Year: 2010-2011 – Province: Ontario
Certificate of Excellence Recipient
Sacred Heart High School
5870 Abbott Street
Stittsville, ON K2S 1X4
Subjects and grades taught: Science, Earth and Space Science for grades 9 to 12
Three, two, one … Sean Clark's students are more than ready for lift off. As a ceiling and four walls turn into a magical planetarium, students get lost in their dreams and Mr. Clark brings space into his classroom. Fueled with his own curiosity, in-depth knowledge and experience in the field, this teacher creates incredible experiences while his students explore the wonders of space.
As they use cell phones to communicate with distant rovers, and market a space program to interested "investors ", students may get lost in Space, but not in time. They are encouraged to manage their time and set realistic and appropriate goals. Students often work in groups and learn how to be accountable and responsible for their contributions. Community and business education partnerships, with Carleton University and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA) show students how what they learn in the classroom is relevant in the world they live in.
- In 2003, Mr. Clark was hired by the Nectar Foundation to help design a mathematics program for the CSA aimed at senior geometry. Space Navigation: When Math Matters featured Canadian astronaut Col. Chris Hadfield and resulted in a product that has been integrated into classrooms across Canada.
- As a result of his continued commitment to space education, Mr. Clark was selected in 2008 as one of two Canadian educators to attend a professional development opportunity with a CSA expert in the field of planetary geology that took place at a Mars analogue in Nunavut.
- Following his experience in Nunavut, Mr. Clark collaborated on a professional development session that he delivered at the CSA's National Educator Conference in 2009, and later that year at a conference for the Science Teacher's Association of Ontario.
- Mr. Clark invests himself on all levels of curriculum development and participated in a 2006 Ottawa Catholic School Board review of the grade 9, 10 and 12 Earth and Space Science curricula. He continues to provide support to the school board through implementation sessions and other initiatives.
"Sean's passion for the field of space is unparalleled. (…) His in-depth knowledge and experience enable him to create engaging learning experiences that include not only an interactive approach to exploring the wonders of Space, but also incorporate the fundamental skills of scientific inquiry."
Colleague and former student-teacher
"(…) The Canadian Space Agency's (CSA) Space Learning Program has had the opportunity to work directly with Mr. Clark on a number of occasions, witnessing firsthand his dedication and innovation in bringing space into his classroom, while incorporating information and communications technologies, employing innovative and exemplary teaching practices and demonstrating tremendous leadership."
Manager, Space Learning Program, CSA