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During the summer, Academy physics teacher Kim Quire spent a
week at the Oxford Teacher Seminar, held at Mansfield College, in
Oxford, England. Quire enrolled in the study group, “Boundaries of
ScientificKnowledge,”which focusesonhowcutting-edgescientific
research canbe integrated into classroom teaching, not only in the
sciencesbut also inartsandhumanities.
Quire lived in a room at the college campus for a week and spent
her time fully immersed inallOxfordhas tooffer. Eachday included
lectures within her own study group, covering topics from the
fundamental questions of theoretical physics and biomimetics to
the impact infection has had on human evolution. In addition to
the lectures, each study group enjoyed multiple plenary sessions
eachday, allowing all participants tobenefit fromblended learning.
In the evening, participants enjoyed cultural activities, including a
performanceof “KingLear”atShakespeare in theParkand“Romeo
andJuliet” atOxfordCastle.
“I was fortunate; with the fellowship and the support of [the
Academy] science department, I was able to enjoy an incredible
week,meetingscience teachers fromacross theworld,”Quiresaid.
Because she was granted access to all of Oxford, Quire was able
to study artifacts that put the cutting-edge research she learned
about in context. Amajor inspiration during her stay was looking
through Elizabeth Blackwell’s journals. Blackwell was the first
female physician in theUnitedStates. Quire also visited theOxford
herbarium,whereshesawplants fromDarwin’s timeaswell as the
first potatoplant from theNewWorld.
The week also helped her reengage her passion for physics and
teaching, both from collaboratingwithher peers and learning from
some of the most revered scientists in the world. Perhaps most
impressive toQuirewas that fourof fiveguest lecturers inherstudy
groupwere female,ahighlightsheeagerlysharedwithherstudents.
“I shared the experiences of the female scientist withmy classes,”
Quire said. “It is opening eyes that science has been around a long
time, andyoucannever stop learning.Ourgirlscanbepart of that.”
The first preservedsampleof apotatoplant brought
back from theNewWorld in the1600’s.
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