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Q&A: WXPN’s Kids Corner Kitchen Chemist Lisa Chirlian

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Lisa Chirlian, Bryn Mawr
Kitchen Chemist, WXPN’s Kids Corner, which is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

Coolest thing about her job: Interacting with kids. This applies to my work with Kids Corner and my work as a math and science teacher at the Shipley School. I get to help kids develop a love of learning and a greater understanding of the world. I am a guest scientist on the “Science Thursday” series heard on Kids Corner. Each month, I present a science experiment that can be done in the kitchen, teaching kids that science is fun, science is for everyone, and science is everywhere.

The last thing she read: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling, and Why Don’t Students Like School: A Cognitive Scientist Answers Questions About How the Mind Works and What It Means for the Classroom by Daniel T. Willingham.

The last thing she ate that she loved: A Peking duck roll at SangKee in Wynnewood.

Country or rock? Folk. My favorite is Trout Fishing in America.

Pet peeve: Drivers who don’t yield to pedestrians in crosswalks. Give us a break!

Ketchup or mustard? Definitely ketchup.

The perfect vacation: Any city with good food, good museums and a good public-transportation system—like Boston and Washington, D.C.

Role model: Grant Wiggins, author of Understanding by Design, a book that changed how I think about teaching and learning. It helped me consider what it really means for students to understand what they’re learning. Teachers can use many different ways to help students demonstrate their understanding and connect the specific things they’re learning with their broader knowledge.

Words to live by: Live and learn.

What she likes most about herself: I’m passionate about teaching and learning, and I love that “Aha!” moment when something you’re learning—or something I’m teaching others—sinks in.

What she likes most about others: I like people who are kind, curious and willing to question things. 

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