Award Given For Exceptional Agricultural Science Education
South Carolina teacher receives DuPont Pioneer Excellence Award from National Science Teachers Association
The National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning, has announced the recipients of its 2016 Teacher Awards.
Every year, NSTA recognizes extraordinary K–12 teachers, professors, principals, and science educators for their outstanding achievements in science education.
“These teachers and science education professionals have shown tremendous dedication and commitment to their students and to science education,” noted NSTA President Carolyn Hayes. “We are so proud to honor them as they help to inspire the next generation of informed citizens, scientists, engineers, and innovators who can embrace all that science can offer.”
Marie Lemon, a science teacher at Greenville Early College High School in Greenville, SC was awarded the DuPont Pioneer Excellence in Agricultural Science Education Award. This award honors science teachers who have made extraordinary contributions to the field of agricultural science education.
Greenville Early College High School recently became a project-based/problem-based learning school, so Lemon was challenged to plan projects to make the experiences relevant to students and offer real-world opportunities. Lemon’s school is housed in a converted shopping mall, so there was the added challenge of the lack of green spaces, no science labs and no classroom windows. Together, Lemon and her students researched alternative farming methods for a healthy plant habitat, students also researched how to bring sun into the classroom, which resulted in their “virtual sun” (LEDs and fluorescent lights). Students carried out investigations on germination and growing lettuce using LEDs and fluorescent lights in hydroponic systems.
“It is my sincere belief that all students have something to contribute to the learning process,” said Lemon. “I begin with what is familiar to my kids to build confidence, allowing them to share what they already know, or think they know. This gives them a baseline from which to take charge of their learning with my guidance as their facilitator for the skills they need to develop in the process.”
“Ms. Lemon’s unique approach helps her students understand food, science and agriculture through hands-on activities that connect to our everyday lives,” said Paul Schickler, president of DuPont Pioneer. “Teachers play an important role in increasing exposure to science-related career possibilities at an early age. This will support the development of a workforce that can handle the challenges our industry and global community face.”
Lemon received a freestanding award, a $5000 grant for her agricultural science program, paid expenses to attend the NSTA National Conference on Science Education in Nashville, mentoring with a DuPont Pioneer scientist, classroom resources from DuPont Pioneer, and access to a DuPont Pioneer product plant or research facility.
“Teaching science through projects certainly requires resources,” said Lemon. “Thanks to DuPont, I plan on purchasing science equipment. The funds will go a long way towards the purchase of the kind of resources needed to facilitate next year’s projects. Many thanks to DuPont Pioneer for this wonderful opportunity for my kids!”
The Arlington, VA-based National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) is the largest professional organization in the world promoting excellence and innovation in science teaching and learning for all. NSTA’s current membership includes approximately 55,000 science teachers, science supervisors, administrators, scientists, business and industry representatives, and others involved in science education.