Mr. Collins spends most of his time learning -- from students, about students and about his subject matter. He is passionate about pushing middle schoolers to be curious questioners and evidence-based thinkers.
I enjoy teaching about geologic time and having students make an accurately scaled timeline that represents all of Earth's 4.5 billion year history. Having the them experience first-hand the concept of "deep time" opens up their minds to the tremendous evolutionary changes that our planet and life on this planet have undergone. As students work with partners to carefully measure out and represent Earth's geologic and biologic history in a tangible, physical model they develop skills related to precision, spatial thinking, and effective communication and collaboration.
I had the chance to visit High Tech High in California and attend a Project Based Learning workshop. It was amazing to see how the school displayed student work and approached teaching and learning through interdisciplinary, student-centered projects. I learned ways to effectively create, schedule, tune, and share with a wide audience meaningful projects. The seventh grade team and I came away with ideas for how to redesign elements of our Washington DC trip and our Memory Box service learning project in ways that will reinvigorate what we do with students.
Favorite Teaching Moment
I always enjoy our squid, worm, and frog dissections that we do in the Spring. There are so many "What?!?! That's amazing!" moments for the students. It's a wondrous thing to see the diversity of body designs among animals and to realize the level of complexity that goes into all living things. These experiences change the way students see and think about the natural world around them.
Outside the Classroom I’m ...
Hopefully on a trail or somewhere wild and unspoiled.
After graduate school, I spent nine months living out of a backpack and a car in Australia and Tasmania. I traveled over 18,000 miles while exploring the cities, country towns, Gondwana rainforests, remote beaches, and vast desert interior of the Outback. All along the way I carried my trusty bird book and binoculars and found hundreds of different species. I often used birds, trees, marsupials, and ancient fossils as my excuse for exploring new places. "Not all who wander are lost."
Also Known As ...
Gates Coach, TIDES Club Advisor, Grade 7 Team Leader
Joined Graland in ...
BA in English Literature, Wesleyan University
BS in Biology, University of South Carolina
EdM in Learning and Teaching, Harvard University