Early in Rick's teaching career he learned that although students have different learning style's, they all learned better by "doing" Science. His Science labs and projects evolved from canned recipe style activities to project based and STEM type projects. Rick taught nine years in public schools before having the opportunity to develop both the Science and Math curriculum at a newly formed progressive private school where he taught for six years.
From there, he became a Science educator at the Edgerton Explorit Center. Harold "Doc" Edgerton's work in strobe photography was truly inspirational for Rick. Doc'c enthusiasm was best typified by the way he was always pulling people in to his lab to show them his latest discoveries and get them to help hin with his experiments. Doc's work and his excitement about Science convinced Rick that the love of Science is caught not taught and Rick does everything to develop a positive studnet attitude toward Science. He is on a mission to get students of all ages excited about how Science works and all the wonderful things we can do with it.
Working at the Edgerton Center allowed Rick to develop new and excititng programs that really got students excited about Science while presenting important concepts that were included in state science standards. It also made him realize that he needed to move past the science center experience and get into schools so he could work closer with both students and teachers. In the classroom, Rick can better help students realize how science process works and scientists do their work and model those attributes for students and teachers.
Since moving to North Carolina in 2010, Rick has worked independently doing a variety of Science programs for schools in the state. During this time, he has also continued to develop quality Science Programs such as "Meet Sir Isaac Newton," Otto von Guericke: Inventor of NOTHING," and STEM projects that align with NC Science standerds. In his "Meet Sir Isaac Newton" program instead of learning stuff about an old dead guy, students meet Sir Isaac up close and personal. They learn about his life and work through an interactive discussion with the scientist himself. Instead of reading and memorizing his three Laws of Motion they help him just like Doc Edgerton used to do in his lab. The students see the laws of motion in action in fun and exciting ways. They also get a feel for all the trials and tribulations that Newton went through as he presented his ideas to a skeptical scientific community. In 2013, Rick was accepted into the United Arts Council of Wake County's "Artists in the Schools" program as a storyteller for his "Meet Sir Isaac Newton" presentation. He has also become part of the USA Science and Engineering Festival Science Spark's 'Nifty Fifty" program. He will be doing the Newton program in the Washington, DC area at various middle and high schools during the 2013-14 school year.
Rick does his STEM projects as one week "Scientist in Residence" programs where he presents a problem or challenge to the students and facilitates as they build projects to solve the problem. These projects use the Engineering Design Process (similar to the Scientific Method) Students learn how to ask, imagine plan, create, improve and communicate as they build a project to solve a real life problem. They also learn and practice many of the 21st Century skills that we want our students to have as resposible citizens. The learning and innovation skills they work on include creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, and communication and collaboration. The life and career skills students practice include flexibility and adaptibility and using their initiative and self-direction. Since they work together in teams students also work on many team building skills.
Rick's Bio and Contact Info:
3822 St. Lucy Drive
Franklinton, NC 27525