Last month, I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to attend the annual ATA Science Conference in Banff. It was one of the most memorable PD opportunities I have had in a long time. Not only were there some informative sessions on elementary science, there were two amazing keynote speakers that I was excited to see. Little did I know that I would get to meet one too!
George Kourounis was the first speaker at the conference. He is the host and scientist on the Canadian show, Angry Planet. He is a professional storm chaser and has intercepted major natural disasters such as Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Katrina. He scaled 60 feet into an erupting volcano on his wedding day and has chased hundreds of twisters in Tornado Alley. His passion for learning and love of his career resonated throughout his presentation. The second speaker, Bill Nye, was equally astounding. The energy and buzz amongst all of the teachers was phenomenal. I recall Bill Nye’s videos being a big hit when I was in school and they continue to be well received by my students too. Seeing him live was an amazing experience. In the early 2000s, Bill assisted in the development of a sundial on the Mars Exploration Rover. Although he is no longer making shows, he continues to devote his time to The Planetary Society.
Reflecting on these two amazing keynote speakers got me thinking a lot about my teaching practices in science. George Kourounis and Bill Nye both have a true and sincere passion for science, which is something I strive to instill in my students.
“If you can imagine it, you can achieve it. If you can dream it, you can become it.” ~William Arthur Ward
My name is Jen Hollman and I am a teacher at Keephills School. Science is one of my favourite subjects because it’s all about discovery.