Limed: Teaching with a Twist – Episode 3

Dr. Ben Machado, from South Seattle College, recently received a grant to incorporate place-based learning into his introductory biology classroom. Panelists Kelsey Bitting, Scott Morrison, and Dani Toma-Harrold provide ideas and insight on how “place” is more than just a location. 

This episode of Limed: Teaching with a Twist is hosted by Matt Wittstein and produced by Dhvani Toprani and Matt Wittstein in collaboration with the Center for Engaged Learning.

View a transcript of this episode.

About the Guest 

Ben Machado has been teaching biology to community college students for the last 15 years in Oregon, California, and Washington, where he currently teaches at South Seattle College. He tries to imbue high-impact teaching practices into every part of his curriculum and thinks that helping underserved populations of students experience the joy of learning biology is always the best part of his day. Currently Ben is trying to bring a greater awareness of the area around South Seattle College to his students by focusing some of his lessons on the Duwamish River. More info on this incredible river that has shaped Seattle’s history can be found here:  

About the Panel 

Headshot of a white woman with short brown hair, wearing a black blouse and silver, drop earrings.

Kelsey Bitting is an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies Department at Elon University, and a former Associate Director for Elon’s Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning. In her teaching, she incorporates a wide range of active and student-centered pedagogies, including place-based, community-engaged, and inquiry-based activities as well as contemplative pedagogy practices. She is the co-author of the peer-reviewed place-based unit curriculum, What’s in the Water?, and co-editor of the Guided Inquiry Introductory Geology Labs collection, both available on Teach the Earth. As a geoscience education researcher, she has published in The Journal of Geoscience Education and Research in Science Education, contributed to the development of the Geoscience Education Research community’s Grand Challenges effort, and formerly served as the president of the Geoscience Education Research Division of the National Association of Geoscience Teachers.  Learn more about her work and connect on LinkedIn.

White man with glasses, wearing a blue shirt and navy blue tie.

Scott Morrison is an Associate Professor of Education at Elon University. He spent 11 years as a middle school English, social studies, and science teacher in Blowing Rock, NC, where he built and maintained a garden with his students. In graduate school he realized that he was an ecologically minded teacher (Moroye, 2009). That is, he brought his environmental values and beliefs into the classroom even though he was not trained or required to do so. Scott teaches courses on environmental education and garden-based learning so that future teachers have the knowledge, skills, and experiences necessary for taking students outside during the school day. His research focuses on everyday environmental education, abolitionist teaching outside, ecologically minded teaching, nature-based learning, and social media in teacher education.  

Find him on Twitter (@scomorrison) and Instagram (@sco.morrison and @teachingoutside).  

Dani Toma-Harrold is a senior Elementary Education major with minors in African and African American Studies and Environmental Education at Elon University in North Carolina. While she is originally from Decatur, GA, she plans to stay in NC to teach (hopefully 3rd grade!). Dani is incredibly passionate about her research on the connections between antiracism, abolitionist teaching and place-based environmental education, or teaching and learning outside. Starting this study almost 2 years ago, she has presented at 7 national and international conferences, hosted a 2-part webinar series for a national garden support organization, created 2 workshops preparing a manuscript to publish her findings. Outside of classes, her 3rd grade student-teaching placement, and research, you can find Dani running around campus with Elon Runs or working at the local elementary school’s garden club! 

Resources Related to This Episode 

  • Charlton, Nathan. 2017. “Evaluating the Affective Impact of a Place-Based Learning Course Project in the Geosciences,” Masters Thesis, 2006. Western Michigan University.
  • Flanagan, Constance, Erin Gallay, Alisa Pykett, and Morgan Smallwood. 2019. “The Environmental Commons in Urban Communities: The Potential of Place-Based Education.” Frontiers in Psychology 10. 
  • Friedman, Samantha, and Scott A. Morrison. 2021. “‘I Just Want to Stay out There All Day’: A Case Study of Two Special Educators and Five Autistic Children Learning Outside at School.” Frontiers in Education 6.

Center Resources Related to This Episode

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