Science students at Green Fields K-12 School explored and detailed science career options that appealed to them personally – ranging from forensic science and wildlife biology to medicine, electron microscopy, nuclear physics and working for NASA – and won the $1,000 first prize in STEM Visions Contest presented by Legends of Learning, a game-based learning platform for teachers based in Washington, D.C.
Green Fields science teacher Kimberly King said, "The goal of the STEM Visions Contest is to use games to engage students in science lessons, then challenge them to imagine a future in science." Twenty one students in grades six through 12 wrote 150-word descriptions of their potential career choices and posted their photos and entries online. King said the school will use the prize money to purchase materials to run DNA gels in biology, chemicals for chemistry class and case-study access for Advanced Placement psychology. King also earned a Legends of Learning license for the school.
Judges for the Legends of Learning contest said Green Fields was selected for the first
prize because of "an impressive array of ideas they have for how to impact the world in their future careers." Many of the mini-essays were quite specific:
-- "I would enjoy studying wax moth larva and their ability to eat polyethylene, as a
potential way to clean our oceans. The downside being that, as moths, their primary
source of food is honey bees, so maybe genetically modify their larva to not eat
honey bees. I find wax moths and their larva very interesting and would thoroughly
enjoy studying to make our planet a cleaner place," wrote William, a sophomore.
-- Senior Olivia hopes to practice Gonstead chiropractics, which has personally
benefited her for pain management for her scoliosis. "I what to give people hope that
their problems can be fixed in non-invasive ways."
-- Sophomore Cody wrote in part, "I am interested in science journalism because I like
to take photos of nature and write about them. I hope to make science more
accessible to read about. A dream would be to work for National Geographic."
-- Sixth grade student Maria would become a doctor. "I would also make new
medicines. I would hope that I could find a medicine in a common living thing – for
example a carrot."
-- "Drawing is something I enjoy so illustrating books would be a good fit for me.
Drawing for biology or environmental books would help students better understand
and visualize the world in a different way," wrote senior Eva.
-- "I would like to be a wildlife biologist. This field interests me because it involves
catching wild animals and tagging them. I am the person who does not like to sit at a
desk and learn. I like to go out and learn hands on," wrote JoJo, a sophomore.
King has taught at Green Fields for 10 years. She said, "Students are naturally curious.
They are interested in the world around them and love learning how their bodies work.
When my students are intrigued, teaching and learning is more fun for them and for me.
They become active rather than passive learners when they are encouraged to be
curious and ask questions."
One student detailed his great expectations. Freshman Tanvin wrote in part, "I want to
be a great engineer. I want to be the one who creates a new world – to be able to
explore the vast reaches of space by inventing new technologies and powerful vehicles to push us there, and to discover new life forms and other cool, amazing and exotic
things. I am going to go down in history books next to Albert Einstein."
"Legends of Learning helps educators make their classrooms fun, engaging and productive learning environments through research-driven, curriculum-based games," said company spokesman Geoff Livingston. "Legends of Learning uses ongoing original research to create an edgame platform filled with an epic range of lessons for stronger subject mastery and classroom engagement. All games are based on state curriculum standards." For more information visit www.legendsoflearning.com.
Founded in 1933, Green Fields is Southern Arizona's oldest independent school and
offers a continuum of education from kindergarten through 12th grade. With a
population of about 130 students ranging in age from 5 to 18 years old, younger
students have many opportunities to interact with their older classmates, who serve as mentors and role models. The enrollment includes many siblings.