|Lynn Hunt, recently named Science Teacher of the Year for Utah's District 4, is working with Dano Barney on an experiment.|
Lynn Hunt believes science education is key to learning.
"I feel as an educator that the most important function I have is to make every child feel successful and I can often do this through science. If a student struggles in reading or math, then science can bring them around through real-life interests and hands-on learning," she said, as she wrapped up an experiment on chemical change in her fifth grade class at Castle Heights Elementary.
Hunt was recently honored as the Outstanding Science teacher in Region 4.
She received her bachelors degree in elementary education and her masters equivalent in special education. She has been an employee of the Carbon School District for the past 20 years, starting in 1985 at Ann Self School in Spring Glen. In addition to her fifth grade class she also serves as the district's elementary science specialist.
She has taught a variety of workshops and serves on assessment teams with the Utah State Office of Education.
Her job with the Carbon district is to make sure that science doesn't get overlooked. Although there is a smaller curriculum in the kindergarten through grade two levels, they begin the exposure of science and how the real world connects to the text books.
"Kids have an innate desire to learn about the world around them and because it is such a natural part of their curiosity, science is important, even in the lower grade levels," says Hunt. By the third grade students see an expanded curriculum and once in the fourth grade students are required to be tested in science.
Utah is far ahead in the science areas, says Hunt, "We have set our standards higher than many states and have been doing extended science curriculums for years."
By the time students get to the fifth grade they are covering units such as electricity, matter, plant and animal traits, magnets and earth's changing surfaces.
Hunt believes in a hands-on approach, finding that connection between text and reality through experiments and demonstrations.
"I love learning from the children and colleagues as much as I love teaching,"
As the district's elementary science specialist, she assists in curriculum development and trains science teachers, kindergarten through the sixth grade through in-service sessions. She also provides materials to each school and attends state meetings to bring back ideas and keep the local programs current and fresh with new ideas. Teachers often use her as a resource. As the liaison with the district she provides materials and links up other science teachers with new resources.