All about Brittany Baker @ Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy:
I am CMA's Middle School Integrated Science Teacher. I was fortunate enough to be a founding member of the CMA team and have gotten to see our beautiful school grow and develop over the past 3 years. I am passionate about using my classroom as a lever for justice, as well as making kids fall in love with science. Middle Schoolers are my favorite people, they are at the perfect intersection of curiosity, creativity, and hilarity. In my science class, we spend our time exploring phenomenons of the natural world and making sense of how they work.
What is your favorite thing about Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy?
"My favorite thing about Caliber: ChangeMakers Academy is the people, staff, students, and our families! They all bring so much joy to my heart. I feel that we are a true community, invested in the success and happiness of one another. I see evidence of this at CMA every day, families who are so gracious and connected to teachers, students who go out of their way to pop in and visit adults they care about, and colleagues who go out of their way to help. It feels like we are all truly pulling in the same direction for the good of our community, and I've never experienced that anywhere else before.”
Tell me more about the exploration unit your students are working on in science class?
“In my class we are pursuing a variety of explorations. I teach 6th, 7th, and 8th so I teach each grade something different every day. In 6th grade, we are exploring how the ocean, atmosphere, and climate interact. In our last lab, we modeled ocean currents using a chemical reaction between milk and dish soap and we also built a model of the layers of the atmosphere using liquids with different densities. In 7th grade, we are in a very exciting chemical reactions unit, so we've been making all kinds of substances that bubble, boil, or blow up! Finally in 8th grade we're exploring light waves and how they interact with different materials- we built laser obstacle courses to show how concentrated light can be manipulated. It's all a lot of fun.”
What has been your favorite lesson or memory with your students?
“There are so many it's really hard to choose, but I would have to say one of the Egg Drop Projects I did with my current eighth grade class back when they were 6th graders (I've gotten to teach them every year for middle school science- dream come true!) It was one of our first big engineering projects we tackled and they had such a blast planning, designing, and building their prototypes. I even talked our Director of Operations into letting me climb up on top of the 3-story gym room at our old campus to drop them, it was pretty epic! I was super impressed at how many eggs survived such a big fall; they're amazing engineers. It's really great to be in a place where so many people are committed to giving our students educational experiences that they will remember fondly forever.”
If you can relate the work you do to one of our pillars, which would it be?
“I would hope that my work most reflects our ACT pillar. My work as a teacher is my activism, it is my opportunity to build up a new generation of young people who will fight for what is good and what is equitable. The ability to shape young minds, build them to be strong, to question, to stand up for what they believe in- it's truly an honor to be able to occupy this space in the lives of young people, and one that I am so grateful to have.”
What is one fun fact that most people don't know about you?
“I am REALLLLLLLLY GOOD at soccer! Just kidding, I'm kind of terrible, but I play every Friday here in Vallejo at the Mare Island Sports Complex. I love running into my students who are there playing basketball, volleyball, and soccer. I never took advantage of the opportunity to play on a team when I was in school, so I love getting to live out my dreams of athletic adequacy now that I am an adult, haha!”