Mrs. Tanja Smith
8th Grade Science
UTeach Institute at UT Dallas
Science is my passion! As far back as I remember, I have been curious about how things work, from how the brain interprets the images we see, to why the meteor showers can be predicted. I decided to get a degree and teaching certification to share my passion and inspire others to join me in exploring our universe. I am graduate of The University of Texas at Dallas, with a Bachelor of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies, and have obtained a teacher certification for 4-8 Science. Interdisciplinary studies afforded me the opportunity to study multiple disciplines across the sciences instead of just one. I have studied biology, geology, chemistry, physics, environmental science, anthropology, archaeology, meteorology, genetics, and oceanography, as well as the history of science and natural philosophy
As a part of the UTeach Institute, I was able to teach 5th grade science in my very first semester. I have taught in 7th, 8th, 9th and 12th grades. UTeach is unique in its training, as the focus is to develop teachers who are specially equipped with techniques that create deep connections with students' prior knowledge and new science and math concepts.
I was an elected officer of WeTeach, a UTeach supported student organization that provides professional development opportunities, as well as a social support group for future math and science teachers.
As a student intern in the Science and Mathematics Education Department at UT Dallas, I have been involved in many events on and off campus that have allowed me to gain additional teaching experiences. I acted as a facilitator at the Sally Ride Science Festival, roughly sixty middle school girls learned about the properties of a non-Newtonian fluid, Oobleck.
I was involved with Earth Day Dallas at Fair Park, showing parents and kids how to make homemade slides and sharing the micro world that lives in their own back yard.
Working with the Center for STEM Education & Research, I was able to participate in discussions with students from the Young Science Achievers Program. Students in grades 9 - 12 had the opportunity to compete for a cash prize from Alcatel-Lucent Bell Labs. The majority of the projects were focused on sustainability.
As an officer of Women in Science Alliance, I worked with the Women in Physics Physics Camp for Middle School Girls. The girls created electromagnetic motors, made their own hot air ballons, soldered solar "bugs", and learned about static electricity with a Van der Graaf Generator.
I look forward to continued involvement in community outreach programs to support science education.
Force and Motion
Our Ever Changing Universe
"At it's highest level, the purpose of teaching is not to teach—it is to inspire the desire for learning. Once a student's mind is set on fire, it will find a way to provide its own fuel.”
― Sydney J. Harris
Dancing Oobleck on a speaker!
Here is one of the solar bugs we made during Physics camp by soldering a motor and some wire to a tiny solar panel.