Tom Christie, who teaches science to fifth- and sixth-graders at Deerfield School, has received a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science and Mathematics Teaching.
Christie was one of three Kansas elementary science teachers nominated for the award by a state committee, and this week Christie learned he had received the award. Christie will fly to Washington, D.C., in April, where he will be honored along with other national winners.
In an interview this morning, Christie described his teaching style as "interactive."
"What I hope to do is provide the students with opportunities to learn, as opposed to just telling them what to learn," Christie said.
This summer, Good Apple, a division of Simon and Schuster, published Christie's "Global Alert!," an activity book designed to teach children about the environment. Christie piloted some of the activities in his class last school year, and he described one of the lessons in applying for the presidential award.
"The environment is a topic that the students are really interested in, and it's also a subject that allows them to take learning outside the classroom to visit various locations in the community," Christie said.
Among other activities, students studying acid rain tested the acidity of water from their homes, and students studying radon visited a local agency that does radon testing.
Christie will take part in a book-signing of "Global Alert!" from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday at School Specialty Supply, 2108 W. 27th.
Cathy Ebmeier, the librarian at Deerfield who nominated Christie to be considered by the state committee, said, "I think he's an outstanding example of a hands-on science teacher. He has an energy level that can't be surpassed, and he has great organizational abilities."
Christie said he was glad his lessons on the environment became an interdisciplinary project, with students working on their environmental reports in English class, developing charts and graphs in math class and incorporating some history in their reports in social studies class.
The presidential awards program is sponsored by the National Science Foundation.