At Edneyville Elementary School, 4th-grade teacher Katie Pace is all about math, science, experiments, teamwork, and a few gummy worms thrown in.
"Bird beaks come in a variety of styles, shapes and sizes that are adaptive to the food that they eat," Pace explains to her students, before their experiment.
It’s a fun and lively experiment, as the students pair up, using tools like chopsticks, toothpicks, clothespins and spoons to represent different bird beak, then, using those tools to pick up seeds, walnuts and gummy worms.
"I’m hoping that by the end of the lesson, that they will be able to see with a greater understanding these types of animals live in these certain areas because they were made to live in that area," explains Pace.
Some say Katie Pace was made to be a teacher.
The California native who spent much of her life in children’s ministry didn’t always know that.
But an opportunity to start teaching at Edneyville Elementary in 2017 made it clear.
"This is kind of like where I found my calling. I found that purpose that I have," Pace explains.
That purpose also includes students learning from each other, like Ciera and Jocelyn who teamed up for the bird beak experiment.
The girls complimented each other.
"She helps me and encourages me to do more work," Ciera says of Jocelyn.
"I like how she’s so fun and she helps me with a lot of things. She’s a responsible girl," says Jocelyn of Ciera.
"They’re learning from each other, and, they kind of take correction better from each other. So, when they’re able to say, ‘no, no, no, don’t do it that way,’ they receive it in a much better way," says Pace.
Pace also received high praise in her nomination for working extra hours to make sure both her in-person and virtual students get the help they need.
"I think a lot of people understand teachers don’t clock out. We don’t’ clock out," says Katie Pace.