Dr. H’s students not only learn physics, they write physics books. George “Dr. H” Hademenos’s students have authored children’s books about energy, weather, and similar subjects. For this inventive approach at Richardson High School in Texas, Hademenos won AAAS’s 2011 Leadership in Science Education Prize for High School Teachers.
“I told the class, you might think you know something,” explained Hademenos, “but you’ve got to really understand it in order to explain it to a small child or your grandma.” The books relay key physics concepts at a fourth-grade level, so that a story about a soccer game interrupted by a storm also includes lessons on atmospheric pressure and a hands-on activity about homemade rainbows.
Hademenos and the students have shared the books at public science events and published an article about their work in The Physics Journal, so that other instructors might implement the project in classrooms around the country.
The annual prize of $1000, supported by an endowment established by AAAS member Edith D. Neimark, recognizes a high school teacher who has contributed significantly to the goal of advancing science education by developing an innovative and demonstrably effective classroom strategy, activity, or program.