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Boyd named outstanding science teacher

July 02, 1998|By DAVE McMILLION

Students who have Aileen Boyd for their teacher are in for an adventure that goes beyond the textbook.

Boyd, a third-grade teacher at Pleasant Valley Elementary School in Knoxville, said she can better capture the attention of her students if she goes beyond what's expected in the classroom.

Last month, the Washington County Board of Education presented Boyd with the Maryland Science Center Outstanding Science Teacher Award.

At Pleasant Valley, Boyd is credited with starting a science fair that brings out the best in students.

Boyd said she believes it is important for students to participate in science fairs because doing so provides them with another academic experience.

When she was a teacher at Burke Street Elementary School in Martinsburg, W.Va., Boyd took a cow's heart and lungs to school to show students how the organs work.

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She slid a straw into the lungs and blew in it to imitate the lungs' function.

"It didn't hurt that my principal was a farmer. He could help me get all the body parts," said Boyd.

"Science for Mrs. Boyd is a way of life. I just think she is a fine example for teachers," said Pleasant Valley Principal Ron Ingram.

This was the first year the Baltimore-based science center has offered the award.

During its annual "Celebrate Science" program, the science center recognizes the state's outstanding young scientist and outstanding young engineer.

This year the center wanted to recognize teacher achievement in the sciences, said Pete Yancone, director of education at the science center.

The center invited school systems to pick top science teachers from their districts. This year, about 45 science teachers were honored, said Yancone.

School officials said Boyd's influence on students is reflected by the projects they devise for Pleasant Valley's annual science fair.

One of Boyd's favorite projects this year was "Hierarchy of the Herd," based on a student's observation of a group of horses near his home.

A fifth-grader charted the common behaviors of the horses and their mannerisms. The student also took photographs of the horses to help tell his story, said Boyd, who has been teaching at Pleasant Valley for 12 years.

John Festerman, director of secondary education, said he went to Pleasant Valley's science fair this year and was impressed by the quality of student work.

"For a small school, they had it down," said Festerman.

Students in kindergarten through second grade are not required to participate in the fair, but students in grades 3, 4 and 5 are.

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