Luther College student utilizes J-Term to prepare for her future career
Luther College senior Hayley Carr ’23 is getting a jump start on her career by developing classroom lesson plans while still in college. Carr is studying biology and secondary education with the goal of teaching middle school students about her passions.
“I’ve always been so interested in the outdoors and how the world around us works, you know, like the dirt under our feet. What’s going on in there? What’s in our sky? I have always been really interested in how things work and I think biology and teaching as a whole is really going to help me share those passions with other people,” said Carr.
This January Term (J-Term) at Luther College, Carr collaborated with Beth Lynch, associate professor of biology, to dive into three topics in ecology. They created ecology modules or lesson plans focused on specific subjects including subnivium (rare under-snow ecosystems), fire use and suppression in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, and rare ecosystems found in the Driftless such as algific talus slopes and water ecology and quality.
“I spent about a week on each of these topics, diving into the literature, creating a middle school-level reading that could be presented in class, narrated using a flipped classroom approach, or used otherwise. To go along with that, I matched Next Generation Science Standards to each of the topics, then designed and compiled hands-on labs and activities I could use to supplement these lessons. I feel it is so important for students to learn by doing, and the labs, activities and demonstrations I picked to accompany my lessons reflect this,” said Carr.
Now, Carr is equipped with her first lesson plans as she moves into life after college, providing her with a little comfort.
During my student teaching experience, it kind of all hit me at once like, oh my gosh, next year I’m going to have my own classroom and I will have to develop my own lessons. So I’m like, okay, why don’t I start before I’m actually in the classroom? What I created are really high quality lessons and activities that are ready for me to use. I basically just have to print it out, get the materials and we’re ready to go.Hayley Carr '23
“During my student teaching experience, it kind of all hit me at once like, oh my gosh, next year I’m going to have my own classroom and I will have to develop my own lessons. So I’m like, okay, why don’t I start before I’m actually in the classroom? What I created are really high quality lessons and activities that are ready for me to use. I basically just have to print it out, get the materials and we’re ready to go,” said Carr.
As Carr moves into the future with her ecology modules, she says this is just one example of how her Luther experience prepared her for the real world.
“I’ve had some really, really great professors that have taught me so much. Combining the knowledge I’ve gained from my biology classes with what I’ve learned in my education classes about classroom management, how to plan lessons, and how to make things engaging for students will be greatly beneficial. I’ve had really great opportunities to learn a lot from my biology professors and my advisor, Dr. Eric Baack. I would also like to credit Dr. Beth Lynch for her willingness to work with me on this project, as well as Dr. Jill Leet-Otley, an education professor who has encouraged me to become a compassionate, curious and knowledgeable educator.“
J-Term at Luther College
January term or J-Term at Luther College is a unique time in Luther’s academic year when students are able to explore different interests, focus their studies or try new experiences. Students have the time and space to take a seminar, study abroad, get an internship or even prepare for their future.
About Luther College
At Luther College in beautiful Decorah, Iowa, students explore big questions and take action to benefit people, communities and society. Our academic programs, experiential approach to learning and welcoming community inspire students to learn actively, live purposefully and lead courageously for a lifetime of impact. Learn more at luther.edu.