Avondale Teacher Attends Boot Camp to Learn Ways to Elevate Student Engagement

Avondale Middle School science teacher Laura Amatulli was chosen as one of 50 middle school teachers from around the world to participate in a science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) workshop sponsored by Honeywell Home Solutions. The workshop, Honeywell Green Boot Camp, provides educators with information, experience and resources to bring lessons on energy efficiency, sustainability and the environment back to their classrooms.

More than 85o teachers applied for the opportunity to travel to San Diego, California for the four-day event that included expert-led activities such as designing and building solar houses, using watt meters to measure energy use and identifying potential “energy vampires”, as well as collecting and analyzing water samples, building rain barrels, renovating a park, and assembling compost boxes.

Avondale teacher Laura Amatulli with colleagues from around the world at Boot Camp

Avondale teacher Laura Amatulli with colleagues from around the world at Boot Camp

This was the second time Amatulli, in her seventeenth year teaching in Avondale, has had the opportunity to participated in a Honeywell workshop, having attended the Honeywell Educators at Space Academy a few years ago. “The Honeywell workshops are very interactive and hands-on so I was excited to be selected for the Green Boot Camp,” she said. “It’s great to bring back new ideas for my classroom and share what I learn with my student,” she added.

Amatulli’s participation in the workshop was cited by Avondale Superintendent, Dr. James Schwarz, as an example of how teachers know they need to stay current on the real-world advancements and implications in their area of curriculum “Today’s science teachers deliver an ever-evolving curriculum. It changes as technology advances and new information comes to light,” he said. “Workshops like the Green Boot Camp are a great way for teachers to receive cutting-edge content that can inform their lessons and take their students to the next level,” he added.

To that end, Amatulli intends to use some of the ideas she picked up during discussions after each Green Boot Camp activity when teachers met to share ideas about how to apply what they learned in their classrooms. “There were a lot of ideas about how to bring the content to life and make the lessons engaging,” she said. “Also, now there is opportunity for my students to connect with students around the world through the connections I made with other teachers at the camp. We can do a lesson and then Skype with a class in another country working on the same lesson. The students will be able to compare notes with their peers around the world. That kind of collaboration really elevates student engagement.”


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