I’m Mrs. Ewalt and I have the privilege of teaching you life science for one semester. I have been teaching since 2004, starting at CHMS in 2005. I earned my bachelor’s in biology from VCU, spent two years post-graduate work in anatomy and physiology and in 2015 earned my master’s in curriculum and instruction with a focus on integrated science, technology, engineering and science (STEM) education from Virginia Tech. On a personal note, I live with my husband, rottweiler-lab mix, pitbull, mini-dachshund and one cat. I play violin and mandolin, and have been sewing since I was ten, so occasionally bring these other passions into my classroom. Science remains one of my top passions. I love being able to share my knowledge with students, but love it even more when I see those light bulbs go off and students are able to figure things out on their own. You are the future, and science can help you do great things in your adult life and understand what is happening in the word around you.
In this classroom, learning is an active process. Students must work to learn material, and then apply what they have learned in novel ways. My goal is for students to apply higher level thinking skills, not just rote memorization – however, to reach higher levels, a child must begin with the basics. For life science, the baseline facts are represented by the vocabulary students must learn. There are 256 subject specific words used by the Dept. of Education in the Life Science curriculum framework that students will be learning this semester. For this reason, I expect all students should spend at least 15 minutes every night working on vocabulary alone. Words alone will not make you a scientist. You have to be able to apply those words – use them to think and ponder and find solutions and come up with questions of your own and investigate and make things bubble and cut stuff open and explore the world around you. That’s the higher level thinking. Students should also expect to spend about 15 minutes on other science homework – including review worksheets, book work, or simply studying notes from the day. This fifteen minutes will help prepare you for exciting classroom explorations as well. Since this is a semester class, the students will spend more time on science homework than the year-long English and math classes. The class will move faster as well, but if you plan for thirty minutes every day and complete all assigned work, you should do well learning about life science.