Teachers of the Year for 2004

Kirksville Chapter of Sigma Xi

News Release:  March 24, 2004

Bender and Loop Named "Teachers of the Year"

Patricia Bender and Marilyn Loop have been named “Teachers of the Year” for 2004 by the Kirksville Chapter of Sigma Xi.  Ms. Bender, who was presented with the Outstanding Secondary School Science/Math Teacher Award, teaches at the Green City R-1 High School.  Mrs. Loop, who teaches in Putnam County Elementary School, was presented with the Outstanding Primary School Teacher Award.  “Both teachers have created innovative curricula tailored to provide young students with deeply meaningful learning experiences” commented Cynthia L. Cooper, Ph.D., President of the Kirksville Chapter of Sigma Xi.  These awards are given annually by the Kirksville Chapter of Sigma Xi to recognize outstanding science and math teachers in Northeastern Missouri.

At Green City High School, Patricia Bender teaches several math classes, Physical Science, Chemistry, Anatomy and Physiology, and advanced classes in Biology and Physics.  As coach of the high school's Science Olympiad team, Bender has earned a reputation for her enthusiasm and dedication, and for transferring that enthusiasm to her students.  “Her students are excited and eager to participate, even though the preparation is after school”, commented another Green City teacher.  Bender is Green City's lead teacher in the Science Coop Project, which is a program developed by the University of Missouri St. Louis and Iowa State University to promote inquiry-based learning of science.  She also teaches a Summer Science Camp for children in grades 1-6, which also involves junior and senior high school students as teaching assistants.  One of Bender's students said “She makes science fun and interesting by the labs and hands on activities we do.  She tries to make science relate to real life, so it is easier for us to understand.  To my great chagrin, we have never blown anything up in her labs.”

“Mrs. Loop is a great science teacher!” is how one of Marilyn Loop's current students characterized her teacher.  The parent of another student wrote “Add my daughter's name to the countless list of students who are now ‘hooked’ on science because of Mrs. Loop”.  Loop teaches health and science to children from kindergarten to fifth grade in the Putnam County Elementary School.  She is known for her ‘hands-on’ discovery approach to teaching science, including after school programs such as a “Bugs are Allowed” course which encouraged students to catch and identify insects.  Loop also has a reputation for taking advantage of spontaneous events as a starting point for teaching, such as a unit about mammals developing from a student bringing in a small tree felled by a beaver.  Loop has been teaching for 40 years, 30 of which were in Putnam County Schools.  One of her former students fondly recalls “She taught science with true enthusiasm that came from a deep passion for the subject. ... I am thankful that she is still there, doing what she does so well.”

Sigma Xi is a national honor society for science and engineering, dedicated to promoting scientific enterprise and honoring scientific achievements.  The Kirksville Chapter was founded in 1989 and is comprised principally of faculty and students from Truman State University and Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine.  The Teacher of the Year awards are part of the Kirksville Chapter's efforts to promote science in Northeast Missouri.  In addition to recognizing outstanding teachers, the Kirksville Chapter of Sigma Xi also arranges for its members to assist local science teachers by bringing talks, demonstrations, and small-scale experiments into primary and secondary school classrooms.  More information about Sigma Xi outreach activities can be found on the Chapter's community outreach webpage:  http://SigmaXi.Truman.edu/sxoutreach.html.

Cynthia Cooper (center), President of the Kirksville Chapter of Sigma Xi, presents Teacher of the Year awards to Marilyn Loop (left) and Patricia Bender (right)

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Created:  March 30, 2004.  Last update:  March 30, 2004.

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