Science department chair Angela Malone is adept at marrying art with science at Oxon Hill Middle School. As a member of the inaugural Arts Integration in the Classroom Committee and with a graduate course in arts integration under her belt, she has trained other teachers on how to integrate art into STEM – transforming it into STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math).
The charismatic seventh- and eighth-grade honors science teacher, who is also a trained actor and singer, uses student achievement data to plan differentiated learning activities and implement project-based learning that allows students to actively explore real-world problems and acquire a deeper knowledge of subject matter. Students engage in innovative projects like making homemade ice cream to explore chemical and physical changes in matter.
When teaching the unit on Motion, Forces and Energy, Malone asked her students to design a car that would protect a raw egg traveling down an inclined plane. The students had a mock budget to purchase washers, aluminum foil, cotton balls, straws, and other household materials to create their cars. Malone even hosted a grade-level competition to see which group created the best car, with students eager to explain their learning processes to classroom visitors. For a science team performance in a talent show, students rapped about learning in science while wearing safety goggles.
Malone has created a learning environment that insists on the students taking control and ownership of their learning while she acts as a facilitator. She maintains high expectations for achievement but also provides a roadmap for her students to attain those learning goals. She is able to measure their learning in an engaging manner utilizing technology. Students are even encouraged to use their own cell phones, for example, to conduct research.
Students exhibit a great deal of academic, social and emotional growth, which has led to a reduction in referrals to guidance and administrative personnel. It is this understanding and respect of adolescent learning styles that make Malone a model educator who is respected by her students.
Impacting the greater community, Malone helped host a PiDay on a weekend for over 200 students and community members and led workshops for parents and students during a STEM night. Her reputation is growing as district staff visit her classroom to observe her practices.
Malone earned a general studies degree in biology and philosophy from Dallas Baptist University in 1999 and post-baccalaureate teacher certification from LeTourneau University in 2004.
Feb 19, 2016
The Washington Post | Feb 18 , 2016 | Washington, DC