First, second, and third place in this year’s Academic Showcase went to three students in the elementary education major, securing the department’s long-held place as the most academically accomplished at Lee. First place went to June Miller for her presentation, “Finger painting as pedagogical practice: benefits and challenges”.
One of the judges, Mary McCampbell, commented,”These were absolutely the best academic presentations I’d seen in years.”
“But of course, you can just walk around the Education building and look at the projects on the walls, and you can see what an intellectual bunch this is,” she continued, pointing at a particularly well-crafted Venn diagram.
The other two winners simply taught lessons to the crowd.
“I couldn’t be sure whether to place [Andrea Michaels’ lesson on adding two-digit numbers] in the category of “Academics” or “Fine Art”,” said another judge, weeping. “She helped me understand addition in a radically new way. I have truly undergone a paradigm shift.”
Third place went to Matthew Dougherty for his explanation of the water cycle. He began by making a baking soda volcano and shouting “SCIENCE!”, before moving on to evaporation and condensation.
He explained this move, “I want to be an engaging and exciting teacher. Did anyone ever try to explain that volcano to you? Me neither. It’s just science. Science is like magic.”
Dr. McCampbell talked a bit of strategy with us later: “The lesson was great, and being male was a great strategy to get our attention. Really unconventional among the elementary education crowd. What brought him down to third place was his bulletin board exhibit; those colors probably could have been better coordinated.”
Some of the other fascinating presentations included, “Die cutting in an age of globalization”; “Conflict resolution: When the line leader and the door holder don’t get along” ; and “Classroom discipline: Move your clip, Pull your card, or Write your name on the board? A discussion”.
The three winners attribute their success to the entire department’s “career-preparation” habits of dressing professionally at all times and eating lunch out of Tupperware in the small “break room” in the second floor of the Education building.
But some students were not as thrilled as the education presenters.
“Home field advantage. Not Welker approved,” said senior Daniel Welker disapprovingly.