‘Teacher of the Week’ uses mousetraps to teach science
WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — No doubt you’ve seen or used spring-loaded mousetraps but one Cape Fear teacher uses them to capture his students’ attention about science.
Despite the noise coming from his room, this isn’t carpentry class, and while mousetraps are scattered on many of the desks, there isn’t a problem with mice.
“Our project is trying to take everything we’ve been talking about for work, for power, for simple machines, using levers and axles and combining them into one project–getting a vehicle to move by a simple mousetrap,” said Brandt Hart, a teacher at Cape Fear Center for Inquiry (CFCI).
For the last three years, he’s taught seventh and eighth grade science at CFCI, one of Wilmington’s oldest public charter schools.
A parent who nominated Hart says he makes science so interesting her daughter now enjoys doing her science homework.
“Definitely, that’s what we’re looking for is people actively taking what they’re learning in the classroom and applying it to their real life,” Hart said.
Concerns about the environment and climate change drive Hart’s passion for teaching.
“I wanted to make sure that I was spending my life doing something that was giving me some kind of fulfillment and I’ve always cared a lot about science, cared about the environment, and I’m a big believer that the best way you can impact change is with a younger generation,” Hart said.
“Some people are born to teach and Brandt is one of those teachers,” said CFCI Director Lori Roy. “He wants CFCI to be the best place it can be and he acknowledges his role in that and is always looking to grow so he can further grow his kids and there’s not an administrator or colleague or anybody that can ask for more than that. He’s doing what he’s meant to do.”
Hart said he was completely surprised to be named WWAY and Mattress and Furniture Liquidators’ Teacher of the Week.
“I try to avoid that type of attention at all costs, so it’s very surprising,” he said. “I think most teachers are like that. They’re in the frontlines doing what they need to do and not looking for more than that.”
While he enjoys helping his students design a mousetrap that can travel fast and far, he hopes this exercise is sparking something far more meaningful.
“Passion for science,” he said. “I’m not so worried about their grade at the end of the day. I want them excited about learning things new, not just as students in a school but going forward in their lives I want them caring about the environment, caring about the world, and I just want them to stay curious, really.”
Because of Hart’s ability to spark curiosity about science, we think that’s worth recognition.