Laura Lukes

National Science Foundation
Office of Polar Programs

Arizona – Grades 9-12, Earth and Space Science, Geology

2010-11 Poster


While working on her M.S. in Geological Sciences at Virginia Tech, Laura Lukes taught introductory geology lab classes and, as the lab coordinator for two semesters, provided training for fellow teaching assistants. After graduating, she returned to The Ohio State University (her alma mater, B.S. in Geology) to earn her M.Ed. in Science Education and 7-12 teaching license. It was during this time that she researched and evaluated educational resources for the Eisenhower National Clearinghouse for Mathematical and Science Education (ENC) as a graduate research assistant.

She has spent the last five years teaching both traditional and honors Earth and Space Science courses at Saguaro High School in Scottsdale, Arizona. Her time at Saguaro has resulted in the creation of a rock and mineral museum that students of all levels use in various lab activities. This year she developed and implemented two dual enrollment geology courses (Physical and Historical) through a partnership with Scottsdale Community College in which junior and senior level high school students have the opportunity to earn both high school and college lab science credits. Laura also facilitated a district level in-service for Earth and Space Science teachers. In addition, she led an AEPA training session for the middle school science teachers in her district.

As adjunct faculty in the Physical Science departments at both Mesa and Rio Salado Community Colleges, Laura has taught college level introductory Physical and Geologic Disasters courses. She has created her own curriculum, teaching both in person and online. Not only has she actively participated in Mesa Community College Geology Club field trips, but has also created virtual field trips for those students who were unable to attend.

Laura shares her passion for science by using case studies and real world applications relevant to her students. She designs her classes to address the various learning style needs of those students. Laura engages her students through a variety of teaching methods including, but not limited to, visual interpretation, peer collaboration, self reflection, and notebooking. She has always worked on developing her own curriculum using local and state standards. One of her goals is to develop curriculum at the national level. Laura also plans to expand her involvement in the training of teachers, scientists, and informal educators. She will be serving her fellowship at the National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs.

Laura is an active member of various science education societies including the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA), National Earth Science Teachers Association (NESTA), and National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT). She is the current secretary of the Southwestern Section of NAGT. Additionally, she attends conferences and workshops which present the latest resources in science teaching.