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Biotechnology Teacher of the Year given to Frontier Instructor

Stacey Chapley incorporates Biotechnology into her curriculum despite lacking a designated program at Frontier Regional School. Unfortunately, it didn’t stop her from being named Biotechnology Teacher of the Year by the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation. Chapley, who has been teaching science for seven years, said she had not expected to win the prize, which happened to fall on the same day as her wedding anniversary. Chapley teaches biology, AP biology, forensic science, and a science program called sci-tech, based on engineering and physics.

Named the Henri A. Termeer Educator Award, the honor “recognizes dedicated life sciences teachers from Massachusetts schools who mentor their students in answering and, more importantly, asking rich questions in the spirit of scientific excellence,” according to the organization’s website. More than 200 schools in the state had nominated teachers.

According to her, all of Chapley’s classes are meant to involve kids in hands-on activities that will ignite their interest in science. She stated that she enjoys seeing the metaphorical light bulb go off in her pupils’ minds and that she wants to share her passion for learning with them. For example, in biology, Chapley used the example of protein folding. The pupils are given a bendable model rather than watching an animation or reading about proteins changing shapes that are “difficult to comprehend,” the pupils are given a bendable model.

Chapley has previously sought grants from the Massachusetts Biotechnology Education Foundation for lab equipment for more advanced research areas such as PCR reactions, a method of duplicating DNA used in forensics. She believes that incorporating lab activities related to real-life events is critical to getting students interested in science. Therefore, Chapley was committed to keeping lab experiments in her program even when students were faraway or absent due to the pandemic.

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