GK-12 Learning Partnership

Hi! My name is John Bush. I am a graduate student at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, CO. This page concerns my work with the GK-12 Learning Partnership at CSM, which I worked with from Fall 20120 until Spring 2012. This program strives to improve math and science education in public schools by putting graduate students such as myself directly in the classroom assisting students. We also create lesson plans and facilitate hands-on exercises to help make learning math and science more fun!

About Me

Picture of Me I received my Bachelor's Degree from the University of Vermont, where I studied Environmental Sciences and Natural Resources. I then became interested in renewable energy and worked in the biodiesel industry as a consultant and educator for several years. Eventually I decided to pursue engineering for my graduate studies, and pursued a Master's Degree in Mechanical Engineering at CSM, with an emphasis in fluid mechanics and thermal science. My research involved the use of computer modeling to optimize the design and operation of algae growth systems. In addition to my coursework and research, I have worked as a teaching assistant for CSM's undergraduate fluid mechanics course. Feel free to contact me with any questions you have about the program or content on this site. The best way to reach me is via email: jobush@mines.edu


In addition to helping out in classrooms and developing lesson plans, I have also worked on a few longer-term projects for the program. These typically involved design and construction of an instrument or other type of learning tool to be used to demonstrate a concept or multitudes of concepts. These items are then made available for anyone in the program to use for lessons or demonstration.

  • Handmade Electric Guitar
    How former GK-12 fellow Van Blackwood and I designed and built a three-string electric steel guitar using mostly scrap wood and spare components. This instrument was presented at STEMapalooza 2010 as a demonstration of waveforms and electromagnetism.

  • Rubens Tube
    Another project that I worked on with Van Blackwood for the Video Outreach program of GK-12. We built a Rubens Tube for use as a demonstration of how sound waves interact with fluid dynamics to create a visual represenation of the waveforms.

Lesson Plans

The following are lesson plans I have developed and implemented for middle school students. They are separated according to the grade levels and subject, but they may be suitable for other classes as well. Feel free to use them for your own classes if you'd like. I have provided literature for use as handouts in PDF format. They are provided freely under the GFDL, provided they are not modified and retain the attribution included in the footer. If you have any questions, please email me.

6th Grade Math

6th Grade Science

  • Erosion and Deposition
    A hands-on activity demonstrating how water contributes to erosion and deposition in nature. Posted September 2011.
  • Biodiesel Fuel
    A hands-on activity or demonstration in which the students or teacher make half-liter test batches of biodiesel fuel from vegetable oil. Posted November 2011.
  • Fermentation
    A demonstration of a biological process in which yeast converts sugars to alcohol and carbon dioxide. Posted March 2012.

8th Grade Algebra I

  • Measuring Density
    A hands-on activity involving the measurement of liquids of different density. This exercise introduces the physical property density and involves the graphing of linear data of varying slope. Posted October 2011.