RMAG Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching Earth Sciences 2007

Title: RMAG Foundation Award for Excellence in Teaching Earth Sciences 2007

Publication: The Outcrop, August 2007, p. 23-24

This is the seventh year that the RMAG Foundation has honored a teacher who actively promotes excellence in teaching of earth science with its “Teacher of the Year Award.” The recipient receives a plaque and a cash award, provided by the RMAG Foundation. It is the generous donations and supporters of the Foundation that makes this possible. A subcommittee of the K-12 Education and Public Outreach Committee judged applications submitted by teachers from throughout the Front Range area. There were many qualified applicants which makes the task of choosing an award winner especially difficult.

The 2007 recipient of our Excellence in Teaching Award is Ms. Mary Fitts. Mary holds a B.A. degree in geology from Rice University and has been a teacher for 20 years. She teaches earth science classes at Sierra Middle School in Parker. In addition to teaching earth science, she also is the Science Department Chairman. Her colleagues attest that she is an instructional coach and mentor as well as a positive leader to the department and students.

As a teacher, Mary promotes a lifelong interest in learning to her students and provides them with the opportunity to study their world through inquiry and laboratory-based activities. Her students develop problem solving skills in the lab where emphasis is placed on a project-based learning experience.

Her curriculum begins with an introduction to the common rock-forming minerals and progresses to the three types of rocks, while continuing to develop their observational skills. Their work proceeds to learning about the earth’s crust including faults and earthquakes, natural resources, water, fossil fuels, renewable resources and their role in energy production, pollution and conservation. Mary instills in her students a desire to learn and build on their own natural curiosity about the world they live in.

Mary Fitts is an outstanding example of those dedicated teachers who make a significant and positive impact on our children. It is to people like Mary that we owe our gratitude for developing young minds and planting the seed for an interest in and appreciation of geology. She represents the best of those who teach earth science and is an exceptionally deserving educator.