Kevin Lewis loves hands-on science, and he shares this passion with his students. Lewis has been teaching sixth-grade science for 25 years in TUSD—for 17 years at Maxwell Middle School and currently at Safford K–8 School.
“I have a knack to take big scientific concepts and break (them) up so kids get it—piece by piece,” explains Lewis.
He started out studying biology in his home state, Wyoming. When a professor set him up in a practicum at an elementary school, Lewis says he found a new calling.
Lewis did not think he would be working directly with students, he says, but when a teacher asked him to work with some difficult students, he discovered that he could engage them with science. “It hooked them and hooked me” he says.
Before coming to Arizona, Lewis worked as a math and science teacher at a private school in Chiapas, Mexico. After 25 years of teaching in Tucson, he says he will retire this year.
Lewis was nominated by student Andrea, who writes, “My teacher is great because he is very fun! He loves to see children who are happy (and) he loves to joke around.”
But it’s no joke for Andrea and her classmates that Lewis gets them to actively participate in science. “He makes science feel AWESOME!” Andrea reports.
Right now, his students are involved in one of Lewis's favorite units—maybe the favorite. They are designing, building and racing lightweight balsa wood cars. “It’s so fun,” enthuses Lewis.
He has altered the race car lesson plan slightly over the years, for instance by switching from battery-powered to gravity-powered cars. Now the races are more like Pinewood Derby utilizing ramps. But things like data collecting and recording stay much the same, making it “very hands-on science,” according to Lewis, the best kind!
Students soon will be taking part in time trials and drag races. In class and beyond, Lewis hopes they will stay on the right track.
“My advice to kids is to get as much as you can out of middle school. It will make high school that much easier,” Lewis says. “Prepare yourself for high school.”