Teacher Spotlight: Chris Embry Mohr

July 2, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ STEM in Education,Teacher Spotlight Series

 Students use probes and tablets to collect temperature data for their aquaponics research project.

Chris Embry Mohr
Science and Agriculture Teacher, Olympia High School

What does STEM look like in your classroom?

STEM is about solving a real-world problem or challenging students to ‘figure it out’. STEM is not about just doing science and adding a few numbers together. It’s about using tools of technology along with applying scientific concepts and mathematical skills to engineer a solution or figure something out. For example, in my Biology class, students learn about the structure and function of the human body, then design a prosthetic arm under certain criteria and constraints, fabricate a prototype, test the prototype, re-design, construct multi-dimensional drawings, and fabricate a final product. That’s S-T-E-M.

What is your favorite STEM activity to do with students?

That’s a tough question – I love the Prosthetic Arms that my NGSS 2/Biology students design and I really enjoy the hydroponic projects in the greenhouse where students grow tilapia and tomatoes.

What motivates you to provide STEM-based opportunities for students?
Learning should be authentic. Students need to be able to solve problems in the real-world. Focusing on STEM instead of just what the textbook says, pushes students to think more broadly and to think about life outside of the walls of the school building.

What advice do you have for teachers who are unsure of how to integrate STEM into their curriculum?
Start simple and challenge your students to teach you. Let your students become the experts. 











Pictures (Left to right):

*NGSS 2/Biology students fabricating their Prosthetic Arms.

*Samone Donald sharing her Prosthetic Arm made out of recyclable materials at the ISU High School Research Symposium.  She won the DaVinci Award for Creativity.

* Students toured the Monsanto-DeKalb Soybean Research Farm near Covell, IL to learn how genetics and technology are used to engineer new varieties of soybeans.