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By Jill Mapes
A lifelong science enthusiast, Belpre Middle School teacher Lowrie Deegan always thought that she would grow up to work as an astronaut or a marine biologist. After gaining insight into the education profession through her mother, a teacher, Lowrie realized that there were better ways to share her love of science and math.
Even in casual conversation with Lowrie, it is obvious that her love of science is infectious. Ultimately, she strives to instill a fiery passion for science in her students through hands-on approaches in her classroom. “When we do experiments and labs, they [students] just get so excited and want to do research. The kids really get into the interactive approaches when it comes to learning science,” Deegan said.
Originally hailing from Pittsburgh, PA, Lowrie has been learning the ins and outs of the STEAM project since her involvement as a participating teacher began in September 2007. Lowrie might be new to STEAM, but she is familiar with the Ohio University name after receiving her Bachelor of Science in education (with concentrations in middle school mathematics and science) in 2004. Additionally, Lowrie, a huge Pittsburgh sports fan, enjoys spending time with her husband and is an active runner.
After spending two years teaching middle school mathematics, Deegan is happy to be teaching seventh grade science and interestingly, an industrial technologies class. The class, which focuses mostly on physical science taken from a computer-based approach, tackles math and science curriculum from a similar style as the STEAM project.
In the ever-changing landscape of education, Lowrie truly believes that technology is the key to success when it comes to reaching children growing up in today’s world. “Even from my first year teaching until last year, the way that you can use technology in education has progressed. From tasks as simple as typing papers to using the Internet to research science projects, students really find the computerand computer programs to be great resources. I think it [technology] will totallychange education as the years go on,” Deegan said.
After seeing the great progress that two other Belpre scienceclassrooms made last year with STEAM, Lowrie knew that theproject was an interesting teaching approach that actually improved test scores. According to Deegan, it was a “no-brainer” to participate in the project this year, and she is incredibly excited to work more with her STEAM graduate fellow.
The power of the STEAM project is in its positive results among students, and Lowrie knew that the results were significant even before joining the STEAM team. “The STEAM games I used briefly last year were a huge help. We played the water cycle game [Eric Petri’s game, ‘Water Cycle Travels’] before my students took a test,” Lowrie added. “The kids had a blast playing it, and it helped them study for the test.”