Toolkit: Snakes, Skulls, and a Zombie Hunting Permit

This next-level STEM teacher makes room for nature, augmented reality, math, AND zombie hunting in his classroom.

Chad Pavlekovich, Ed.D, is a STEM science teacher at Salisbury Middle School in Wicomico County. He has been a finalist for Maryland Teacher of the Year and is a Maryland Master Teacher recognized for his work with STEM education from the Future of Education Technology in 2015 and STEMCON in 2017.

THE ICONIC POLYHEDRAL See portrait above This tool has settled many disagreements, from choice of projects and topics to the order of presentations. A lesson in probability, my students will often ask to roll for it!

AUGMENTED REALITY (AR) SANDBOX One of the coolest toys that I have in the classroom allows us to engineer and compare various geographic features found anywhere in the world. We’re even modelling the volcanos of Mars and the impact craters of the moon!

3D PRINTER I’m all about innovative practice in the classroom and the integration of technology to enhance the creative learning process. My students are in the preliminary stages of using these machines to create some fascinating things, including models. This area of technology excites me the most about the future of education.

A LIGHT SABER That’s right, a light saber. Given to me by a former student, my saber provides redirection, requests attention, and yes, serves as the occasional hall pass. With an online user name like jediteacher13 it just kind of makes sense!

MODELS Our models range from planets and dinosaurs to atoms and even black holes! I emphasize models and modeling so that my students can experience, engage with, and perform scientific inquiry in a hands-on, tactile way.

THE LIVING MENAGERIEWhat’s a science lab without some living things to observe and study? Slithering snakes, creeping arachnids, and colorful fish keep the kids engaged and appreciative of the diversity of life.

THE BUG-OUT JEEP Yes, I even include my personal vehicle into my curriculum. My ’90 Jeep Cherokee is used as part of our 1st unit of your 8th grade year. September is National Preparedness Month and our team incorporates the study of disasters and the weather together with a bit of

role-playing that places my students in a situation at school that requires a team of students to get to the Jeep for supplies.

The kids really love the chance to create the narrative based on our previous learning about disasters and the proper preparation for them. So much so that they keep wanting to continue the game!

THE NATURE CONNECTION: AN OUTDOOR WORKBOOK It’s important that students experience nature through engagement and this book is our guide. Who doesn’t need a little more Vitamin N in their life?