Brian Vollmer-Buhl


Experience or expertise/projects of note:  

I enjoy writing and designing lessons because I feel it engages my creative side, which is neglected sometimes in the teaching of science.  I have written activity based units on Chromosomal Disease and Punnett Squares that I presented at the Fall Oregon Science Teachers Conference.  With Oregon Sea Grant, I have developed lessons on Invasive Species.  I  have piloted new units on Evolution, Fieldscope, and Covid-19.  One of the highlights of my career is starting “Watershed Fridays” to provide relevant, field-based, experiential experiences for students twice a month on Fridays, when our school transitioned to a 4-day school week.

Reasons I’m excited about this project:

 I am excited to be involved with this project because I get to contribute as a member of a nationwide team.  A strong unit on climate change can help students understand the challenge we face and provide pathways for a solution.

Experience or expertise/projects of note:

Knowles Teaching Fellow, National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) Outstanding Biology Teacher, NABT Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (JEDI) Committee Chair, Alabama Connections and Academy JEDI Committee Co-Chair.

Reasons I’m excited about this project:

I love developing curriculum that is meaningful for students, especially as it relates to equity and justice and localizing the material. It is such an honor to learn from everyone on the team and I hope to grow in my curriculum writing skills. Thank you for this wonderful opportunity!

Experience or expertise/projects of note: 

  • I’ve taught science for 13 years to students in the state of Arizona.  
  • I currently teach all high school science courses for students grades 9 – 12 at Grand Canyon High School, including Environmental Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, AP Biology, and AP Environmental Science.  
  • I lead a trip for students to participate in a whitewater rafting trip in conjunction with Grand Canyon Youth and the support of Grand Canyon National Park and Outdoor Leadership Academy that provides a focus around climate change and environmental advocacy.

Reasons I’m excited about this project: 

  • The opportunity to contribute to an evidence-based curriculum freely available to teachers on climate change.  
  • To gain exposure to ideas, learning, and professional development to help me improve my craft on teaching climate change and environmental education.  
  • Living in the Southwest, and especially in Grand Canyon National Park, means the heat and water scarcity effects of climate change are constantly before me.  For my students, it is a part of their everyday lives as they consider wildfire danger living in a conifer forest, water availability from the Colorado River, snowpack levels throughout the mountain west, growing crops in a region experiencing aridification, and health impacts – especially for students living in the Navajo, Hopi, Havasupai, and other surrounding tribal nations.  For students of these groups, disparate water access and increasing temperatures pose significant cultural and daily challenges.  As the Grand Canyon region feel the impacts of climate change, my students will also see the consequences in the species composition of the area, such as heat stress of the juniper-pinyon forests.  
  • This project is an opportunity to help my students become democratically engaged citizens who will act on issues of climate science.

Experience or expertise/projects of note:

M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction/University of Colorado at Colorado Springs (UCCS), B.S. in Environmental Science with an emphasis in Microbiology/Northern Arizona University (NAU).  I have spent the last 19 years in the field of science education; 10 years in middle school and 9 years at high school, teaching Physics, Biology and Environmental Science. Throughout the last four years I have taken part, as a mentor teacher, in a research partnership between BSCS science learning and UCCS. This research aims to enhance the effectiveness and coherence of secondary science teacher education programs. To increase coherence, I have presented lessons to preservice teachers and worked with a team of fellow mentor teachers and instructors at the University, developing curriculum to incorporate into teacher education classes at UCCS.  The modifications to the science teacher education program helps to develop a common language and use of effective science teaching strategies to better prepare our future science teachers. 

Reasons I’m excited about this project:

Presenting the effects of climate change using local places or events that students have experienced is very different from showing them the melting sea ice of the arctic or flooding in coastal areas far from where they live. Localizing climate change can be an avenue to inspire students to take action or at the very least to increase awareness that the effects of climate change are far reaching. This approach helps students to make sense of climate change by connecting it with their knowledge and experiences in the places where they are growing up.  These lessons will engage students in ways that typical climate change lessons have been unable to do.

Experience or expertise/projects of note:

Rebecca co-authored the high school edition of the textbook Biology Now and has created educational resources for the National Center for Science Education, Science Friday, PBS NewsHour, MiniOne Systems, and the graphic novel, The Curie Society. She is also currently writing curriculum for the Science Education Partnership at the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center.

Reasons I’m excited about this project:  

I am most excited to get my students examining local climate change evidence and co-designing engaging curriculum alongside the BSCS team.

Experience or expertise/projects of note:

B.S. in Chemistry from Christian Brothers University, and M.A. in Curriculum and Instruction from Tennessee Technological University. Science teacher for nine years (middle school 5 years, high school 4 years). I worked with BSCS once in middle school to film their body systems lesson flow, and again while in high school to film their climate change unit. I love working and learning as much as I can, and a project that reflects this is my participation in UTC’s Research Experience for Teachers focused on Engineering & Data Analytics in Smart Cities. Last summer, I worked with a partner and professors to develop a quarter-long PBL where students were tasked to research environmental problems and solutions that incorporate machine learning. Below are the top two posters created by my students. I will be working again this summer to develop a PBL centered around chemistry.

Reasons I’m excited about this project:

I hope to be helpful to teachers wanting to develop their practice in storyline driven units in science. I am a huge believer that students learn best when they are able to make connections to their real world experiences, and I understand that not all students have access to the same experiences. The curriculum takes that into consideration and provides accessible experiences for students and works to help students develop their own questions and ideas surrounding the science topics. I am excited to provide assistance and encouragement to teachers wanting to bring this dynamic curriculum to their students.

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Climate Education Pathways is work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. (DRL-2100808). Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.

Material & content copyright © 2022 BSCS Science Learning. All rights reserved.

 


Image Credits: [Coho Salmon] – Oregon Department of Forestry, CC BY 2.0.      [Peaches] – Ivanna Kykla.     [Pine Nuts] – Dcrjsr, CC BY 3.0.      [Beetlekill and Healthy Trees] – UBC Micrometeorology, CC BY 2.0.      [Pika] – Tiziana Bardelli, CC BY-SA 4.0