2011-2012 Science Department: Professional Strengths
Dear EHS Community Members,
Science instruction at EHS begins in the earliest grades and accelerates along its path to the rich and varied college preparatory offerings in Upper School. In the Lower School, the science foundation is laid with a healthy mix of classroom instruction and innovative, engaging projects. Experience is certainly on the side of the Middle and Upper School science teachers, as you will read further on in this letter. Although not technically a part of the Science Department, the Instigator and Inquirist mentioned at the end of this letter will supplement, support, and enhance the number of science projects and events available to EHS students. Several exciting and timely programs are being piloted this year, as testament to the sensitivity of the faculty to the demands of our times.
Bruce Bowman is leading eight students in a ground breaking Online Engineering Academy Upper School course. The course partners with the Engineering Academy at Hoover High School in Birmingham, AL, a school known for its successful four-year high school engineering courses! I look forward to the students’ critical thinking and creativity that will, no doubt, flourish because of his efforts. The Science Department will work closely with Dr. Reuter to initiate a cross-curricular and cross-divisional water-quality research project called “OUR Waters” this year. Science expertise is sorely needed in our country, state and city these days. At EHS, we realize this need and will strive to deepen our positive contributions by exposing the beauty and practicality of "science" to EHS students.
Upper School Science Overview
Over the summer, a group of faculty and students joined creative forces and participated in “Summer Games and Magic,” a three-week NuVu Studio workshop here at EHS. The NuVu Studio is located in Cambridge, MA, and typically works with students in the Massachusetts area, but they could not turn down an opportunity to work with EHS faculty and staff after Dr. Reuter visited their studio last spring. Part of the workshop included a robot competition where student and faculty groups created robots designed to scoop up “energy spheres” in the form of ping pong balls. Student team “Domo” won after earning 222 points and English faculty--Ms. Kirschner, Ms. Milligan, and Ms. Edwards--successfully created “King Pong,” a robot that was highly successful in collecting the ping pong balls.
The Upper School Science department will continue the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) Club this year. Last year, STEM Club students participated in the Earth Day Festival and presented a demonstration about oil spill cleanup options. They will continue working with Ms. Pulliam this year. The Science Department is also working to organize other competitive teams that would allow students to showcase their skills to a wider audience. Also, Ms. Pulliam typically teaches Tropical Ecology every other year. Students should look for information on the course’s offering for next school year. As a part of this course, Ms. Pulliam will plan a trip to Costa Rica over Thanksgiving break, 2012!
Finally, junior and senior Upper School students are taking advantage of AP level courses offered this year: AP Chemistry, AP Physics (Mechanics in the fall and Electricity & Magnetism in the spring), and AP Biology.
Episcopal’s Upper School Science Faculty
“I love biology and the
creativity involved in helping
my students see the beauty and complexity of nature.”
Ms. Pulliam has been a member of the EHS faculty since 2000 and currently serves as Department Chair. She teaches 9th grade Biology and on occasion teaches Tropical Ecology, Botany, Human Anatomy and Marine Biology. Ms. Pulliam has a B.S. in Marine Biology from Auburn University and an M.Ed. in Secondary Science from LSU. She is involved in STEM Club and is a Youth Build Coordinator for Habitat for Humanity, as well as Honors Thesis advisor and reader. This year she will work with Chris Sammons, a senior, who is studying the effects of the British Petroleum (BP) oil spill on Copepods in the Gulf of Mexico. With Ms. Pulliam’s help, Chris is also working with Dr. Mark Benfield at LSU.
“Understanding the process is more important than knowing the answer. Of course, the answer is important, too, and always include units.”
Dr. Morden teaches AP Physics (12th grade), Astronomy (11th and 12th), and Physics Honors (11th and 12th grade). She has been a member of the EHS faculty since 2000. Dr. Morden holds a B.A. in Chemistry from University of California San Diego and a Ph.D. in Biophysical Chemistry from the University of California Berkeley. Dr. Morden is particularly excited about an upcoming Dark Sky Site Trip for Astronomy students, a video analysis of EHS sports in AP Physics, and rollercoaster design in Physics Honors. Look for Dr. Morden toting a telescope to the football games and stick around after the game to star gaze with Astronomy students!
