Casey Johnson teaches at Blountstown High School in Blountstown, Florida — a small town in the northern panhandle of the state. He teaches three classes of physical science and one class of marine science in addition to an English 1 class. He also helps oversee a Florida Virtual School chemistry course for two students. They are instructed by a virtual teacher, but Johnson maintains a physical presence and can lend his knowledge if they need. He completed his bachelor’s degree in biological sciences from Florida State University in 2013 and completed his master’s in radiation biology from The University of Oxford in the UK in 2017.
How do you bring the latest science to your students?
I began an Instagram account and posted a random science fact each day. All the students were encouraged to check it out to learn fun tidbits that they wouldn’t have gotten from my class. I even developed a contest using the facts where students could answer questions for prizes. This really brought the classroom into the century of technology and social media.
Do you have a science demo that students find particularly compelling?
In my physical science class, I set up a crime scene investigation using the power of the flame tests. The students loved seeing the vibrant hues different compounds burnt with and discerning which suspect was the culprit using science!
What are you most proud of in your work?
I recently got to this school and found a large lab that had barely been used. The shelves were stocked with a plethora of chemicals, compounds, and equipment. I took it upon myself to search for and design engaging lab experiments for the class. The students remarked often how they’ve never really done experiments before and really enjoyed them. I was glad that I was able to show the students that science could be more than just textbooks and equations.
Share a video that you’ve used in the classroom that really excited your students. What makes it so interesting to them?
The entirety of BBC’s recent Blue Planet II is a pure masterpiece. My marine science class loved seeing the quality of the cinematography. The show ventures to locales that are not your run-of-the-mill bodies of water. The animals that are showcased are niche and unique. It really brings it all into perspective and encourages exploration to my students.
In three words, what would you say your students have learned from you?
How to question.