The Hands-On Approach | Ohio Sea Grant

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The Hands-On Approach

9:33 am, Fri March 25, 2022 – Ashley Dulin-Smith has been a positive influence in her students’ lives at Dublin Jerome High School since 2013

Ashley Dulin-Smith

Dublin Jerome High School teacher Ashley Dulin-Smith takes part in a science field trip fish dissection at Stone Lab.

“I think the best part of the courses at Stone Lab was that you left with material that you could use in your classroom. I was captured by the first class I took — you were learning by doing, which is what I want to do in the classroom.”

Ashley Dulin-Smith has been a positive influence in her students’ lives since 2013, when she began her teaching career at Dublin Jerome High School in Dublin, Ohio. As a student of Stone Lab, Ashley brings hands-on ideas from the Stone Lab curriculum to her classroom at Dublin Jerome High.

In Ashley’s environmental sustainability and societies course, students are tasked with finding individual projects that often become opportunities for long-term study and impact. In 2017, Ashley returned from an Ohio Energy Project convention that included the notable demonstration of a Grind2Energy system — a unique, sustainable food waste disposal machine. When Ashley explained the presentation to her class, “two students grabbed on.”

These two students went on to conduct a manual audit of how much waste Dublin Jerome produced, sorting through bags of garbage to supplement their hands-on research. With Ashley’s as-needed nudging, they proposed the installation of a Grind2Energy device for their school to several administrations. After an extensive process, Ashley received permission to write a grant for her students’ project, and Dublin Jerome High School became the first public school in North America to implement the Grind2Energy system.

Ohio Sea Grant Education Specialist Angela Greene has mentored Ashley and many others through the courses offered at Stone Lab. Angie and her colleagues leave educators with the tools to “help their students really experience the world of science. Not just to sit in front of a textbook — to really experience it; to help them realize that they can make a difference through behavior changes and the actions they take.”

After attending Stone Lab’s immersive Water and Wildlife Training for Educators in 2016, Ashley’s high school courses developed into the engaging, impactful workshops that they are today. The training was the first certification course that Ashley took from Stone Lab, and she has since taken the hands-on approach to heart. “I would keep going back — I think being immersed on the island — where there’s no TV, there’s nothing else but island and water, you see what you are really trying to convey to students in the classroom.”

ARTICLE TITLE: The Hands-On Approach PUBLISHED: 9:33 am, Fri March 25, 2022