Brant Miller

(USA) - Team Member

 


Brant is in the final stages of his PhD program in Science Education at the University of Minnesota. A variety of experiences inspire Brant’s desire for exploration.

Prior to pursuing his PhD, Brant was an 8th grade science teacher at Douglas Middle School in Box Elder, South Dakota for 6 years. As an 8th grade science teacher in western South Dakota Brant continually sought engaging and meaningful experiences for his students. One example of this would be the design and construction of arguably one of the first ever disc golf arboretums. Through the generous support of a Toyota Tapestry grant for science teachers which was administered through the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Brant was able to highlight the natural flora and fauna in South Dakota by engaging students in the popular game of disc golf!

Providing unique opportunities to the classroom is a passion to Brant. In on-going collaboration with Pontifical Catholic University in Valparaiso in Chile, Brant is providing teachers with authentic science and engineering research experiences that immerse them not only in the fundamental research but also a cultural experience very different from what they are familiar with in the United States. Brant sees these professional development opportunities as invaluable to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) teachers that seek to meet the needs of an ever changing and diverse student population. While in Chile Brant has also enjoyed climbing some Andean peaks and visiting some of the largest telescopes in the world.

Immersion in other cultures and the sharing amongst cultures is also key to another current project that Brant heads up. Taking a life of its own, Snow snakes is a highly coordinated effort to combine the culturally-based context of snow snakes with STEM content within an Adventure Learning environment. Snow snakes (shushumeg in Ojibwe) is defined as both a traditional American Indian game and a physical object. The game is played in tribal communities in the United States and Canada where the climate is conducive to such winter time pursuits. A snow snake (object) is a carved piece of wood that is said to emulate snakelike movements as it travels down an ice track. The game pits competitors against each other to see who can throw a snow snake the farthest. To learn more about this project and the game of snow snakes take a look at the website http://shushumeg.info.

The Alaska Native scholar Oscar Kwageley said that “the purpose of education is to die satiated with life”. This is one of Brant’s favorite quotes – to him it epitomizes the possibility of education, an education in which students can learn in a myriad of meaningful ways, not least of which is Adventure Learning!

To send Brant a note of encouragement or to just to say "Hello" while he is on the expedition. Click here >>