Meet Nicole VanTassel: Founder and CEO of iExploreScience
Hi there! I’m Nicole – a science educator, three dimensional learning enthusiast, professional development provider, NGSS “translator,” discovery education expert, mom, and wife. (And to be real, probably not in that order.)
Like most teachers, I struggled with engaging my students in their learning early in my career. I became a teacher because I loved learning and my content. Naively, I thought my students just would, too. We all know, that’s not the reality.
Even with the best classroom management and the strongest relationships, I didn’t often see my urban high school students truly care about the work they were doing. And for the high achievers I encountered, they couldn’t see past the grade to understand the importance of the learning. I was failing my students.
Until I discovered a better way to teach — three dimensional instruction. I started using the Next Generation Science Standards*, and I saw student motivation, ownership, and learning blossom in my classroom.
After experiencing this amazing transformation myself, it became my mission to see high quality, three dimensional instruction become the norm in all science classes — for students in my community, for my own children, and for the future of our planet. (Yah, tall order, I know!) That’s how iExploreScience was born.
As an educator, I have been honored with awards from the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association, the National Science Teachers Association, Allegheny College, and Edinboro University. Some of these awards include the Maitland P. Simmons Memorial Award for New Teachers, the William B. McIlwaine Science Teaching Award, and the Shell Science Lab Challenge District IV Winner (two years in a row)! I have been selected for a number of competitive professional development opportunities — through the San Diego Zoo, Great Lakes Sea Grant Education Program, and Exxon-Mobil Teachers Academy — and I just LOVE taking advantage of these learning experiences! Lastly, I have had the opportunity to present professional development workshops for districts in Pennsylvania, the Lake Erie Arboretum at Frontier Park, at the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association’s annual conferences, and the National Science Teaching Association’s area conferences.
In addition to my work with iExploreScience, I currently serve on the board of the Pennsylvania Science Teachers Association as the Professional Development Chair.
If you’re still here, and you would like to connect more personally, check me out on Instagram!
iExploreScience: Translating Three Dimensional Learning And Supporting Teachers’ Transitions
I serve teachers who are struggling to put the Next Generation Science Standards* and three dimensional instruction into practice. I work with teachers who are yearning for a classroom where students are engaged and motivated to discover and learn. I consider myself so lucky to do what I love – learn and grow as an educator and curriculum developer – while giving teachers the tools they need to create amazing science experiences for their students. My mission is to see teachers become the instructors they always aspired to be while creating a generation of true science learners and critical thinkers.
*Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and no endorsement has been given.