Mulcahey Recognized for Classroom Excellence

At the NSTA Conference in Atlanta, CM Science Chair Brian Mulcahey received the Robert E. Yager Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award.
CM’s Science Chair, Brian Mulcahey was one of five teachers from the United States and Canada to receive the National Science Teaching Association’s (NSTA) Robert E. Yager Foundation Excellence in Teaching Award.

The award is given annually by the NSTA to teachers who display exemplary innovation in science education and have a passion for education and continued professional development.

“To be chosen as one of the five award recipients was profound. I sometimes think, what I do is what everyone is doing and yet the award helped me realize that what is happening in my classroom is particularly noteworthy and that translates well for what we are doing at CM,” says Mulcahey. 

Mulcahey accepted the award at the NSTA National Conference on Science Education, held in Atlanta from March 22-25, where he was joined by fellow CM science faculty members Sidney Sarfo ‘16 and Antoine Kandalaft ‘15. Sarfo and Kandalaft attended the conference’s show-and-tell style presentations and group discussions that gave them a look at how other schools approach education and teaching science classes. 

According to Kandalaft, some classroom examples from presenters appeared obsolete when compared to CM’s Knight-Based Learning approach, which calls for different disciplines to be woven together to promote creative thinking and learning.

“The conference showed me that CM has a cutting-edge science department that is ahead of the game. It is important for us that we keep innovating in the classroom, so we do not fall behind,” says Kandalaft. 

In Mulcahey’s presentation, he showed off his dinosaur lab, in which one group of students strap on wooden dinosaur feet and walk around in a box of sand. And another group plays paleontologists who study the prints to determine age, species, activity, and population size. The lesson concept and equipment are provided by EXPLO, a local non-profit that specializes in creating interactive learning experiences. 

According to Mulcahey, the presentation left the audience of science educators wondering how he pulled it off.

“The conference attendees were impressed. I think everyone comes with their best foot forward, ready to present, and when you show how you approach science education, you can see appreciation in their face,” says Mulcahey.

Despite the praise, Mulcahey is not resting on his laurels as he notes keeping students interested in the subject requires an engaging approach with creative ideas. 

“The research says applied learning creates better outcomes and better results in their fields of interest,” says Mulcahey. “If we want our students interested in science; this is how we have to teach them.” 

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