Excellence in Science Teaching Awards History

The Iowa Academy of Science has a long history of recognizing great science teaching. The first science teaching award was presented to Steven Pattee, a biology teacher at Roosevelt High School, in 1957. A second award was presented to Loren Grout of Mason City in 1958. For 8 years the award was called the Iowa Science Teacher's Award and was administered by the Iowa Section of the American Chemical Society. Starting in 1965 three awards were given in biology, chemistry and physics teaching.

The Iowa Science Teacher's Awards became the Excellence in Science Teaching (ESTA) awards sometime between 1965 and 1969. By 1969 there were categories for biology, chemistry, earth science, mathematics and physics. Between 1965 and 1969 the Science Teaching Committee of the Iowa Academy of Science administered the awards.

In 1968 the committee ESTA Director position was created to coordinate selection and presentation of the awards. Dr. Paul Tweeten, Science Coordinator with the Iowa Department of Public Instruction was the first ESTA Director. From 1969 to the middle seventies Dr. David V. McCalley was the ESTA Director. At this time the ESTA director served as an ex-officio of the IAS Awards and Recognition Committee and selected the awardees with the committee.

Currently the Iowa Academy of Science sponsors all of the ESTA awards through Academy general funds. In the past various ESTA awards were sponsored by different organizations. The National Association of Biology Teachers has sponsored the biology award, the Iowa Geological Society has sponsored the earth science award and the American Association of Physics Teachers has sponsored the physics award.

Most of the information for this history was published in the Iowa Science Teachers Journal, Vol 13, No 3, 1976 - Excellence in Science Teaching Award Program by David V. McCalley. The article states that records of the 1959 to 1964 awards had been lost.