National Geographic : 1992 Sep
This isn't recess. It's Bob Burtch's fifth grade science class. Bob, who teaches atJ. B.Nelson Elementary School inBatavia, Illinois, believes inthe theory that fun isat the heart of effective learning. "I'm very much a hands-on type of teacher:' he says. "I want students to play, to explore, to create and to use their critical thinking skills:' That's why his students have taken to the school's playing fields to participate in a program Bob calls "Frisbee Physics'' Their initial task isto determine which type of flying object travels farthest. In the process, Bob shows them how to collect data on flight distances, make observations about differing flight characteristics, and analyze the different flying objects to determine why some fly farther than others. In short, he introduces them to the techniques that are common to all scientific investigation. "The study of science isnothing more than the study of how to make wonderful discoveries' says Bob. "Once my students realize that, science becomes something they're always enthusiastic about:' We at State Farm are enthusiastic about honoring Bob with our Good Neighbor Award for his innovative approach to teaching. We are also delighted to make acontribution of $5,000 toJ. B.Nelson Elementary School inhis name. Bob Burtch. Thanks to him, his students are learning how serious learning can also mean serious fun. STATE FARM INSURANCE STATEFARM INSURANCE COMPANIES HomeOffices:Bloomington,Illinois ieGood Neighbor Award was developed in cooperation with the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA).