An Iowan is one of just 16 teachers in the U.S. and Canada this year invited to spend one week with scientists at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. Lyn Countryman teaches biology and science courses at the University of Northern Iowa’s Price Laboratory School. She recently returned to Iowa from her time at the CDC.
Countryman says one of the things she learned is there’s a wide variety of job opportunities in public health. "I think that’s one of the biggest things that we can take back to our classrooms," Countryman says, "(we can) teach kids that there are a lot of careers out there that they probably don’t even think about that are in public health." Countryman says it’s often a challenge to make science topics interesting and relevant to kids.
After her visit to the CDC, Countryman is now considering revamping her biology curriculum. For example, instead of teaching a unit on cells, she says she would teach a unit on cancer. "And we’d go backyards, first looking at the CDC statistics on cancer and discuss what we need to know to learn what cancer does," Countryman says, "and then we’d learn about the cell, but we’d start with the public health aspect of it." Countryman, who’s a native of Adel, started her teaching career in 1980.