GRAND PRIZE WINNER, IMAGINE BIG
Los Angeles, California
About Cindy Beals:
Cindy has been teaching math and science in grades 7-12 for over 20 years throughout the United States and for a year in Istanbul, Turkey (as a Fulbright Classroom Teacher). She has a Master's of Science in Mathematics with a thematic study in secondary school science education from the University of Michigan. Currently, she is teaching AP Calculus BC, AP Statistics, Honors Physics, and Robotics 1 and 2 at Windward School, a dynamic college-preparatory school that challenges each student to achieve excellence in a nurturing, inclusive community. Cindy also co-coaches the VEX Robotics team 5871 and the USFirst Robotics (FRC) team 1452, and is the Director of STEAM Scholars Program at her school. The STEAM program provides an avenue for Windward students with a passion for science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics to explore their interests, and obtain recognition for the extra studies, outreach, reflection, and their culminating project in a STEAM area.
We asked Cindy about the importance of encouraging creativity in her students. Here's what she had to say:
"As we move further into the 21st century, the skills our students need to succeed in academia and beyond are changing. Top among these skills is creativity; it's a critical component of problem solving, as often the best solutions require ‘out of the box' thinking."
"Whether it's trying to find an elegant mathematical proof or seeking a solution to the economic crisis, one needs creativity to solve various problems. As teachers, one of our roles is to prepare the future workforce, and employers crave candidates with the ability to innovate, which is best fostered through creativity. Overarching so many of the skills our students require for success is creativity, so I believe that creativity is a crucial component of a student's ability to move to a point of excellence in all disciplines."