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About Ms. Wells

Education:


M.S.Masters and Credential in Science and Math Education (MACSME)
University of California, Berkeley
2010
B.S.Majors: Physics and Religion
Amherst College, Amherst, MA
2003
  Hereford High School, Parkton, MD1999

Teaching Experience:   

Oregon High School Oregon, WI2015 - Present
Lisbon High School
Lisbon, ME
2013 - 2014
Millbrook High School
Raleigh, NC    
2011 - 2013
Hillside New Tech High School    
Durham, NC
2010 - 2011
 El Cerrito HS & Albany MS (student teaching)
Berkeley, CA
2009 - 2010
 University of California (TA) Berkeley, CA
2008 - 2009
Berkshire School
Sheffield, MA
2005 - 2007

Publications / Writing:

  • L. Wells, "Future stories," Kaleidoscope: Educator Voices and Perspectives, 2(1), 3-6, (2015).
  • A.R. Daane, L. Wells, R.E. Scherr, "Energy Theater," The Physics Teacher, 52, 291-294, (2014).
  • L. Wells, “Why America’s ‘hacker generation’ can thrive as teachers,” Christian Science Monitor, May 7 (2014).
  • Masters Thesis: "Designing Teacher Practices to Capitalize on Online Science Assessments."
  • Undergraduate Senior Thesis: "Gender in Physics Education."

Background/Interests:

Like many adults who have a good relationship with science, I had two great high school physics teachers, a husband and wife team who always connected what we were learning to real life.  I fondly remember the support and guidance I received from them as I worked on my first independent research project — making a hologram.  The wonderful thing about this project was that there was no “answer key,” and so it was up to me to determine the direction and pace of my learning.

While studying physics at Amherst, I often questioned if I truly ‘belonged’ in the scientific community, and came close to changing my major.  After researching the reasons behind the persistent gender gap in the field of physics, I co-founded a study group aimed at fostering a sense of community among female physics students and helping them to value their talents and abilities. Today, I feel it’s especially important to help all  of my students recognize their strengths in science.

When I graduated, I volunteered in Mozambique for a year, teaching English and computer skills.  From that experience, I learned how important it is for students to participate actively in their own education. I realized that critical thinking is a skill that needs to be taught and practiced, not just something we’re born with.

Since then, I have taught physics, chemistry, geometry, and astronomy in a variety of settings—a private boarding school, a charter school, large and small public schools, and summer camps. After my first two years in the classroom, I enrolled in the Masters and Credential In Science and Math Education (MACSME) Program at the University of California, Berkeley.  In my second year of graduate school, I also joined the 2009 Knowles Science Teaching Fellowship (KSTF) cohort.  The MACSME program emphasized using education research to inform our teaching practices.  KSTF closed this loop for me by placing a high value on the knowledge that teachers generate through their experiences in the classroom, and by encouraging us to collaboratively inquire into our practice with others in the larger education community.

Through annual KSTF professional development grants from 2009 - 2014, I’ve attended workshops on teaching AP physics, Project-Based Learning, the Patterns Approach to Physics, and introductory computer programming. 

One of the topics I became interested in during my initial years of teaching was Energy.  This led me to participate in the I-RISE Scholar program at Seattle Pacific University (SPU) and subsequently co-author an article in The Physics Teacher about “Energy Theater,” an activity that engages students in
kinesthetically representing the flow of energy in various situations.

In addition, I’ve spent the last few years deepening my understanding of how physics, and other sciences, can be applied to solve engineering problems.   In the spring semester of 2013, I collaborated with MIT’s D-Lab because I felt that studying and practicing “appropriate technology” engineering would allow me to develop more relevant and meaningful physics projects.  This experience opened the door to my current involvement in the organization called Lever - a network of educators who are working to provide resources, dialogue, and support to help teachers incorporate more engineering design practices into their curricula.  In 2015, I led several workshops for teachers in Wisconsin and a week-long workshop at the University of Vermont on how to create and facilitate engineering design projects in the science classroom.  I’m excited to continue refining these ideas in my own classroom and to continue my work as a Lever facilitator, coach, and now leadership team member. 

Outside of work I enjoy being active (hiking/ backpacking, cycling, rock climbing, nordic skiing), traveling (internationally whenever I can), and cooking.  My husband and I love living in an area with plentiful access to fresh produce and were thrilled (and also a little overwhelmed) to plant a vegetable garden for the first time this year.  Full disclosure, Wisconsin’s reputation for top-notch cheese was one of the main reasons we moved here :)  I also enjoy reading and folk dancing (contra, square, etc.) but haven’t found the time to do much of either recently.  

Finally, l have deep respect for the amazing students and faculty at OHS.  I can’t express how supportive everyone is and what great colleagues I have to collaborate with!