Natalie MacNeill: Model STEM educator embraces students' natural
Year: 2018 – Province: Prince Edward Island
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
Grace Christian School
50 Kirkdale Road
Charlottetown, PE C1E IN6
Subjects and grades taught: Math, Language, History, grades 5 and 6; Science, all elementary grades
As a self-motivated and enthusiastic educator with a passionate commitment to preparing students for the demands of 21st century global citizenship, Natalie MacNeill continually challenges herself and her students in the pursuit of learning.
Natalie sees her role as one of empowering her students by capitalizing on their natural curiosity about the world around them. She equips students with necessary tools to ask relevant questions, seek answers, define challenges, and engineer effective solutions.
In the Classroom
- Introduces technology as a tool for learning: Hour of Code engages students in computer science and coding basics, while Scratch allows students to code their own stories; Lego WeDo and LittleBits give students the chance to develop design and math skills by building 3D models and objects
- Lets children answer questions that intrigue them: "Genius Hour" research projects see students look into topics such as hurricane preparation and veterinary skills, all because they are interested
- Provides opportunities for collaborative, project-based learning: Island History project gets students exploring P.E.I.'s past through video and digital storytelling; Dream House involves teams of students in planning, designing and building a home within a budget
- Instils the importance of service and community involvement: a mini-election had students developing party platforms that addressed issues that matter most to them as young Canadians, designing campaign materials and analyzing poll stats; a unit on dementia saw young learners experience the realities of age-related Alzheimer's disease through a simulation after which they designed and marketed products to address the challenges they identified
- Students recognized provincially and nationally for their work in STEM subjects; in 2017, Natalie led a four-student team (only one of two representing Canada) to the International Future City Engineering Competition in Washington, D.C. In 2018, she successfully led a second team to the same engineering competition
- Developed and delivered school's entire elementary-grade science curriculum
- Recognized as role model for STEM education at her school and across Atlantic Canada
- Attended Teacher's Institute on Parliamentary Democracy in 2016
"Mrs. MacNeill uses innovative and creative methods to help kids understand the concepts they need to learn, as well as things that are important outside of the classroom. … She is helping students become the leaders, thinkers and innovators of tomorrow."
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