LHS Teachers and Students Make Contribution to National Geographic

Londonderry High School Principal Jason Parent was proud to announce that two high school teachers: Patricia Lawson and Richard Levergood were contributing authors to the curriculum for National Geographic’s program “One Strange Rock”. The lesson plan is entitled “Mighty Microbes” and is a mix of Earth Science, Biology, and Chemistry. The series is narrated by Will Smith and began its run on March 26. “It was pretty neat to see that. They did a lot of work.” Parent said.

This lesson plan is accessible to science teachers across the country for reference. The series “One Strange Rock” airs on Thursday nights at 10/9 CT. High school science teacher, Patty Lawson was very proud of her students and explained what went into making the curriculum for “Mighty Microbes” with the help of her colleague Rich Levergood.

“We are both very excited and honored to have been contributing authors to the 210 page curriculum guide that accompanies the ten episode National Geographic program “One Strange Rock” (OSR).” Lawson said. “We are thankful to three of our students, Mike Carco, Jill Fitzgibbons and Ellen Kester for the help they gave us. In particular, they developed the slide show that accompanies a key lab activity that we submitted.  It was a great experience for the students.” “Also, being recognized at the end of the OSR Lesson 4 slide show is something that they can list on their resume. I am sure that there are not many high school students that can say that they were recognized within a National Geographic curriculum.” mentioned Lawson.

Lawson continued and described how she and Levergood worked together to make the lesson plan and even learned things from each other they did not know before. “The lesson provided an opportunity for the two of us to work together and merge physics, chemistry, biology and earth science topics.  We bounced ideas off of each other and learned quite a bit from each other as we are experts in different disciplines of science.” she said. “Our first step in developing the OSR lesson was to watch preliminary “takes” from the parts of the OSR episodes that we were to develop the Mighty Microbe lesson from.  As we watched these scenes, ideas began to form as to how to develop our lesson.

Using our background knowledge and years of experience, we developed four activities to show the progression of how microbes may have evolved on Earth.  We spent countless hours discussing ideas and re-writing our activities before the lesson was submitted to Dr. Barry Rock and then to Journeys in Film, the company that develops curricula for various films.  We then worked extensively with the editor of the OSR curriculum, Eileen Mattingly, to fine-tune our lesson before it was accepted by National Geographic and NASA.”

Once the process was complete, both Lawson and Levergood were happy with their experience and thanked the people that made it possible.

“Overall, developing the Mighty Microbes lesson was a great experience.  We are very grateful to the project coordinator Dr. Barry Rock, Professor Emeritus at the Department of Natural Resources and EOS (Institute for the Study of Earth, Ocean, and Space, University of New Hampshire). Dr. Rock invited us to assist him with this project, and coordinated the efforts of seven other New Hampshire teachers and professors to develop the eight lesson curriculum guide for OSR.” Lawson said.

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