Carla Cooper: Booster spreads the word about science education

Year: 2018 – Province: Saskatchewan

Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM

Carla Cooper

Lumsden High School
Box 449, 300 Broad Street
Lumsden, SK S0G 3C0

School telephone: 306-731-2262
School website:
Twitter: @carlacoop & @cooperscience

Subjects and grades taught: Science 10, Environmental Science 20, Biology 30, Wildlife Management

A leader in science education in Saskatchewan, Carla Cooper spreads her ideas and enthusiasm with students in class, when preparing for local, provincial and national science fairs, and with fellow educators who seek to emulate her approach.

Teaching approach

Carla's primary objective is to help students become scientifically literate, problem-based learners and contributing members in the fields of science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics.

STEM in the Classroom

  • Takes a big-picture approach to science curriculum, choosing themes such as "world travellers" and "Jurassic Park" to inspire activities and stories and help students see the threads that run through her courses
  • Seeks innovative ways to connect older and younger students, fostering mentorship and building community at the school: for example, Grade 10 students study motion with special sensors and then teach Grade 2 students how to use the technology to study the motion of bats in flight
  • Provides regular access to specialized equipment, such as Vernier probes, to carry out inquiry-based projects and analyze data (on air and water quality or friction, for example), while encouraging students to use their phones to document their work, and augment their standard lab reports with posters, blogs and vlogs

Outstanding achievements

  • Students shine at the Canada Wide Science Fair and attended the Global Youth Institute, held in Iowa, to learn from world leaders about global food shortages
  • As president of the Saskatchewan Science Teachers' Society, Carla has been working to make science workshops more accessible for teachers outside the province's major centres, replacing biannual conference with a travelling group of science presenters, for example
  • Has been one of the key facilitators and leaders of the board science fair for several years, and was one of the main organizers and presenters of the STEAM aspect of the 2017 Canada Wide Science Fair, held in Regina
  • As an educational leader in the school division, Carla has demonstrated new technologies, presented pedagogical methods and strategies to keep the division current in the field of science education, and developed and piloted these new curricula in several new science courses

Rave reviews

"I am always amazed at her dedication and passion in developing and enhancing her understanding in the field of science. She has an innate ability to create learning opportunities that meet the needs of all students within her classroom, and has the ability to make it relevant to their everyday life."

Fellow educator