Joyce Houlihan

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Meet Joyce Houlihan from Las Cruces, NM

As a third grade teacher at a low income school in Las Cruces, New Mexico, Joyce Houlihan wants to bring in local scientists from the Asombro Institute for Science Education to conduct various hands-on science activities for 75 third graders. The scientists would come into her third grade classroom once a month for inquiry based lessons, all of which are directly aligned with New Mexico's State Standards and Benchmarks. Joyce requested $2,000 for the costs associated with the lessons as well as a follow-up field trip for everyone to the Chihuahua Desert Nature Park.

Joyce is in her 4th year of teaching at Doña Ana Elementary School and says the school does not have the funding for this type of event. "I know that this experience would be very beneficial to the third grade students of Dona Ana Elementary," she wrote in her application. "After meeting with the staff of the Asombro Institute and looking over the content they would teach our students, I am confident our students will learn the material and have fun while learning. Also, the three third grade teachers will benefit because we will have an opportunity to observe and help scientists teach our students. "

Diary Starts Here

November 17, 2010

This month's update from Joyce...

"Here are some pictures from today's lesson on animal adaptations. The students identified different types of animals and discussed the animals' adaptations. They also determined if the adaptation was a behavioral or physical adaptation. Students were able to feel a rattlesnake skin, observe a frog, and conduct an experiment comparing temperatures underground as opposed to above ground. These activites helped students to understand why animals live where they live!"

click the image to see a slideshow

October 28, 2010

Joyce sent us an update...

"The Asombro scientists came out again yesterday! They were teaching a lesson on plant adaptations. The students acted as various types of desert plants to show how roots absorb water. The students really seemed to get the concept when they were physically acting like the plant. The pictures are of the students acting as plants and they are being sprayed with a water-bottle to represent rain. Along with the acting, the students wrote the name of the plant in their workbooks and identified the plants' adaptation."

click the image to see a slideshow

September 29, 2010

Today was the Asombro scientists' first day at Doña Ana Elementary. The students investigated magnetic fields, and they conducted two experiments with magnets.

click the image to see a slideshow

September 28, 2010

Carlos Correa, from KRWG News in Las Cruces, posted a great video on YouTube about Joyce becoming one of Jenny's Heroes.

September 23, 2010

My surprise phone call today was put together by school principal, Rosa Apodaca, who arranged for Joyce and her entire class of twenty students to come in to the office for a phone call. The kids all applauded for their teacher as she explained to them what the program was about. The scientists will come to the school once a month for the entire school year.  Joyce said she grew up in Tucumcari, then attended college at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces. She said she chose teaching for her love of children and judging by their enthusiastic applause, it sounds like they love her back.

click the image to see a slideshow

09/23/10: Jenny wrote... "Joyce, what a great idea! I’m happy to help you bring this exciting opportunity to the school."

09/23/10: Damon wrote... "Congratulations, Joyce. Your students are sure to enjoy the hands-on science classes."