“Everyday is a gift from God,
do not waste it!”
Dr. Hawking is entering his 19th year as a member of the EHS faculty. He teaches 9th grade Honors Biology, 11th and 12th grade Human Anatomy and AP Biology. Although he is not an EHS alum, his wife is! Dr. Hawking holds a B.S. in Biological Sciences, M.Ed. and Ed.D. from the University of Arkansas. In addition to teaching, he is the Head Tennis Coach. Dr. Hawking has led his tennis players to great success, most recently leading the girls’ team to 3rd place and the boys’ team to 4th in the state tournament. This year in Science, Dr. Hawking is particularly excited about adding more and more Biotechnology to his courses.
“We DO Science.”
Mr. Bowman, an engineer, has been a member of the EHS community for a decade since his appointment in 2001. His daughter, Robin, graduated from EHS in 2010, and his son, Jack, is a current freshman student. Mr. Bowman teaches Physics (11th and 12 grade), Environmental Science (11th and 12 grade), Geology (11th and 12th grade), and is piloting the new Online Engineering Academy for junior and senior students. He holds a B.S. in Science Education from LSU and also serves as Junior Class sponsor, Middle School Softball coach, Grill Club sponsor and will support students interested in robotics. He is particularly excited for his students to participate in Eggg Dropp!™, ROCKetFEST™, “OUR Waters” water quality study, alternative energy investigations and the Online Engineering Academy.
“I do not at all understand the mystery of grace – only that it meets us where we are but does not leave us where it found us.”
– Anne Lamott.
In addition to her role as a 9th grade Algebra I teacher in the Math Department, Ms. Holland teaches Honors Chemistry (10th grade) and AP Chemistry (11th and 12th grade). Ms. Holland holds a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from Louisiana Tech University. Her three children are past and present EHS students. Mallory is a current freshman; Micaela graduated in 2008; and Christian graduated in 2005. This year in her Science classes, Ms. Holland is excited to celebrate Mole Day in October with Honors Chemistry students (a “mole” is a measure of quantity used extensively in Chemistry to express reagents and products of chemical reactions). In the spring, her students will do a week-long titration lab and will produce a video on the book Napoleon’s Buttons. Ms. Holland also assists the 9th grade class sponsor and serves as National Honor Society Advisor.
“A good teacher is one who can understand those who are not very good at explaining, and explain to those who are not
very good at understanding.”
– Dwight D. Eisenhower
Mr. Lowe is beginning his 8th year at EHS and teaches Chemistry (10th grade), Science Investigations (11th and 12th grade), and Marine Biology (11th and 12th grade). His daughter, Katie, graduated from EHS in 2011, and Abigail is a current 7th grader. Mr. Lowe holds a B.S. in Zoology from LSU and serves as the Senior Beta Club sponsor. Mr. Lowe looks forward to his Chemistry students designing and conducting experiments. In the forensic entomology section of Science Investigations, students will observe the decay of a wild pig cadaver and document the insect activity as a way of determining the time of death in humans. Marine Biology students will visit one of the Louisiana coastal research centers in the spring and find out what current research is happening in the Marine Biology field.
Middle School Science Overview
Please check out the Satsuma orchard located between Foster Hall and Lower School, which was made possible by current 6th grade students Louise Andreef, McCall D’Armond, Angelina Leo, Rachel Posner and Skylar Yegge. These students led efforts last year to establish the Fifth Grade Legacy Fund and planted the final tree on the first day of school this year. As these nascent biologists make their transition to Middle School, they leave behind the fruits of their labor for our whole campus to enjoy.
Ms. Flanders and Ms. Perret will continue to engage Science students by using digital data collection. Digital data collection provides opportunities for hands on application of concepts and critical thinking skills as students interpret raw data. Students learn what happens as variables are manipulated during the experimentation process while collecting data.
