It would be impossible to deny that Patrick Kaplo’s life experience has deeply influenced his teaching practices. At Campbell High School in Litchfield, NH, Kaplo teaches several science courses—physics, engineering, and environmental science— using hovercrafts, submersibles and medieval siege machines, which his students construct and study. These are just a few examples of the non- traditional projects inspired by his time as a technician on a nuclear Navy cruiser, prior to becoming a teacher. For his students, the laws that govern the physical world have never been more exciting.
Students have flooded in to take Kaplo’s physics class, which has increased enrollment since he began teaching in 2004 from 22 students to 76. A significant amount of the increase has been in female students. Responding to this newfound niche, Kaplo initiated the “Women in Engineering” group and an after-school club called “Smart Chicks,” where young women can be surrounded by those with similar interests and aspirations.
Regardless of gender, Kaplo’s instruction has made a very positive impression. On the New England Common Assessment Program (NECAP) science test, his students scored almost 10 percent higher than the rest of the school. Part of Kaplo’s winning formula, apart from constructing and studying unusual forms of transport, is his use of technology, such as Pod casting his lectures online, monitoring message boards for his class, and online assessment modules. Kaplo was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship through which he taught briefly in India, taking a sabbatical from Campbell High School. While abroad, he still kept in touch with his students, who were eager to welcome him back.
2000 Worcester Polytechnic Institute, B.S.