Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

F.a.S.T. Track Science Teacher Finalist for Excellence Award

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

F.a.S.T. Track Science Teacher Finalist for Excellence Award

Article excerpt

Lois Comrie, a science teacher at Immaculate Conception School in Dardenne, is one of three state finalists for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Science Teaching.

"I was pleased, of course, and a little surprised," said Comrie, "There are so many good teachers out there and in the school. There are so many that to be singled out it is really an honor.

"Our science program is an inquiry-based program," Comrie said, "and I'm teaching a program called F.A.S.T. (Foundation Approaches to Science and Technology ), so the kids get to do a lot of hands-on. I take it a step further and use ideas from wherever I can get them. The kids enjoy that." Last school year, Comrie said, seventh- and eighth-graders made their own hot air balloons , which were about 3 feet high and almost that wide. "We launched them, and they were a big hit, she said. "They looked pretty spectacular." Comrie has also taught her students to make submarines as part of a lesson on density. "The object is to make one that sinks, then floats and then sinks again. By the time the kids got that one done, they felt pretty good." Now, sixth-graders are making caves, some out of cardboard boxes and some of clay. "They're doing it pretty much on their own," she said. Meanwhile, eighth-graders are composting and working on filtering light. Seventh-grade science classes are competing to see which group can dry soil the fastest. "It's not the most exciting thing," Comrie said, but the students have already built rockets that they have fired into the air. The rocket project, she said, "is pretty common." Principal Barbara Rupp, who nominated Comrie, said she was proud that she was chosen a finalist. "I guess I was a little surprised," said Rupp. "Sometime private and parochial schools are not in the running" for such an honor. "She really gets the children involved. She doesn't teach about science, but teaches them to be scientists," Rupp said. "She is constantly doing smaller things like finding the specific gravity of liquids and testing for the composition of some matter. …

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