A local science teacher won $500 for her classroom through an Oklahoma City Thunder program, ensuring she’ll help educate students long after she retires at the end of the year.
Terri Wilson, a fifth grade teacher at Lone Grove Intermediate School, participated in the Devon Thunder Explorers program, a STEM-focused program that gives teachers pre-arranged lessons and experiments that are a little outside the box. Wilson said she’s retiring this year, and the money will most likely purchase replacement science equipment.
“I’m working with my principal,” Wilson said. “I want to use it on microscopes, but there are a lot of things that are broken in my lab that I’d like to replace before I retire.”
Wilson said the program’s monthly lessons slot in well with curriculum, don’t take a lot of supplies and, most importantly, students seem to enjoy them. After participating classrooms complete the activity, the teacher logs the activity online and includes a photo of the class participating. Four participating classrooms are selected for the cash prize.
“They have the academic standards that are being met added to them,” Wilson said. “You can really zone in on that standard when you do it.”
Wilson led five different activities throughout the year, including one that involved testing how a balloon stands up to pressure when it’s balanced on toothpicks. Another one involved students measuring the circumference of their foot and calculating how much pressure their feet support when they stand.
“I called it Thunder Day,” Wilson said. “We’d watch a clip of the Thunder playing and we’d do an activity.”
Wilson, who knew she intended to retire at the end of the year, said she had one big goal in mind.
“I told [my principal] I wanted to make this the best year ever,” Wilson said. “I was looking for opportunities to do extra things.”
Wilson said, in addition, she’s had guest speakers and other experiments.
“I’ve been teaching for 31 years,” Wilson said. “Sometimes, when people know that they’re getting ready to retire, they kind of slack off, and I didn’t want to be one of those types of teachers. I wanted to apply as much energy and enthusiasm as I possibly could.”