For the past 11 years, John Kell has been an eighth grade math, history and STEM-elective teacher at Daisy Gibson School in Palmdale, CA. During his years at Daisy Gibson, John has also developed a multitude of afterschool activities that revolve around STEM including: robotics, forensic science and engineering. He is also actively involved with the school’s Science Olympiad and Mathlete teams. “It’s all about mentorship and guiding students towards higher academics and fields of STEM through hands-on projects and awareness” said Kell when asked about the programs he is involved with.
Three years ago, John received a flyer for MEEC’s first annual Solar Oven Cook-Off. Although he was unable to attend that year because of prior commitments, he made it a point to visit MEEC’s website to learn more about what MEEC had to offer. As STEM Coordinator for Daisy Gibson, Kell says “I was immediately hooked on the amount of resources that are available to teachers.” The following year, he made it a point to take advantage of as many opportunities as he was able. John has been involved with the Youth Environmental Leadership Conference as a student team advisor and has participated in many of the free teacher workshops that MEEC offers. Kell was also specially selected to attend MEEC’s 2014 EnviRetreat.
During his STEM Elective course, Kell’s students focus on sustainable energy solutions and sustainable architecture. “My program revolves around the resources and materials that I have received from being involved in MEEC workshops and activities,” explained Kell. Utilizing the tools he has received, his students are able to learn about interactions with their environment though observation and experimentation. Kell has used this method to foster student’s engagement and enthusiasm for the MEEC Annual Solar Oven Cook-Off.
Led by Kell, Daisy Gibson’s first cook-off team took home first place in both oven design and recipe at the 2014 event. His students were so excited that he ended up with six teams that wanted to participate in the 2015 Cook-Off. To determine what teams would be competing he organized a competition at the school with the two winning teams advancing to the MEEC Cook-Off. “All the teams enjoyed themselves and became very knowledgeable of solar cooking- so much so that we will be extending our school cook-off to the rest of Keppel School District and our neighboring school districts as well, “said Kell.