Wake Teacher Works Behind the Scenes at NC Science Fest

September 9th, 2013 by Amneris Solano

Kenan Fellow Denise Furr helped put her stamp on the NC Science Festival.

This summer she partnered with staff from the NC Science Festival at the UNC Morehead Planetarium and Science Center to create resources to help high school students weigh their perspectives and communicate their opinions on today’s most important science-related issues.

Ms. Furr teaches chemistry at Wakefield High School in Wake County. Her mentor is Jonathan Frederick Director of the NC Science Festival and NASA sponsored her Fellowship.

She shares her Fellowship story below.

How has this experience affected your teaching career?   
A: This experience has shown me that I need to keep challenging myself to try things that are not in my comfort zone.  Science and technology change so quickly and I need to keep up with the times, in order to help my students become productive citizens.

What has been the most eye-opening experience during your time at the Morehead Planetarium?  
A: I have had the opportunity to work with some people who are really passionate about offering exciting science experiences to kids across the state. It has opened my eyes and made me consider ways that I can make science even more interesting for my own students.

What new careers have you learned about that you want to share with your students?  
A: I will definitely encourage my students to visit the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill.  It really offers some cool programs and shows and exhibits. I am working in the same office as the people who create the shows for the dome and it is amazing how they put together animation and sound effects to teach kids about outer space.

How will you incorporate this experience into your classroom?
A: For my fellowship, I am working on creating a “Decision Room” for high school science teachers that will also be used for the NC Science Festival.  It involves the teachers facilitating a debate that will allow students to investigate a current science issue and discuss it with their peers.  There are so many benefits to this kind of lesson.  Students are able to stay current on science topics, while developing literacy and communication skills.  So I definitely want to try this in my own classes this fall.

*Photo by Amneris Solano: Denise Furr at the Morehead Planetarium in Chapel Hill