Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Earth & Space Science: Session 1

Timothy Mackey; Lancaster, PA

Timothy Mackey"My one lacrosse coach was an archaeology professor, and he would take students out on archaeological digs at Indian sites…and it always came out, here were loads and loads of questions all the time, but not always answers to the questions. And I realized that the pressure’s off now. To allow children to simply ask questions, to wonder about things…that’s at the heart and soul of science…the question is what it’s all about. ”


School at a Glance:
James Buchanan Elementary School

  • Location: Lancaster, PA
  • Grades: K-6
  • Enrollment: 414
  • Students per Teacher: 16.9
    Ethnicity:
    72% White
    17.5% Hispanic
    7.5% Asian
    1.5% American Indian
  • Percentage of students receiving free or reduced-price lunch:
    18% versus a state average of 32%

Tim Mackey has taught fifth grade at the James Buchanan Elementary School in Lancaster, Pennsylvania for thirty years. During that time, he continued his professional development by earning a Master's degree in Education from Millersville University in Pennsylvania. Tim has worked on developing science units in collaboration with the Lancaster County Park and Muddy Run Environmental Center, both in Pennsylvania. Tim has also been involved in environmental studies at Echo Hill Outdoor Environmental School, located on the shores of the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland.

Tim is a firm believer in using inquiry methods to teach science, but acknowledges an intriguing challenge to teaching this way. "When teaching a lesson that is inquiry-based, you're never sure where the kids are going to go with it. But that's the whole point. You have to lay it out there, give students the materials, and let them deal with it, question it, look at things, and discover things on their own. It's — it's unscripted. You're not always sure what's going to happen…You have to be prepared to veer off the path periodically. If you are not intimidated by that, it can be a lot of fun."

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