UC Irvine alumna and Chino Valley teacher Lisa Moe taps into her students’ confidence, creativity and natural leadership abilities through STEM. She encourages students to use their knowledge of STEM to do good in the world and spread positivity. Moe was featured on the CBS series “Mission Unstoppable” during February, which spotlights female STEM professionals, and was recognized for her work in the classroom.
On the show “Mission Unstoppable,” several robotics projects from Moe’s students were shared. The assignment was to code something that will do good for someone else. For example, one student created a project for kids with anxiety, a fidget toy that plays a song and displays a “smiley face.”
In her lessons, Moe always tries to incorporate STEM. Her job is not just to prepare the students for the next grade level, it is to prepare them for the real world. Technology is such a huge part of the world now, and she makes sure that the students are well prepared to use it.
During an interview with NewU, Moe shared she was also working on a mission model project with the students. Instead of having the students build the mission out of physical materials, she is having them code virtual tours of their missions that they built virtually. She explained that she knows that her students are interested in coding. By incorporating something they already love into other lessons, they are able to enjoy their learning and hone multiple skills at once. It motivates them to do better and drives them to be leaders.
“They learn to be leaders in the classroom because they want to be able to explain it to someone else,” Moe said.
Encouragement, kindness and positivity are important topics in Moe’s class. She instills a “Yes, I can” mindset in her students from day one to make sure that they know that they can solve any problem that comes their way.
Moe was inspired to become a teacher by her own experiences as a student. Moe said that she had several discouraging teachers who told students that they were not good at math or science. These words created the idea in her head that she couldn’t succeed in science and math.
However, one teacher who stood out to Moe despite the discouragement was her fifth grade teacher, Mr. Richmond, who taught her that she could be whoever she wanted to be. Because of the long lasting impact his teaching style had on her, she explained that she spreads his positivity in her own classroom. Moe’s goal as a teacher is to make students feel that they are capable of learning anything, and she feels that it is just as important to support the student’s social needs as it is to meet students’ academic needs.
Moe explained that there is a common misconception that some students just don’t have a “math brain” or a “science brain,” which is so prevalent because of the huge role timing students in the classroom has.
Moe thinks that if a student doesn’t understand something as fast as another, it doesn’t mean that they are not smart; it just means that they learn at a different pace. Moe makes sure that she helps her students understand concepts they may be struggling with, no matter how long it takes them.
Moe wants to remove intimidation from her classroom. For example, tests have been renamed “smarty parties” in her classroom. She doesn’t want her students to feel pressured during exams, so instead she makes tests a celebration of knowledge, letting her students see, “beyond what they even saw in themselves.”
Caption: Lisa Moe and her students on ‘Mission Unstoppable’
By encouraging her students to celebrate their learning, Moe hopes to inspire them to pursue their dreams and provide them resources to succeed in the future.
Giselle Garcia is a STEM Staff Writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.