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Minnesota Teachers of Earth Science:

A Series of Profiles


Gary Schnobrich
Northfield Middle School
Northfield, Mn

Gary Schnobrich is a veteran teacher of 34 years, all in middle school Earth Science. A graduate of St. Cloud State University in physical geography, much of his extensive background in the geosciences came from summer field work funded by the National Science Foundation. During these opportunities, Gary was able to get a true sense of the science of the Earth. As a teacher, Gary uses the subject of Earth Science as way to teach skills to kids and get them excited about thinking and learning.

"My goal as a middle school teacher is to teach the kids how to take notes and use their notes for critical thinking activities such as interpreting a weather map, analyzing a river ecosystem or identifying the stars on our astronomy field trip. Earth Science is my passion and because it encompasses all the sciences and is the most encountered by the students, it is easy to find lab/field acitivites that are meaningful."

Gary is a problem solver both in and out of the classroom. He is willing to try anything to figure out what went wrong in a lesson or how to design a better system to demonstrate a concept. Gary's focus for his own learning is to share with the kids, whether it is finding out about identifying invertebrates for the students' river field project or bringing back slides of New Mexico geology for them to see the contrast with their own environment. One lesson that Gary has learned about teaching is the necessity of involving the kids.

"When I spend too much time lecturing and not engaging the students, I can see their minds wandering and I have to quickly adjust."
For those topics that are not as interesting to Gary, he likes to invite others into his classroom to present information to the students."It is a way for the kids to see a different perspective," Gary points out.

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