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Daniel Hellmund


Name: Daniel Hellmund
School: Wilmington Middle School
City: Wilmington
State: Ohio
Grade(s): 8th
Subject(s): Science

What quote inspires you?
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing” – Albert Einstein

What is your favorite color and why?
Black – the reasoning is that I find it fascinating that the pigment structure at a molecular level has the ability to absorb all visible wavelengths of light. That, and black goes well with all other colors.

What is your favorite piece of furniture in your classroom?
I find that our lab tables with sinks are the most useful. These tables allow us to perform more complex lab activities.

How would you describe your teaching style?
I first trigger interest with the shocking, strange, unknown, memorable, and/or humorous ‘hooks’, and then link to practical applications throughout the unit. I have never heard a student ask me, “Why do we have to learn this?” If that remains true until I retire, then I have been successful at my career.

When did you know you wanted to become a teacher?
I really enjoyed science and pursued molecular science lab work in my first years of college. I discovered that I did not really like working in the lab setting from grant to grant and learned that I enjoyed working with students and helping them with content. Teaching high school physical science and 8th grade science allows me to explore various avenues of science, rather than just one.

What is your favorite lesson/unit to teach?
My favorite unit is a physical science unit dealing with forces and car crashes. Students are challenged with constructing model cars out of aluminum foil, craft sticks, paper, and glue. There are strict size and material limitations. Their model cars must protect a pair of eggs from a swinging 10 lb. pendulum that simulates a front-end collision. Students research large-scale crash test results and the physics behind engineering modern cars. Student success is determined by whether or not they correctly applied the physics principles to their car’s design. If the pair of eggs remains uncracked, students accomplished the task. Students then review the success or failure of their design and report how they could improve upon it in the future. I have helped students with this project for the last five years, and students seem to really enjoy it.

More recently as of this year, students are designing and constructing hydraulic mechanical arms and must lift an empty soda can up and over a 6.5 inch wall. This lesson is quickly becoming a favorite STEM activity of mine as well!

What is your greatest challenge in teaching?
I think that the greatest challenge for me personally is trying to come up with better lessons than the year before. I am always reflecting and reviewing my instruction and activities to determine how to improve upon them.

If you could have a career other than a teacher, what would it be?
I would be a writer. Since high school I have written a series of novels. I am currently working on my seventh fiction novel. The other six have been self-published.

What’s something your students probably don’t know about you?
I am very shy. I have always been shy and don’t enjoy talking publicly. My students would probably not believe that, since I appear to be an energetic teacher.

If a student were to remember something about your class 50 years from now, what do you hope it would be?
I hope they remember how enthusiastic that strange teacher who always wore a dirty lab coat was. I hope that enthusiasm instills in them an interest in science.

What are your three favorite books?
1. The Laria Saga by Daniel Hellmund
2. The Pendragon Cycle by Stephen R. Lawhead
3. The King Raven Trilogy by Stephen R. Lawhead

Which do you prefer:

pen or pencil

coffee or tea

morning or afternoon

packed lunch or hot lunch

faculty meeting or dentist


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