Teacher participates in summer research experience - AZEdNews
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Teacher participates in summer research experience


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  • Julia Scotto/ Cave Creek Unified School District

Leah Moran, Gifted Creative Inquiry Program Teacher For Cave Creek Unified School District, Participated In A 5-week Long Summer Research Experience For Teachers. Photo Courtesy Cave Creek Unified

Leah Moran, Gifted Creative Inquiry Program Teacher for Cave Creek Unified School District, participated in a 5-week long Summer Research Experience for Teachers. 

Since then, she has decided to continue with the project because of a strong passion for introducing students in Arizona to solar energy.

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Students show their solar projects made under the guidance of teacher Leah Moran. Photo courtesy Cave Creek Unified School District

“We are grateful to have Leah leading our Gifted Creative Inquiry class,” said Tom Espy, Cave Creek Unified School District’s Director of Academic Services and Assessments.

“She continuously seeks out new professional development in S.T.E.M fields and is eager to bring what she’s learned back to the classroom,” Espy said. “Because of her, students get to learn firsthand about real-world issues and technology such as solar energy and renewable/non-renewable resources.”

She and other teachers from the Summer Research Experience have gone on tour to present their work.

Last month, Moran helped present at the Arizona Student Energy Conference (AZSec) held at the Biosphere in Tucson. This conference was for graduate and Ph.D. students in the field of energy.

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Students show their solar projects made under the guidance of teacher Leah Moran. Photo courtesy Cave Creek Unified School District

“They all loved coming to our poster and talking about what we are doing to teach kids about solar,” Moran said. “I learned what they want their future colleagues to know and I also enlightened them with the value of going to schools for outreach activities.” 

The Summer Research Group will be hosting a Solar 101 professional development for teachers in February and Moran is in the process of applying to present at the upcoming AZ Gifted Conference. 

Superintendent Dr. Debbie Burdick said, “Leah Moran is a quality educator who models life-long learning, creativity and problem-based thinking.  CCUSD students in her program are experiencing amazing learning opportunities.

Moran’s students have enjoyed incorporating solar into their projects. The 4th-grade students have all made solar-powered homes that are wired with LED lights and created exactly to scale. “Solar Homes” is the Project Based Learning (PBL) unit she developed last summer.

Moran has also had students make solar powered carnival rides and cars. She added, “Luckily we have lots of sunlight in AZ!” 

CCUSD’s Gifted Creative Inquire Program is available to students in grades 3-8 and is held at Sonoran Trails Middle School.  For more information, please contact Tom Espy at tespy@ccusd93.org