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Teacher turns her kitchen into a science lab

Chemistry teacher is eager to take her curriculum back to the classroom

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — When CAK moved to distance learning after spring break, Lisa Siard was all in. She had lesson plans, video lectures, and lab demonstrations. 

In fact, she traded her lab coat for a bathrobe.

She teaches advanced chemistry classes at Christian Academy of Knoxville. 

"Teachers love their students and will do so much for their students," she said. 

Credit: WBIR
Lisa Siard teaches advanced chemistry classes at Christian Academy of Knoxville

When the coronavirus forced schools to close, she continued to teach from home.

"We got thrown in the deep end and didn't know how to swim but, my goodness, we learned in about five days," she said. "I just decided to run up to the school, we were allowed in for five minutes one day, and grab a crate full of lab equipment. Brought it home. And my husband followed me around in the kitchen with my iPad recording it."

Credit: Lisa Siard
Lisa Siard shows students an experiment from her kitchen

The video labs in her kitchen were one element. She also gave her CAK students hard copies of her class note outlines which paired with daily video lectures she posted. 

But science works better in the classroom than the kitchen.   

"Some kids just aren't the same unless you're in the room with them. So the people factor is another big deal just being face to face," she said. 

It's hard to capture the wow factor on a screen.

"I especially look sometimes for the students who have told me they are not science people or they don't really like science and I'll say when you see the first thing you think is cool this year would you please tell me because it always happens," she said.

Why the bathrobe?

She said, "The beginning of Covid was so  scary for everybody and I just thought it might do the kids good if I was a little bit sillier than normal so I pushed myself to do that."

Just like she'll push her students to learn science this fall. 

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