Teachers Making a Difference – Mrs. Z and her Oobleck Pool of Goo
Some teachers teach from the book and others make learning come alive. Judie Zoromski, or Mrs. Z, (say it fast and she’s called Mizzy), teaches science at Mary, Seat of Wisdom Grade School in Park Ridge, Illinois.
She is one of those teachers who gets it home to the dinner table. Her Friday Finale lessons make the “kids and their families live science.”
Mrs. Z taught for six years then took some time off to raise a daughter. When she went back to the classroom, she taught second grade for two years, fifth grade for two years and then “landed” in junior high science. She teaches 7th grade biology and 8th grade physics and chemistry.
She describes herself by saying, “as a person and a teacher I like to bring things to life and create a lot of excitement.”
When taking the science teaching job, Mrs. Z didn’t sit down and start writing out lesson plans, instead she looked for ways to make an impact on her students’ lives. In her research, she discovered our website, SteveSpanglerScience.com and from that Mrs. Z came up with her Friday Finale.
Every Friday Mrs. Z performs a demonstration and explains the science behind it. Her students and their families live for science and look forward to the end of the week.
“The students do about three experiments a week in science class which go along with what they are learning but on Fridays we go one step beyond,” explains Mrs. Z.
Her first Friday Finale was the fire tornado. It was a huge hit so she went back to the drawing board to find another attention-grabbing experiment.
Mrs. Z has done countless Friday Finales and always presents a special holiday demo right before Halloween, Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Easter.
The day starts at 8:00 a.m. when they begin opening 300 pounds of corn starch and start mixing small batches in containers. The containers are then carried out to a kiddy pool. The students take turns all morning mixing the non-Newtonian glop. In the afternoon, the students come back and they all spend time running, walking, sinking, floating, and laughing in the Oobleck pool.
Each student makes a small batch and learns the science behind the solid/liquid solution.
Then the big cleanup begins. Students take turns filling baggies with Oobleck and carry them to the dumpster. The Oobleck cannot go down the drain.
It is so much work, Mrs. Z alternates years for the Oobleck pool with Solar Bags.
No matter which Friday Finale Mrs. Z performs, her students always beg her to do it again and again. Now that’s a teacher making a difference in the educational lives of her students. Anything that gets a student to wonder, discover, and bring it home to the dinner table encourages learning and remembering.
At the end of the year, each student is given a DVD with pictures from the year set to a song parody that Mrs. Z writes and compiles.
Mrs. Z also says she is blessed with a principal who believes in science and spending the money to make a difference in the classroom. She does not ask to be reimbursed for the supplies she purchases from Steve Spangler Science, because she is blessed with a wonderful husband who supports her teaching techniques.
Mrs. Z explains, “I know I could be a good science teacher without all of the SS stuff, so the school should not have to pay that. I buy the SS stuff because I don’t want to be a good science teacher, I want to be the Science teacher that changes their life!”
Amen to that, and I believe you are the life changing science teacher in your students’ lives.