Biology teacher recognized

UD's Gross named Delaware BioScience Association Educator of Year

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1:50 p.m., April 8, 2014--Brian Gross, a University of Delaware alumnus, has been selected as the 2014 High School BioScience Educator of the Year by the Delaware BioScience Association (DBA).

The DBA recognizes exemplary individuals for their contributions to Delaware’s bioscience community. When selecting an educator of the year, the organization looks for teachers who are implementing innovative inquiry-based, technology-infused science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) curriculum, and addressing real-world problems with real-life solutions. 

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Gross, a biology teacher at Delcastle Technical High School in Wilmington, has created a number of units for his biology students with real-world applications, including:

  • Solar cell research, in which students research, create and optimize organic thin film solar cells.
  • Biofuel laboratory unit, teaching students to extract and test enzymes to function in the bioethanol production process.
  • Global warming inquiry laboratory, to test variables that optimize the CO2 absorption rates of plants.

He is often called upon to pilot new curricula and conduct workshops for fellow teachers.

When Delcastle’s carpentry teacher developed a unit to build a bow for archery, Gross incorporated lessons of the cell biology of wood and the physics of bow mechanics. Students were able to apply their new scientific knowledge to create a faster shooting bow.

Over the past six years, Gross has fostered a partnership to rehabilitate the stream and "backyard habitat" at Delcastle. More than 450 students -- logging well over 2,000 hours of service -- planted 158 trees, cleaned loads of trash, and planted two acres of wildflower meadow. They have now drafted plans for an outdoor classroom that will serve as a lab for studying alternative energy projects.

In 2013, Gross received a master of instruction degree in education from UD’s College of Education and Human Development. He was nominated for the award by Zoubeida Dagher, UD professor of science education. 

“Brian is creative, innovative, and inspirational to those who come in contact with him, “ said Dagher. “In addition to his teaching in the classroom, he has mentored two student teachers in our master’s in education program. In this sense, he has inspired a new generation of biology teachers.”

Gross will be presented with the award on April 16 at the 2014 Delaware Bio Awards Gala.

Article by Elizabeth Penczak

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