Tuesday, July 6, 2021
For Immediate Release
Figuring Out What Motivates Fish:
Diane Spain and Her Students Use Inquiry to Train Animals
Walpole, MA – Norfolk County Agricultural High School is a working farm with gardens and animals, where Diane Spain and her students have trained dogs, horses, and even fish! As an Animal and Marine Science Instructor for grades 9-12, Diane teaches unique subjects such as Small Animal & Marine Science, Zoo & Exotics, Marine and Freshwater Biology, Aquatic Studies and Marine Life classes. She especially enjoys sharing her affinity for horses through equine science classes as well as incorporating environmental science and ocean stewardship topics into her marine science classes.
Ever on the lookout for new marine science content and resources, Diane came across the Wade Institute for Science Education’s hands-on, minds-on, inquiry-based STEM professional development programs. She was happily surprised that Summer Professional Development Institutes were inquiry-based, engaging, and interactive and that participation left her pondering, “How can I be more creative in my lessons?” Diane returned for more summer learning with fellow educators and has overall participated in seven week-long institutes. “I like that your programs are hands-on, challenging, and get us out into the world around us,” she says. “I especially love the field trips and site visits to partners.”
Diane notes that the expertise provided by the Wade Institute’s partners and guest presenters has been invaluable to her teaching at a vocational school and that much of the content could be immediately applied to her animal and marine science classes. For example, a 2018 Summer Professional Development Institute site visit to YMCA’s Camp Burgess & Hayward farm left Diane feeling inspired to bring sustainable farming practices to her schoolyard. She subsequently started gardening and composting projects on campus that would involve her students in solving real-world problems like sustainable food production. “I love for the kids to learn about our own campus and how they can give back to the community,” she says.