The voice of the student.

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The voice of the student.

The Wave

The voice of the student.

The Wave

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The Ways of Teaching with Mr. Swope

Mr. Swope has a unique way of teaching that is beloved by students at MIA.
Michael Martinez-Melara
Mr. Swope has a unique way of teaching that is beloved by students at MIA.

Many teachers agree that getting their students to be interested and engaged in class is a challenging endeavor. Students today get distracted easily, especially with academic subjects that they find either boring or useless to their future lives. But for one MIA teacher, students show up excited and ready to learn daily in his class. 

A photograph of Marco Island Academy’s science teacher Mr. Swope. (Michael Martinez-Melara)

Mr. Swope is a science teacher at Marco Island Academy who teaches Chemistry and Physics. Chemistry and Physics are typically two of the more challenging courses for students to understand. However, most students within Mr. Swope’s classes find the subjects easy to understand and grasp. Logan Yarnell, a senior at MIA, said, “The wave unit in physics was the most memorable to me. He made learning something that was rather difficult a lot of fun.”

Students in Mr. Swope’s class experiment with heat by roasting marshmallows over a Bunsen burner. (Michael Martinez-Melara)

Not only do most students understand his classes and pass, but they enjoy them and engage with the material much more when compared to other courses. But how does Mr. Swope get these results? Mr. Swope tends to fill his classes with many unique activities students can engage in. Some of these activities include interactive labs, academic games like Kahoot and Blooket, science-themed escape rooms, and projects that allow students to group up and use their combined creativity. For example, in his physics class, he performs an egg drop test, with students making gadgets to see if they can protect an egg from the forces of gravity. Lexi Smith, an Alumni who took Mr. Swope’s Chemistry and Physics classes, said, “We did the egg drop in his physics class and we did activities for mole day… and it helps a lot. I find personally that it helps us get a deeper understanding of the concepts.” These activities and projects help students remember the material much more, since it’s fun and memorable compared to doing a worksheet for all your assignments.

Mr. Swope says about some projects and activities that help students remember, “In Chemistry, it’s labs. In Physics, it is a combination of labs and projects such as the egg drop, waterwheel, Rube Goldberg, and computer simulation.” But with these activities, Mr. Swope makes the students take charge in their own learning and take accountability for their knowledge.

 

Another factor in students’ appreciation of Swope’s courses is that he takes into consideration students’ prior knowledge and equips them with the skills needed to understand the material step by step. 

“Mr. Swope really went above and beyond in Physics. That was one of the harder classes, and I struggled a little bit. I really appreciate how much he helped me and the time he put in. He is always available if you want to learn and always tries his best.” -Katelin Reisinger, a senior at MIA

 

Mr. Swope inspires students not only in the classroom but also on a number of school science trips that he hosts. He sponsors SNHS (Science National Honor Society) and helps organize trips for his students, such as kayaking through mangroves, learning about marine life at local beaches, and much more. 

Students take a field trip with Mr. Swope to a local nature reserve in kayaks to further. (Michael Martinez-Melara)

In April, Mr. Swope will take some of the students in his physics class and SNHS to Disney’s Hollywood Studios. The students will take a lesson on how physics is used in some of Disney’s rides. Many students find it fun to go to Disney with their friends on a school trip, but they also learn valuable physics lessons and how it is used for everything they do in their lives. Mr. Swope said about the Disney trip, “The purpose of it was really to give the students a chance to go out and see the physics in action. My goal of the day is, through the participation of the rides, and then the different component of the workshops that they do, for the students to apply their knowledge of forces, motion, and energy are the three big pieces that they work on… so I think it a good opportunity for the students to see the physics.”

 

In simple terms, Mr. Swope’s way of teaching shows how powerful teaching can be when teachers care about their subjects and students. His methods prove that teachers can make a big difference in how students learn and enjoy school. By doing fun activities and paying attention to what students already know, teachers can help students understand tough subjects like science better. Mr. Swope’s teaching style encourages students to be curious, work together, and have fun while learning. His example shows that teachers can make learning exciting and meaningful for students, inspiring them to love learning for life.

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About the Contributor
Michael Martinez-Melara
Michael Martinez-Melara, Staff Writer
Michael Martinez Melara is a junior at Marco Island Academy and is a Staff Writer for The Wave. He has spent way too much money on overpriced vinyls and is an expert at taking the worst pictures of you. He tends to spend most of his time working for his family business and listening to music 24/7. In college, he plans on pursuing a career in aerospace engineering. 
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