Matthew Inman

Department of Energy
Office of Science, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy

Washington – Grades 9-12, Integrated Science and Physics

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2010-11 Poster   2011-12 Poster


Matthew Inman teaches physics and general science at Shadle Park High School in Spokane, Washington. In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Matthew works as an instructional coach in his high school, helping other teachers with their practice. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from the University of Washington, a Master of Science degree in physics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a Bachelor of Arts degree in education from Eastern Washington University.

Matthew has served as an adjunct faculty member of the Spokane Community College System and has taught classes at the college level at Spokane Community College, The University of Washington, and The University of North Carolina. His passion though, is K-12 STEM education.

As an undergraduate physics major at the University of Washington Matthew worked in a geophysics research lab studying the formation of small ice particles in the upper atmosphere. He also lectured, taught freshman lab classes, and collaborated with the department’s Physics Education Research group.

Matthew’s thesis topic as a graduate student at UNC-Chapel Hill was, ‘Synthesis and Characterization of Carbon-60 and Single-Walled Carbon Nanotube Compounds.’ His research focused on the structure and conductivity properties of Carbon-60 and Carbon Nanotube compounds intercalated with alkali metals. X-ray crystallography, Raman Spectroscopy and a SQUID Magnetometer were his primary investigative methods and tools. Matthew also taught in, maintained and oversaw UNC’s modern physics laboratory for undergraduate physics and materials science majors.

In November, 2009, in addition to his Washington State teacher certification and endorsements, Matthew was awarded his National Teacher Certification through the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards. His certification is for secondary science and the academic area is Physics.

Matthew’s high school is one of six high schools in a large urban school district. The school district serves approximately 32,000 students. His school district has developed and is continuously working to improve a common curriculum for all academic areas throughout the district. Matthew has been involved in the development of the district science curriculum for the past eight years. This is a collaborative effort of teams of teachers from different schools and different grade levels.

His school district’s common science assessments are designed to measure student progress toward the understandings and skills the district curriculum has targeted. Matthew is part of a team that writes and revises these assessments. The team also analyzes student data from the assessments in order to inform both the assessment writing, and teaching and learning in the classroom. He has been part of this process for eight years as well. Matthew has been a coach and adviser for his school’s Science Olympiad teams since 2003, and for his school’s Science Bowl teams since 2004.

Matthew’s school district participates in the Washington chapter of a national program called MESA (Mathematics, Engineering and Science Achievement). MESA is designed to help populations that are underrepresented in the world of mathematics, engineering and science achieve in those areas. During the past two school years he was one of two teachers at his high school involved in the MESA program. As a MESA teacher he took students on science and education related field trips, brought guest speakers into the classroom, and coached students as they prepared for and participated in the annual MESA science competition. Matthew believes that a good teacher cares deeply about people and is extremely knowledgeable in his or her content area. A good teacher understands that rigor is not about how much work you assign but about the level of thought and engagement the work requires. A good teacher is able to help students construct understanding and meaning in many different ways. The ability to adjust and adapt is an essential trait of a good teacher. In the classroom, the best laid plans can be turned on their head in an instant. He understands this and is vigilantly and purposefully flexible in his approach to teaching and learning. A good teacher is ready and able to facilitate learning in a myriad of ways depending on the situations that present themselves. Integral to all of this is the need for a teacher to have a deep, thorough and innate understanding of human systems. Emotional intelligence is every bit as important as academic intelligence if one is to be an effective teacher.

Matthew is an avid outdoors person. He enjoys hiking, backpacking, rock climbing, mountaineering, and sailing. His outdoor activities inspire and feed his wonder and curiosity about the world around him. This wonder and curiosity is something he strives to bring into the classroom and infuse into the students he works with. He believes that people are naturally curious about how the universe works. He believes it is the job of education to foster and feed this curiosity in ways that inspire students to want to know more, challenge themselves, and ultimately enrich their lives and enrich the world around them.

Matthew is serving his second fellowship year at the Department of Energy, Office of Science, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Program.