Season 3, Episode 8

Making science a superhero

Tune in to the finale of Science Connections with elementary educator and recipient of the 2023 Anton Banko Award for Excellence in Teaching Elementary Science, Kate Bala. In this episode, Kate shares teaching tips on how she seamlessly integrates science with other content areas to give students an engaging, phenomena-based learning experience. Listen to hear about Kate’s unique teaching style and the helpful tips she offers to make science the superhero of any classroom.

Meet our guest(s):

Kate Bala

Meet Kate Bala, an elementary teacher with a dynamic spirit and a fervent dedication to cultivating curiosity in young minds. With a versatile background in teaching various grade levels from preK to 3rd grade in the early primary years, Kate is a beacon of enthusiasm in the field of education. She goes beyond the classroom, actively contributing to professional development by guiding teachers on implementing the New York State Science Learning standards based on the Next Gen standards. Kate Bala is a passionate advocate for three-dimensional, phenomena-based learning, and she believes in making science education an inclusive and inviting experience for all—she wants everyone to know they are invited to the science party! Her main objective is clear: cultivating curiosity one mind at a time, whether young or seasoned. Kate’s commitment and innovation have earned her the prestigious 2023 Anton Banko Excellence in Elementary Science Teaching award. As a member of the New York State Curriculum Development Network Team for Science (SCDN), she works towards breaking down silos and supporting teachers in seamlessly integrating science into their curriculum, ensuring that the spirit of curiosity thrives in every classroom.

Meet our host: Eric Cross

Eric Cross is a seventh grade science/technology teacher, grade level lead, and digital learning innovator for Albert Einstein Academies, International Baccalaureate schools. He is also an adjunct professor of learning and technology at the University of San Diego and a Google certified innovator. Eric earned a bachelor’s degree from Azusa Pacific University and a Master of Education from the University of San Diego. He had 17 years of experience working with at-risk youth and underserved populations before becoming a middle school teacher. By building relationships with students, colleagues, and the community, he has become an empowered leader in and out of the classroom. Through meaningful learning experiences centered around student agency, STEM has become accessible to students through highly engaging lesson design, thoughtful integration of digital tools, and culturally relevant pedagogy.


“I think being a scientist doesn't have to be a literal meaning. You don't have to be in a lab and testing things, because I tell my students that they’re scientists. So to me, science is everywhere. Science is how the world works around us.” —Kate Bala, Grade 2 teacher and recipient of the 2023 Anton Banko Award for Excellence in Teaching Elementary Science