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Ben teaches Earth Science at UA Maker and extends the school’s Australia contingent into the sciences. Ben has a Bachelor of Arts in Geoscience from the University of Sydney, and a Master of Arts in Secondary Science Education from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Ben firmly believes that students learn most effectively when they are engaged and intrinsically motivated, and he prides himself on being able to find ways to make learning enjoyable and relevant for all students. To this end, Ben’s approach to Earth Science is expansive and interdisciplinary. Ben combines traditional Earth Science skills and content with social justice, sustainability, and human geography topics to teach a subject that more closely resembles Geography than traditional Earth Science.

Ben is also a maker at heart, bringing woodworking and culinary experience to his teaching. Ben is constantly looking for opportunities to get out of the classroom, to learn earth science in nature with real rocks and plants and animals replacing pictures and descriptions. This carries through into Ben’s personal life – when not teaching, Ben loves hiking and rock climbing, travel and food, adventure, exploration, and taking on new challenges.

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Heidi is a recent resident of New York City after moving from a small rural town in Northern Virginia. She attended The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg where she majored in Chemistry with a concentration on physical chemistry, which she applied to art conservation. During college, she was decided on being a dentist, but found her true passion in the classroom during an internship in Washington, DC. Upon completion of her BS in Chemistry, Heidi completed her Masters in Secondary Science Education with an endorsement in English as a Second Language. In her free time, Heidi enjoys running, doing yoga, trying new foods and wandering through the art galleries of LES. She loves talking about her work in research, what it was like growing up on a farm in a small southern town, and how things work! Her classroom focuses on applying the abstract concepts of chemistry to everyday phenomena through hands-on learning and real world projects!

Justin Grimmgreenblatt, Science




Pete Wood has always loved science, nature, and the environment.  As a Living Environment Teacher he will bring the richness of the natural world into the classroom for all to explore.

After a fulfilling career, working for companies that provide water and wastewater treatment solutions to industry and municipalities, Pete left behind “life in an airplane seat” to join the classroom.  Having travelled to all 50 States and many countries in pursuit of environmental control technology, he brings an awareness of the unique potential that exists within New York City.  He received a Master of Arts in Teaching from Pace University in 2014 and a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Engineering from Michigan Technological University in 1994. 

When he is not in the classroom, Pete can be found skiing, fishing, scuba diving, golfing, or gardening.