## Teaching Philosophy

The joy of teaching the sciences is that there is no shortage of hand-on real-world examples to illustrate core concepts and even minute details of any topic being covered. When one is able to probe some of the fundamental forces of nature by dropping a ball to measure the acceleration due to gravity or by exploring electromagnetism with household items, nature becomes accessible and science becomes demystified. It is possible to teach subjects like Physics as a jumble of seemingly meaningless mathematics with equations that seem to materialize out of the aether. A strong foundation in inquiry-based experiment-focused learning allows students to marry mathematical complexity with reality and to develop an intuition for both the mathematics and the experiments. A student who is well-educated in both theory and experiment can draw from both in solving problems.

Learning how to approach problems is the most important aspect of science education. By guiding students through the problem-solving process and demonstrating several independent avenues to solving a single problem, students become adventurous in their problem-solving techniques and are less discouraged when their first attempt does not work. It is important to show students parallels among different problems and general techniques for solving seemingly disparate quandaries so that they develop a toolbox of techniques that they can apply outside the classroom. Showing students how to approach back-of-the-envelope estimations and how to employ razor-sharp critical thinking builds intuition for solving complicated problems and allows students to develop a realistic idea of how nature functions.

Along with demystifying nature, an elementary and secondary science education also serves to demystify technology. Hands-on inquiry-based projects with the Arduino microcontroller, the Raspberry Pi computer, electronics lab, or simply learning a programming language allow students insight into their phones, computers, televisions, and the myriad electronics in their lives, allowing the student to bend these devices to their will, serving their specific needs. Picking up these skills early in their education will prepare the student for an increasingly technology-driven world.

A solid foundation in general problem-solving techniques also give the student the skills to understand the world in ways that do not specifically relate to math or science. Students with sharp critical thinking skills will easily see through nonsense whether it comes from scientists, politicians or anyone else making spurious claims. The skills which are taught in math and science classes are the skills needed to create smart, reasonable people who understand causal relationships, likelihoods, and the other skills needed to be a responsible citizen.

Learning how to approach problems is the most important aspect of science education. By guiding students through the problem-solving process and demonstrating several independent avenues to solving a single problem, students become adventurous in their problem-solving techniques and are less discouraged when their first attempt does not work. It is important to show students parallels among different problems and general techniques for solving seemingly disparate quandaries so that they develop a toolbox of techniques that they can apply outside the classroom. Showing students how to approach back-of-the-envelope estimations and how to employ razor-sharp critical thinking builds intuition for solving complicated problems and allows students to develop a realistic idea of how nature functions.

Along with demystifying nature, an elementary and secondary science education also serves to demystify technology. Hands-on inquiry-based projects with the Arduino microcontroller, the Raspberry Pi computer, electronics lab, or simply learning a programming language allow students insight into their phones, computers, televisions, and the myriad electronics in their lives, allowing the student to bend these devices to their will, serving their specific needs. Picking up these skills early in their education will prepare the student for an increasingly technology-driven world.

A solid foundation in general problem-solving techniques also give the student the skills to understand the world in ways that do not specifically relate to math or science. Students with sharp critical thinking skills will easily see through nonsense whether it comes from scientists, politicians or anyone else making spurious claims. The skills which are taught in math and science classes are the skills needed to create smart, reasonable people who understand causal relationships, likelihoods, and the other skills needed to be a responsible citizen.