Meridian Middle School teacher wins award

Meridian Middle School science teacher Michele Chamberlain tries to teach her students to think like scientists.

Meridian Middle School science teacher Michele Chamberlain received the Mary Haviland Science Teacher of the Year Award from the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair.

Meridian Middle School science teacher Michele Chamberlain received the Mary Haviland Science Teacher of the Year Award from the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair.

Meridian Middle School science teacher Michele Chamberlain tries to teach her students to think like scientists.

“My students learn to analyze data and make inferences based on the evidence, they learn how to break apart information and question it’s validity,” Chamberlain said. “These are the students who will be responsible for making great discoveries in the future, who will shape our world and change how future generations think.”

It is this unique approach to teaching that caused Chamberlain to receive the Mary Haviland Science Teacher of the Year Award from the Washington State Science and Engineering Fair.  Her students also took home the Excellence in Scientific and Engineering Achievement Award for Schools.

“I was thrilled to win the award, but also deeply touched,” Chamberlain said. “No one person wins this type of award based on their own merits. I work with an incredible team of dedicated science teachers at Meridian who believe in the value of student-centered inquiry learning and our passion together drives the success of the department.”

Chamberlain believes students learn best when teachers use creative ways to engage them in the subject.

“I do whatever I have to to get my students interested in what I am teaching,” she said. “I am not afraid to get dirty, get outside and up to my elbows in grime and gunk or get a bit silly to make a point or to help students understand a concept.”

Chamberlain believes having students participate in a science fair is the best learning tool.

“There is a big difference in a student engaging in a lab activity than one stuck reading text books in a classroom,” she said. “The level of learning increases logarithmically when students focus on a question they are deeply interested in and then attempt to make sense of their own data, correlating it with published research.”

Chamberlain uses former students as mentors for her current students.

“My former students are able to give current students the gift of their experience for the science fair and their enthusiasm has been contagious,” she said. “My current students benefit greatly from this partnership as it validates the importance of what they are studying.”

Chamberlain hopes to continue building the science program at Meridian.

“I am absolutely in love with teaching and am sure I will be still up to my elbows in goo 25 years from now,” she said. “The students motivate me to be the best I can be every day.”


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