Potion’s Master

For all these years I’ve been sharing my talent as Potion’s Master, I’m still witnessing too many muggles (nonmagical folk) attempting to teach science. These muggle teachers are repeating words and equations from textbooks and making future scientists learn by memorizing without connections to our magical world. I was taught by muggles so I know first hand the real struggle future potion’s masters undergo in their learning.

In my Potion’s Master Presentation I share the magic formula to teaching science.

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I started to see signs of becoming a potion’s master at a very young age. One of my earliest memories was watching candles burn and wondering how they work. Where did the wax go? My mom handed me a piece of aluminum foil and said to hold it a little above the candle while it burned. Soon I saw black powder forming… that was magical. Somehow between the flame and the foil, this black powder moved. Then later my brothers had showed me how you can take sparklers from the 4th of July box and scrape off the gray stuff into an old tuna can. They lit the gray mass and I saw spots for the rest of the day because the light was so bright (burn a metal sample).

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I walked into the first day of chemistry class in high school. And saw, standing in front of the class, Mrs. Domke, the first female potion’s master I ever met. She welcomed us to a “class of curiosity” and said if anyone brings in a hard boiled egg or a soda can, she would demonstrate to us the magic of science. The next day I brought in dozens of hard boiled eggs and every empty soda can I could find between 1st and 5th periods. She took the one of my cans and placed a small amount of water inside, heated it up on a hot plate, steam soon came shooting out. With a pair of crucible tongs, she took the aluminum can and inverted into a beaker of cold water and… pop. The entire class screamed with excitement! It was magic, I was hooked. I knew in that moment, I wanted to become a Potion’s Master.

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I entered Michigan Tech in 1987, ready to start my training to become a fully degreed potion’s master. The day I arrived at the dorm with my trunk, broomstick, and muggle bike I thought I would explore my new wizard school I’ll be living the next four years. My first stop was the woman’s bathroom. I stepped in and saw a wall full of urinals. In fear I walked into the men’s bathroom, I ran out and looked on the door, only to see “women’s” papered over the original sign “men’s” It wasn’t until I realized the men to women ratio was 7:1 that I understood seeing urinals in almost all the woman’s bathroom on campus.

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But that wasn’t the toughest part, it wasn’t until I started taking chemistry that I realized I was wrongfully being taught by muggles. Or maybe it was too cold at this college and the owls couldn’t travel to inform these professors that they are indeed potions masters. Every class was lecture after lecture, memorization of formulas and equations I couldn’t understand. Not a single combustion reaction to DH. Not even a simple plunger to show the absence of gas would mean an absence of pressure.

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But I made it and I got my degree. Luckily, the owl delivering my letter did not get lost, did not get caught in a snow blizzard. No, the owl that delivered my letter did it the moment I decided to share my passion. And I am here, standing before you to tell you something that I am not ashamed to say.

I am a Potion’s Master.

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