Taking Science Statewide

Savannah WaszczukAccess Launch, Meet a Staffer

Taking Science Statewide
Megan Walcher combines her love of science and passion for teaching to instruct Launch’s Earth Science, Astronomy and AP Physics courses.
“My dad was in the military. I grew up in California, but then my dad actually broke his back in a helicopter accident, so we moved to Ash Grove, Missouri—which is really small—so that my mom could be closer to her twin sister.
     I went to high school in Ash Grove, and we had pretty limited course offerings. We didn’t have Advanced Placement or dual credit or anything like that. But I really wanted to study science—mostly because I was watching my dad go through the hospital setting with his back. I originally wanted to work for a veterans center and help veterans.
     I went to Missouri S&T after high school. I was the first person in my family to go to college. I thought I wanted to do pre-med, but I took a summer career pathway and realized that I’m super squeamish. I also loved chemistry—I had a really great high school chemistry teacher, so I was really passionate about that. I chose to study chemistry.
     I originally thought I wanted to work in a lab, but I did a few research projects and couldn’t really find a good fit for me. I also tutored, and I was obsessed with that—I looked forward to my time tutoring in science. Towards the end of my degree, I realized that I did not want to be a chemist, I wanted to teach.
     I’ve always taught at Parkview, and I started teaching online last summer. I was on a curriculum team re-writing AP Physics, and they mentioned that it was going to go online. I was really curious to see Physics in an online platform. I think—in general with science—it’s thought of with, ‘Oh, it’s this hands-on thing, how are you able to do this virtually?’
     One thing I’m really proud of of with this class in particular is the physics kits, which we mail to students enrolled in AP Physics across the state. I have written some hands-on labs to go in first semester and second semester—the kits have supplies so that students can perform essential labs.
     Semester 1 has quite a few labs. Some of them don’t require many materials, like figuring out your horsepower by running upstairs  or calculating your reaction time by catching a ruler—but then some use some really cool probe wear. We send motion detectors so they can graph their motion—they’ll walk back and forth in front of their Chromebooks and get live graphs. There’s a lot. If I were a student, I’d be super excited to get this package of goodies!”