Cynthia Bardwell, second-grade teacher at Brookside Elementary School in Ossining, is the elementary grades winner of the 2013 Science Awards for Excellence in Inquiry-Based Science Teaching.
The awards, sponsored by School Specialty’s science brands, including Delta Education, in collaboration with the National Science Teachers Association, honors three full-time K-12 science teachers – one each from elementary, middle and high school – who successfully use inquiry-based science to enhance student learning and success. Each winner receive $1,500 in prizes and an all-expense paid trip to attend the 2013 NSTA National Conference on Science Education in San Antonio, April 11-14, where they will be honored at an awards banquet.
Bardwell’s “Environmental Academy” transforms her schoolyard’s nature trail into an “outdoor classroom” where her second grade students learn individually and in groups about the environment and ecosystems, according to a press release announcing the award.
Bardwell wanted to teach science in a way that prepared her students for the thought processes of the 21st century. The result was “Environmental Academy,” which utilized a broad environmental theme, while encouraging students to work individually and collaboratively in order to translate observations, information and data into useful knowledge. A schoolyard nature trail was turned into an “outdoor classroom” where students were able to learn not only about the environment, but its many ecosystems as well, including wetlands, wooded habitats and stream life.