But when you think of science from an educational perspective, you see how these are great advancements—advancements in the scientific thinking of these students—and how, in this sense, Elmwood Franklin is a hotbed of scientific discovery. From the earliest of grades, kids are taught that science is more than a collection of facts to learn and memorize—science involves asking questions, observing, organizing, testing, analyzing, solving problems, even changing the world.
By the time they reach Upper School, students are ready for the more advanced scientific topics that await them. Steve Rao, who teaches science to grades five and seven, tackles complex subjects such as cell structure and theory, virus particles, and environmental sustainability. The issues get more sophisticated, and the kids’ interest rises to the challenge. After all, Steve hopes that "the lessons learned in science class here at EFS will inspire these students to find a cure for a disease or a solution to live more sustainably on our planet. I love when kids get excited about the scientific process and when they ask questions about our world!"
More About Steve
Place of birth: Saginaw, Michigan
Education: BS in biology from Kalamazoo College, Master’s in environmental education from the Audubon Expedition Institute of Lesley University
Favorite book: The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
Favorite movie: the Star Wars trilogy
Scientific discovery he’d like to make: “I’d like to discover a renewable, clean-burning fuel that’s cheap and abundant.”
Heroes: “My personal hero was my uncle B.K., the coolest guy, who taught me to always think with an open mind.” Steve also cites “all writers, artists, musicians, politicians, scientists, teachers, and students around the world who speak out against injustice and inequality and work toward a more peaceful and sustainable future.”
A few things you may not know about Steve: He holds honors in two very different enterprises: In fourth grade, Steve co-won his school’s breakdancing competition, and then in college, his tennis team won the national championship. In pursuit of his Master’s degree, he participated in an experiential, traveling learning program that focused on one bio-region of the country each semester. He lived on a converted school bus and camped outside every night, even in December in Colorado.