Mr. Gerard Kovach » Biography

Biography

Biography

It is an honor to become a part of the learning community here at Decatur and I wanted to take a moment to introduce myself. I am going into my 18th year of teaching, having served students and families from all across Chicago in grades 3-8, primarily in the subject areas of Science, Social Studies, and Language Arts. I hold a Master of Arts in Teaching Degree from National-Louis University, and in recent years I was awarded a Golden Apple in Teaching Fellowship and MSUrbanSTEM Fellowship. I earned National Board Teacher Certification in the area of Adolescent and Young Adult/ Literacy. 


I am extremely passionate about teaching and exploring Science with middle school students! My philosophy of teaching science revolves around guiding students into collaboratively exploring phenomena, both inside and outside of our classroom. Based upon their own observations, under the framework of The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), students devise their own evidence-based hypotheses, test their hypotheses with their own designed experiments and/or engineering creations, and after careful data analysis, they apply their language skills in a variety of ways to communicate their findings to a wider audience. Their audiences sometimes include students from other schools and locations, as well as professional scientists and engineers from local universities or corporate foundations, and even around the world via videoconferencing. 


When I am not in the pursuit of quenching my own lifelong love of learning new things through Science, I love spending time with family and friends. In the picture you can see my family; my wife, Megan, our children Ruby and Hank, and Hank’s service dog, Dosido. I am honored to be your child’s teacher of Science this year and I look forward to getting to know all of the middle school students and families of Decatur! 

 

Posts

Weeks 1-4 of Qtr 2

In science class, students have been put in the drivers' seats as scientists and engineers by taking their own research on their own self-selected topic to explore as their STEAM Fair Project, and devising in writing their own hypothesis and purpose statements. These statements serve as the foundation for now using the NGSS Science & Engineering Practices to test their hypothesis through experimental design or the engineering design process. This is the heart of NGSS, which allows students to explore scientific phenomena and engage in the same skills required of professional scientists and engineers who are working to find solutions to the most dire global problems of the 21st century! The slide show attached shows just a few examples of the many different problems that Decatur Middle School students have chosen to investigate, which encompass various disciplines of STEAM! I can't wait to share what they discover in the months ahead! I am so proud of the work the students have been putting in the past several weeks! In the meantime, I wish everyone a well deserved winter break and blessed New Year as we enter 2021! Sincerely, Mr. Kovach

Weeks 7 & 8

See some of our students' creative ideas for individual STEAM Fair Projects! Each student worked on developing or researching an idea to explore this year in which they will combine further in-depth research with either an experiment or engineering prototype that they devise in order to test their own hypothesis. This slide show celebrates the diversity of ideas and creativity of our students!

Weeks 4-6

Please check out our video of weeks 4-6 Science E-Learning! Highlights include: students extending their inquiry learning with the 321 strategy based on Scholastic Science World Magazine Articles; learning the elements of experimental design through "The 4 Question Strategy"; a lab investigation exploring why leaves are changing colors through a leaf chromatography activity that some students also chose to perform at home; a related investigation into the invisible reaction of photosynthesis using the chemical indicator, bromothymol blue; integration of live animals/class pets in our new Science lab; and a special visit by Mayor Lightfoot!

Weeks 1-3 Science Class

In weeks 1-2, the class spent time "Building Community" by each student creating and presenting their own "Getting to Know You Presentations". I presented first so students could get to know me as a new teacher to Decatur, and then students took turns presenting to the class. Community Building is essential as students will be expected to work in smaller teams from time to time this year in Science class, not to mention, scientists and engineers work in teams in the real world! The "Getting to Know You Presentations" were also a fun way to learn more about and celebrate the rich cultural diversity within our classroom and our Decatur Community! Starting in week 2, students were introduced to their Scholastic Science World Magazine online accounts. We read some articles together, and students learned how to analyze and interpret the articles through writing in a format known as "3-2-1", where they state 3 important things learned, 2 questions that come to their minds, and then take their own curiosity/inquiry further by researching one of their 2 questions, sharing what they learned from that research, and also sharing the link/resource to their research. These are practices scientists and engineers do everyday, especially when working in international teams like scientists from around the world collaborating on finding a vaccine for Coronavirus. Lastly, in week 3 we began watching together the documentary film, "The History of the World in 2 Hours". By viewing the film together, students are able to see how we will be exploring Science this year from many different lenses, or disciplines, such as biology, chemistry, astronomy, physics, earth science, and engineering. The film also highlights important Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) Disciplinary Core Ideas that all middle school students investigate deeper in Science class.