High School Winner
Tom C. Clark High School
San Antonio, TX
The number one goal Shannon Sahabi for every classroom is for her to form a meaningful relationship with each and every student.
She also strives to engage those students in STEM who have been traditionally underrepresented in the sciences, particularly girls, Hispanics, and African Americans.
Many of her students have majored in engineering, environmental, or other geosciences in college because of taking her course. Shannon wants them to be able to recognize and perform sound science practices as well as connections between the sciences.
She teaches Earth & Space (ESS), AP Environmental Science (APES), and Environmental Systems. These classes address the wide variety of learning abilities daily, as she teaches “regular” level, Advanced Placement (AP) and special education.
Students never have to ask, “How is this relevant?” or “why do I need to know this?” The geosciences are part of everyday life and she relates topics to real-world issues, current events, and future concerns.
Shannon works to address all students’ modes of learning, so they are given a survey at the beginning of the year to identify their learning styles.She has recorded video lectures that students can access at any time – they have been viewed thousands of times by students around the world!
She tries to incorporate technology as often as possible. For APES, her classes use several sensor probes such as conductivity, soil moisture, and UV. For the water quality unit, students build ecobottles with a fish with elodea and duckweed in the aquatic half, and plants, crickets, and earthworms in the top half. The object of the 6-week lab is to measure water quality of an ecosystem and write qualitative observations of biogeochemical cycles.
Students measure quality indicators such as nitrates, ammonia, and chlorine with test strips and use sensors to measure dissolved oxygen, temperature, and pH and then analyze their data
Her students also do a few virtual labs such as planetary motion, earthquake epicenter locations, population biology to simulate the competitive exclusion principle, and energy used between trophic levels.