Name: Christopher Sikich
School: Philadelphia School for Girls
2020 Seminar Enrollment: Evolutionary Biology
I just completed my 14th year of teaching high school biology after starting in 2006. I just finished my second year at Philadelphia High School for Girls. I first applied to TIP in the 2018-2019 school year to expand my abilities as a teacher. I always am trying to better my pedagogical abilities and my science knowledge, and this program greatly aids with both areas. While curriculum in the classroom often allows for very little flexibility, by expanding the knowledge-base on topics in TIP and germinating ideas for how to plant new curricula into established classes, TIP has allowed for me to explore concepts in Lead and Health (in 2019) and Evolutionary Biology (in 2020) that are sure to make classroom experiences all the more enriching for both the students and myself.
Biology is my main subject area as a teacher, with experiences that have taken me beyond the introductory classes to AP Biology and Anatomy and Physiology. What excites me the most about biology is evolution. If I could teach a whole course on it, I would. As the centerpiece to biological understanding, any chance I have to expand my knowledge and share in the learning process with teaching peers is welcome. So when Evolutionary Biology was offered this year it was a no-brainer for me. The seminar has complemented and expanded my understanding of evolutionary biology. The sometimes intricate mathematical side to evolution offers great new possibilities for my teaching. And the understanding of evolution as not a theory itself (but a scientific fact with theories that help explain it) blows away how secondary textbooks typically simplify evolution. The seminar offered many great discussions on how to talk about evolution in the classroom as well as providing insight into useful real-world anecdotes from the wild about the many fascinating facets of evolution.