Engine Repair

My first teaching assignment was at Pioneer Valley High School in Santa Maria. I had a big shop and lots of tools. The students got dirty and we learned a lot. Most of the time about engines.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Dax Balzer for the past 4 years. I must say that initially when I hired him I was a little apprehensive about his ‘crazy’ ideas about teaching, but soon came to trust and respect him as well as depend on the plethora of skills he can call upon to accomplish nearly anything.” 

-S. Herrera, Pioneer Valley High School

Egg Catapult Contest

While student teaching at San Luis Obispo High School I had the opportunity to engage in some real life applications of physics. One was the Egg Catapult where students had to build a catapult to toss an egg as far as they could and were given additional points if the egg didn’t break upon landing.

“Areas of strength: Applies SDAIE strategies in lessons. Uses a variety of instructional strategies and resources to respond to students’ diverse needs. Facilitates learning experiences that promote autonomy, interaction, imagination, and creativity. Balances focus of instruction among scientific information, concepts, and principles. Demonstrates and encourages use of multiple ways to measure and record scientific data.”

-D. Buckmoyer, Cooperating Teacher

NOYCE Scholars

I became a NOYCE scholar for the duration of my post baccalaureate credentialing. Now the National Science Foundation has my back.

“His lessons were among the most creative I have seen, not simply meeting the content standards, but engaging his students in real science applications. Dax is a pleasure to work with and a true reflective educator. He takes suggestions from his supervisors and uses them immediately to improve his teaching. He will always strive to be better, an essential trait in the dynamic career.”

-N. Stauch, CalPoly Science Education Advisor

Science Roadshow

Back in 2004, after a landslide victory of 6-0 I took the reigns of the San Diego City College Science Club and urged it in a new direction. We gathered up our Chemistry concoctions and Physics doo-dads and set ourselves upon the road…the road of SCIENCE! We toured several schools in the area demonstrating all sorts of science phenomena that most kids in San Diego only saw in a video, if they were lucky.

“He is really a ‘Jack of all Trades.’ It is through this wide array of knowledge that he draws from to prepare and execute engaging lessons to students. He has a lot of fun with the kids and they can see that he truly enjoys what he is doing. He is not afraid to ‘embarrass’ himself (doing the Plate Tectonics dance 🙂 ) to help them remember a concept. Dax is willing to share life stories with his students to gain their trust and admiration.”

-A. Bates, SLOHS Agricultural Science Teacher

Sonic Whisker

In Calpoly Mechtronics, teams of 3-4 have to construct and program a robot to find an infrared “Avalanche Survivor” light inside our classroom. I was in charge of the chassis construction, obstacle avoidance, search pattern protocol, and proximity sensors. I think he’s cute.

“His depth of knowledge in many areas from welding and machining to graphics and music and to physics helps students understand science and technology in an exciting integrated manner[…]He has a wide area of interests that helps to keep the students he has worked with excited about learning[…]Dax would be a great addition to any staff that embraces 21st century skills[…]He has the ability to interact with the students on their own level while still maintaining structure, direction and discipline when necessary. The students really connect with him.”

-B. Findley, AGHS Engineering Technology Teacher

Bridges of San Diego County

Two small but strong bridges I made with friends for school competitions.

“Dax’s greatest strengths are his ability to plan lessons that are challenging, interesting and appropriate. He is enthusiastic and extremely competent in his knowledge of subject matter and his use of technology to enhance instruction. His explanations are clear and he makes excellent analogies to help students understand concepts. I have always observed Dax to be professional and ethical, and he reflects on his teaching practice by creating plans for improvement. In his student teaching assignment, Dax has developed a very nice classroom culture of mutual respect, fairness, curiosity and collaboration. Dax has a positive rapport with his students and he is a good role model.”

-L. Garcia, Faculty Advisor