provides three weeks of curriculum, and the Mini Pack contains enough materials and equipment for two students.
Visit www.pitsco.com to find out more about the myQuake miniSystem.