Jessica Metz teaches science at New Kituwah Academy in Cherokee, N.C. She enjoys learning about and integrating Cherokee culture into her lessons to empower her students as they explore, understand, and connect to the world around them.
While completing her degree at Western Carolina University, Jessica started teaching at Cherokee Elementary School. She has now spent over 15 years teaching in the Cherokee community. She also spent two years writing a culturally integrated middle school curriculum for Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Jessica is passionate about school gardens, partnering with community organizations and Cherokee tribal members to create traditional food and pollinator gardens. She is a North Carolina Environmental Educator, award-winning 4-H volunteer, 2014 National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow, and 2019 AISES Sequoyah Fellow.
Jessica fell in love with science while simply taking children outside. Native American culture, including diet, language, clothing, dances, and traditions of all kinds, is rooted in the natural world, and Jessica enjoys learning beside students exploring this knowledge.
She often can be found hiking through the woods, planting gardens, turning over rocks, stepping in streams, and generally getting her clothes dirty in the name of education.
Learn about thermal energy by examining the design of Cherokee fire pots, then reflect on Indigenous ways of knowing and westernized notions of science.