Robin Duncan and Nicole Pocsik – Inspiring Students to Excel in STEM

Year: 2021 — Province: Alberta
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Crescent Heights High School
Grades 10 to 12 - science
Medicine Hat, Alberta


“It is a turbulent time in the world, and in education. In the context of the pandemic Robin and Nicole have risen to the challenge and inspired their students and colleagues with their enthusiasm and their dedication to supporting STEM education, always with the principle that education should be addressed to the whole student. The world is looking for hope, honesty and structure. These two teachers province exactly that, plus extraordinary energy – every day.”


Teaching Approach

One of the key elements of Robin’s and Nicole’s teaching approach is their focus on relationship building with their students. For them, education of holistic. They view their students as whole persons, and not only as science learners. Their enthusiasm for science is put to the objective of building strong connections. One of their unique traits as educators is that they are storytellers. This makes science relevant and related to actual life events and challenges. Students in their classes do not ask “Why are we learning this?” The answer is obvious. There is a story to tell about it.

In the Classroom

Assessing student learning has been a concern for many teachers as students moved between in-person to online learning. Robin and Nicole were ready. They had already explored the world of online assessment tools to formally assess students learning. They use these tools to identify any gaps in learning and remedy those gaps before summative assessments take place. At that point, online quizzes and one-on-one conversations allow for timely and accurate feedback from students – and therefore fair assessments.

Robin and Nicole have implemented the flipped classroom structure for their lessons. They create videos that students watch ahead of the lesson allowing them to work at their own pace. Class time is used to ensure understanding, hands-on activities as well as one-on-one and small group support. Instead of being on stage in front of the class, they are directly involved with their students at their level. And they can funnel their energy and their attention to the needs of individual students. This has been extremely effective in the context of COVID, providing clear direction for students and allowing them the flexibility in their learning.

Outstanding Achievements

Robin and Nicole’s commitment to the promotion of STEM is remarkable. And their methods to achieve that are no less original. Before COVID became the crisis that disrupted all educational activities, they had planned a STEM-based career fair. The format is a speed dating type atmosphere where students are given short bursts of time with experts in one of the STEM fields. After these quick “dates” they can chose to attend a more in-depth session to learn more about a career in a STEM area. Their intention is to work with other high schools to provide this opportunity to all levels of STEM learners.

Get in touch!

Crescent Heights High School
1201 Division Ave N
Medicine Hat, AB T1A 5Y9
(403) 527-6641
Facebook: @CHHS76
Twitter: @chhs_76