By Kim Johnson

PRIOR LAKE (WCCO) — Take yourself back to seventh grade, seventh period on a Friday afternoon. Likely you had little attention span for physics and chemistry.

But Mrs. Sarah Nelson at Hidden Oaks Middle School in Prior Lake knows how to get her students to focus. It was one of her students who nominated her.

Nelson shows us her secret and why it makes her this week’s Excellent Educator.

“Science is the most fun,” Nelson said. “I get to play all day, I get to play with these kids who are great and I love it.”

Nelson originally wanted to be a marine biologist and even went to school at the University of San Diego hoping to become one.

“I would have done it except I have violent sea sickness. I learned the hard way. I just can’t be on a boat,” she said. “So, I thought science teaching was the way to go, I can share with them my love of animals, science, sharks, space.”

Two years ago, Nelson applied and was one of 200 teachers selected by Honeywell to attend NASA’s Space Camp for a week.

“It was so much fun, you do every activity you live space camp like a kid, only as a teacher,” she said.

Nelson says she gained valuable skills and curriculum that she still uses in the classroom today.

One of her students nominated her for this award, which for Nelson is a big compliment.

“That’s the best, as a teacher when it’s a student who recognizes you, that’s what matters, that’s what I’m here for is for these guys,” she said.


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