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Science at High Speed

Greg Schaber

When Tina Roe looks at cheetahs, she sees science in action. And during the summer, she spent 10 days studying the fast, furry, four-legged marvels of science firsthand, observing the big cats in the wild in the African nation of Namibia. Roe, who received her master’s degree in secondary education from the University in May, teaches life science, environmental science and physical science at Whiteoak High School in rural Highland County, Ohio. And she says the cheetahs fit nicely with all of her subject areas.

“The cheetahs apply to life science because of the predator-prey relationship; they relate to environmental science because of the issues of conservation and community; and they even relate to physical science because of their acceleration and velocity,” she says.

The trip is part of a class called Earth Expeditions, offered by Ohio’s Miami University in partnership with the Cincinnati Zoo. While in Namibia, the 18 members of Roe’s group participated in a project at a research station operated by the Cheetah Conservation Fund, interacted with local schools and visited some of Namibia’s national parks. Participants each wrote a paper before going to Africa, and there’s a group research project that must be completed by December.

“I’ve always wanted to go to Africa, see the habitats and see some of the wildlife before they’re gone,” she says. “And I’m looking forward to incorporating some of that real-life research into my classroom, which will hopefully make things more interesting for my students as well.”

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