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Jill Henry

Development of a sound, light and wave lab to study digital signaling

2016 Stem Scholar
Downers Grove, IL Herrick Middle School

Jill’s Big Idea: Jill created a specialized signaling lab so her students could explore the Next Generation Science Standards through the exploration of sound and light waves. Jill used NGSS in her middle school classrooms to create a culture of learning that allows independent thinking and problem solving instead of rote lecturing. Through this project, Jill taught the transformational power of teamwork and collaboration in learning.

Interesting Facts: Jill is very active in the STEM community. As a STEM teacher, Jill has won a grant for thermal energy cameras to help students understand abstract objects and was one of 185 science teachers selected to attend NASA’s Space Camp in Huntsville, AL in 2012. As part of Jill’s experience with NASA, she learned novel teaching techniques and was provided with custom space-based curricula created by NASA for classroom use.

In her own words: "Teaching 21st century learners involves developing activities that encourage critical thinking, problem solving, and collaboration. I feel it is necessary to encourage the development of those skills to help prepare our students for the careers of the future that might not even exist yet."

Some of the energy efficient houses Jill’s students designed and built using the Cricut Maker purchased as part of her National STEM Scholar participation!

On being a 2016 STEM Scholar: “I’m always looking for professional development opportunities. It was one of those things where I stumbled upon it and applied to see what would happen, and was fortunate enough to get into the program. The Scholar program opened me up to a larger professional development learning community – this group of teachers that I can email everyone a question and can get an answer in 24 hours. What I’ve found is that when you do a summer development course, you get the people who want to be there, with like-minded ideas. We were an awesome group who really clicked. Scholar week really invigorates you – I was disappointed I had to wait the rest of the summer to start school again, and that’s very rare!”