Motion, force and electricity made a lot more sense to Patricia Herr's eighth-grade science class after the students built a roller-coaster inside their classroom. "She has developed many creative ways to encourage her students to explore science and to hone their talents," said dean Kate Splendore, who was among those who nominated Herr for a local award that Herr subsequently won. "She is constantly exploring new ideas and challenging herself as well as her students to think outside the box," Splendore wrote.

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