James Brown, a science teacher at Forest Park Elementary School in Albany, NY has been selected as the recipient of the 2014 Gustav Ohaus Award. The award has been presented annually since 1969 to recognize innovations which have the potential to improve science teaching at the elementary, middle or high school level.
Mr. Brown was selected for his "Wheel 'Round a Meter" interdisciplinary lesson that teaches STEM principles to his fourth grade students through the use of a LEGO® NXT robot. Using a pre-built robot, Mr. Brown asks his students to predict the distance range one meter covers before running the robot that distance. He repeats this process, asking the students to predict the range of two and three meters in order to reinforce concepts of metric measurement.
The second part of the lesson teaches students principles of engineering and programming by having the students build their own robot and then have it travel one meter. This truly interdisciplinary lesson even bridges into English and language arts as Mr. Brown teaches about text features of the non-fiction genre through the book Mighty Mars Rovers - The Incredible Adventures of Spirit and Opportunity by Elizabeth Rusch.
As part of the award, Brown has received a personalized Gustav Ohaus Award, a $1,500 cash prize and a trip to the 2014 National Conference of the National Science Teachers in Boston, MA. Forest Park Elementary School will also be the recipient of $1,000 worth of OHAUS scales and balances, which will be utilized in various science courses.
Learn more about the winning submission.