“Fostering a coherent vision of excellence in the world of science education and its practices"


July 10, 2016

A message from our new president, Linda Smith

This President stuff is new to me.  Why did I decided to become APAST’s president in the first place?  It was surely NOT because I had nothing better to do.

I am not originally a science teacher by choice.  I hold a BA in English and America Literature and a minor in Modern American Grammar.  My certification is in Elementary Education.  I had a superintendent that wanted to punish me, thought that Science was as far away from my expertise as possible and told me, “You will teach science and you will like it.” 

He actually got very angry when I did.

I hated science in school.  It was filled with useless facts and arbitrary names that I had to remember for no apparent reason.  I was sure I wasn’t ever going to use that junk in the real world, and for the most part, I haven’t.

Since I had no background in science, and was now responsible for all sixth through eighth grade science in the entire school, I decided I needed to do some research.  I attended many workshops on elementary science.

I was surprised to find out that science wasn’t about arbitrary names and useless facts; it was about thinking and putting order in our world.  The names and facts were just a small part of the big picture – they were used to help us all speak the same language so we could share our information with others and build on what’s already there.

Science is about thinking.  It’s about an ordered plan to answer questions – that problem, hypothesis, procedure, results and conclusion thing.  Getting the right answer is not nearly as important as backing YOUR answer with examples from your experience.  The greatest thinkers of all time very seldom got right answers.  They achieved their fame from proving what the status quo had decided was a wrong answer in the first place.

The people who helped me solidify this realization were the people who were the heart APAST and are still an active part of our organization today. – Absolutely awesome and inspiring people like  Ruth Ruud, Julianna Textley, Alma Miller, Dwight Sieggreen, Fran Hess, Howard Henning, Kenneth Huff, Fred Myers and John Hunt.  As awesome as these people are at their craft, they never made me feel stupid or inadequate.  They just freely and openly shared their passion with me, and because of them, I became a great science teacher.     

It’s my turn to give back what was given to me.  I’d like to extend this invitation to all of you to join us – to share our passions, talk about our craft, and bounce ideas off  people who are interested in what you have to say.  Come be a member of our circle of friends.  Together we can and will change the world for the better… one student at a time… every time we get them to think.


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