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Michelle Benge

Science Teacher

Mrs. Benge is passionate about teaching science because it encourages students to ask questions, to wonder, to explore, to problem solve. It helps that science is literally all around us -- our bodies, the natural world, the technologies we use everyday.

Impacting Students
Within my third grade natural disaster unit we do an in depth study of avalanches. Students learn about avalanche engineering and work as teams to engineer avalanche protection systems. I like to teach this unit primarily because it allows students to innovate and to use the engineering design process. Students must take risks, learn through trial and error, collaborate with one another and problem solve. It also has a real-world connection as most students have been to the mountains, have been skiing, and are familiar with avalanches.

Lifelong Learner
One of my most impactful professional development experiences was going through the process of redesigning the science curriculum. It gave me the opportunity to explore best practices of teaching science, which led to a shift in my thinking on the role of a teacher. I now look at a teacher as being more of a coach, innovator and collaborator with students. I help them learn skills such as critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, collaboration, global awareness and scientific literacy. Additionally, during this process I was able to collaborate with colleagues and learn from an expert in science education, Wendy Hoffer. It was a transforming experience.

Favorite Teaching Moment
Any time a student makes a connection, or their eyes light up in an “a-ha!” moment. When they are willing to take a risk in their learning, fail and still try again. When they hold on to the little things that you don't even remember saying, but it connected with them and they repeat it to you days later. When they are still talking about a lesson as they leave the classroom, or a parent emails or comments to you that they were so excited about their learning. When you make a personal connection with a student and they share so much with you. Watching a student grow and change throughout the year. And hugs, definitely all the hugs!

Science Fact of the Day
Did you know that butterflies taste food by standing on top of it? Their taste sensors are on their feet.

Life Goal
Travel to every continent.

Joined Graland in...
2003

Also Known As ...
Gates Coach, Schedule Redesign Committee Member, Innovation Cohort Member, Technology Cohort Member, Diversity Cohort Member, Responsive Classroom I and II Member

Hometown
Palatine, Illinois

Education
BA from University of Kansas MA from Aurora University

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Graland Country Day School

55 CLERMONT STREET    DENVER, CO 80220    303.399.0390   
Graland Country Day School is a private school in Denver, Colorado, serving students in preschool, kindergarten, elementary, and middle school. Founded in Denver in 1924, Graland incorporates a rich, experiential learning approach in a traditional classroom setting, emphasizing the development of globally and socially conscious leaders who excel academically.