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Art Plus Physics Equals Innovation at Glen Burnie High

A Glen Burnie High teacher combined physics and art to create a new lens to understand the concepts through, and received national recognition.

The news came as a surprise to Allison Butler, as a full auditorium of students, teachers and family cheered her on.
The news came as a surprise to Allison Butler, as a full auditorium of students, teachers and family cheered her on.
A Glen Burnie High teacher was nationally recognized for her efforts in bringing art and physics together in the classroom this week.

The news came as a surprise to Allison Butler, as a full auditorium of students, teachers and family cheered her on.

“I am absolutely speechless,” Butler said as she accepted the award. “I was more than happy to have won the $2,000, but to have this kind of potential ahead of us for this program to reach every corner of this school and community and to bring us together in ways we have not yet realized is amazing.”

When she arrived at the school's auditorium Wednesday afternoon, Butler said she thought she was there to accept a $2,000 grant as part of the ING Unsung Heroes Award program, designed to recognize innovative teaching.
As it turns out, Butler had been selected for an additional $25,000 grant as the national winner among 1,300 entries across the country.

ING U.S. provides retirement plans and programs for teachers.

Butler's winning idea, "Art at the Speed of Light" combines the Anne Arundel County Public School system's drawing and painting curriculum with her high school's BioMedical Allied Health honors physics curriculum. The result is a class allowing students to study physics through a visual art lens.

Using the grant for the combined disciplines, Butler said she hopes to incorporate video animation and other photographic technologies as alternative ways to study physics.

“Allison Butler is a dynamic and innovative teacher whose excitement for and passion about teaching is equaled by her willingness to unceasingly search for ways to help her students,” Glen Burnie High School Principal Vickie Plitt said. “She is an out-of-the-box thinker whose classes are challenging, enlightening, and rewarding.”

Butler plans to use the $27,000 to purchase equipment for the class, including telephoto zoom lenses, tripods, Claymation software that will allow students to create action-sequenced video projects, computer tablet devices, a large-scale professional printer, and a speed light flash kit, according to a press release.

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