Inspiring students on their paths

The Concord Consortium’s Teacher Ambassador program commemorates our 25th anniversary by recognizing 25 outstanding teachers who have included our digital inquiry resources into their STEM classrooms. We congratulate them on their innovation and creativity.

Rebecca Brewer, Troy High School, Troy, Michigan

It’s not every day that a 9th grade student becomes enamored with pond scum. “The first time I saw a sample of pond water under a microscope,” says Rebecca Brewer, “I was hooked.” Until that time, she had never considered the microscopic world, but once she saw the “alien-like” critters swimming in that sample, she wanted to learn more. “That eventually transcended into wanting to share that thrill of discovery with others.”

Teacher Ambassador Rebecca Brewer

Rebecca is now teaching freshmen and AP high school biology classes, and loves to hear that she is playing her own part in inspiring the next generation of students. Recently, a former student visited to thank Rebecca for her role in his education—he’s now performing reconstructive plastic surgery and teaching other surgeons. Rebecca couldn’t be more proud. She beams, “Hearing what becomes of my students and that I played any part in that trajectory makes this profession worthwhile.”

For the past 15 years, Rebecca has been using Concord Consortium resources, beginning when she field tested lessons from the Molecular Logic project (created with our Molecular Workbench software). She now uses the deer mice curriculum from ConnectedBio and the dragon genetics game, Geniventure. She was thrilled that her students “competed with each other to earn gems” during Geniventure. She even collared the teacher next door to say, “You gotta’ come over and see this!” Rebecca exclaims, “They were having so much fun while also learning and applying their understanding of inheritance patterns. A win-win.”

Another big win these days are the creative resources and ideas teachers share, thanks to the Internet. She explains, “Newness keeps this profession engaging for me and I enjoy the challenge of stretching myself professionally.” But Rebecca admits that technology doesn’t come naturally for her. “My teaching wheelhouse is more suited to hands-on manipulatives where students engage in sensemaking activities.” Using educational software has inspired her to find ways to incorporate manipulatives with technology-enhanced lessons in order “to both reinforce student learning and connect to students growing up in a digital world.”

But it’s not all digital. Rebecca pursues one unique hobby in the real world: hunting for morel mushrooms. From that early experience discovering critters in the pond water sample, she continues to be excited about finding things in nature.

Favorite ice cream: Haagen-Dazs Dulce de Leche