Episcopal’s Middle School Science Faculty
Ms. Flanders joined our EHS community in 2008 and teaches 8th grade Physical Science. This full-year course is an introduction to chemistry and physics and includes the major concepts of scientific method, matter and energy, atomic structure, chemical reactions, carbon chemistry, motion, sound, light and optics, waves, space exploration, and rocketry. In addition, current events and environmental issues are emphasized throughout the year. In the spring, students will build rockets during their study of space! She is also the Jr. Beta Club sponsor and leads students in their efforts to stock the pantry at the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank each spring. Ms. Flanders has a B.S. in Medical Technology and a B.S. in Laboratory Technology from Auburn University. Her son, Spencer, is a current junior at EHS and participates in cross country, power lifting and baseball. Ms. Flander’s daughter, Lanier, graduated in May and attends Rhodes College in Memphis where she is on the track and cross country teams.
“Whoever is happy, will make others happy, too.” – Anne Frank
This year marks Mr. Rhea’s 18th year at EHS. Emphasizing critical thinking in his classroom, he teaches 7th grade Life Science and Nature by Design, a 7th grade elective course. Mr. Rhea holds a B.S. in Elementary Education and Special Education and an M.S. in Supervision and Administration from LSU. In addition to classroom teaching, he is a Grade Level Coordinator, a member of the Admissions Committee and coaches 7th grade girls’ volleyball. Mr. Rhea loves Middle School and is among the school’s most popular and admired teachers at EHS.
“Teaching is the profession that creates all others.”
Ms. Perret teaches 6th grade Science and is beginning her 11th year at EHS. She has a B.S. and M.A. from LSU and is a National Board Certified Teacher of Science/Early Adolescence. Ms. Perret is the proud mother of three sons who attend EHS. Jacob is a current 11th grader, Blaine is a current 7th grader, and Noah is in 2nd grade. In addition to teaching, she is the Middle School Play Director, Lower School Drama Workshop Director’s Assistant and Jr. Thespian Club sponsor. Ms. Perret is looking forward to the second year of the netbook program and using technology to enhance lab experiences. Students can also look forward to the edible volcano project in Ms. Perret’s class!
Lower School Science Overview
Science is alive and well in Lower School! While 1st grade looks forward to units on animals and matter, Ms. Brown’s 4th grade students recently created a 3-D model of the Earth with clay and studied the different layers. The 4th grade team is looking forward to studying volcanoes soon. Science can even be found in Ms. Boudreaux’s 5th grade English class where students have begun reading Gary Paulsen’s Hatchet and are considering what it means to be a “fifth grade survivor.” They will explore books, videos, pack a figurative backpack, design a scaled down shelter and keep a real log. Discussions about the elements and the environment and their impact on the body will be pertinent to their understanding of the book. On Fridays, you will see Mr. James’ 5th grade students collect recycling materials from all buildings and classrooms. Last school year, Mr. James’ 5th graders recycled 20,487 pounds, saving 171 trees. Thank you to the fifth grade and Mr. James for keeping our campus clean and environmentally conscious!
The Instigator & Inquirist—An Introduction
“Science does not know its
debt to imagination."
--Ralph Waldo Emerson
The full teaching and co-curricular schedules of Episcopal’s active science faculty illustrated in this letter, pointed toward a need for just the right person to lead students with supplemental science/math/creative projects and assist those interested in science fairs, competitions, and exhibitions. Just the right person surfaced in early August---Brittany Szczepanik (pronounced “Suz-panik”); with the support of the Academic Excellence Fund, she was brought onboard just after the start of school. For the last couple of weeks, Ms. Szczepanik, Dr. Reuter, and I have been planning a year-long program that will result in various “instigations” and “inquiries” from Pre-K into Upper School. This formative work being done now is very exciting to me because it allows me to see us grasping many, many opportunities to make science come alive for more and more of our students. Thanks to the Academic Excellence Fund support, seizing these opportunities will not detract from the already attractive array of science courses offered at EHS. We are, in other words, creating a system around science-math-creativity that is sustainable both in and out of the classroom. I look forward to a time, just a little further down the road, when you will receive more detailed information on Instigator & Inquirist’s plans. In the meantime, please enjoy—with me—the thought that EHS is the only school in the universe with its own Instigator & Inquirist!
Next, look for the first Lower School feature installment as we recognize and celebrate--in detail--our Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, First and Second grade faculty and students!
Hugh M. McIntosh
Head of School
Episcopal High School | 3200 Woodland Ridge Boulevard | Baton Rouge, LA 70816 | 225-753-3180www.ehsbr.org