Minnesota Teachers of Earth Science:

A Series of Profiles

Susan Johnson
North End Elementary
St. Paul, Mn

A graduate of Winona State with a pre K-6 grade licensure and a Master's in Education, Susan Johnson has been teaching for seven years. Years of training and teaching have led Susan to believe that students need to have as much hands on experience as possible. Students first need to know how to work together, to be responsible moving around the classroom, and to trust each other enough to take risks when engaging in inquiry activities. With so many linguistic and cultural differences in Susan's class, creating this type of classroom community is a challenge, but is facilitated by spending a lot of time on community building activities early in the school year. By the time she starts science, her 5th grade students work well together.

"[Prior classroom community building] makes it easy to set up an experiment and know it is going to run smoothly. " Susan explains as she talks about success in teaching Earth Science.

However, Susan also recognizes that with her limited training in the sciences, finding the time to learn the content and understand the Foss kit activities is challenging. If she could advise her education and science professors, she would tell them to provide more opportunity for prospective teachers to learn the topics of science and practice teaching that content at an elementary student's level. Because the state standards have become so significant in driving curriculum, Susan also recommends specific content and methodology training to address the standards of each subject, especially science.