Tim Swanson: Upper School Physics and Engineering Instructor

Tim Swanson: Upper School Physics and Engineering Instructor
Amy Barnard

Education: University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN—BS, Geotechnical Engineering; Minor, Geology. University of St. Thomas, Saint Paul, MN—Master of Arts in Education 

Hometown: Born in Brooklyn Park, currently in Shoreview 

Years At Minnehaha Academy: 6th year 

Classes Taught: Freshman Physics, AP Physics C: Mechanics, Applied Research in Engineering I and II, ISS project, 3-5 grade Lego robotics summer class

Interests and Hobbies: I like to create things, to build or fix things, and to use 3D design and printing. I rock climb, cross country ski, and have a fairly extensive collection of sand from around the world.


Q. What do you love about your role as a teacher?  

I love that I get to share some of the most amazing things in the world with some of the most wonderful people in the world. Science and engineering are endlessly fascinating, and I like that I get to expose others to things they may not have noticed before. There are also many valuable life skills that come out of the processes and study of science, so I get to help set students up for more success just by teaching what I love.  

Q. How do you integrate faith with your role as a teacher? 

A big part of what drives me to worship is often connected to seeing detail and precision in the way the universe was created. My deep hope is that my students will begin to tune in to God’s beautiful creation all around them. I find that a knowledge of how nature works vastly increases my appreciation for the depth of intricacy and thought that went into the creation of this universe. 

Q.  What advice would you give to your younger self? 

I would tell myself that school is for learning. It often felt like a hurdle on my way to the next thing: passing classes to get to the next level, and then a job. I didn’t always stop to consider that the classes were designed to help me know more about my world, be a well rounded person, have general knowledge for success, and ultimately, for the job I got. Actually learning the information is far more important than simply passing and moving on.  

Q. Are there exciting teaching moments that stick out to you?  

Every year I have all the students who worked on the ISS project hold it in their hands before we send it so that a small amount of their DNA gets to travel with our experiment to space.  Tiny amounts of me have traveled millions upon millions of miles in orbit around Earth. This is my job?!?

Q. Book you've read recently? 

The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. I also enjoyed Caesar’s Last Breath by Sam Kean not too long ago.

Q. What gives you hope? 

Jesus’s return!

Q. What is something adventurous or unique that you have done? 

A geology field camp in the Rocky Mountains. Three straight weeks of tenting in a national forest, field mapping geologic features all day, making our own food, all with a bunch of geology nerds. So much fun!

Q. What is one thing you would like to share with the parents of your students? 

Your child’s teachers really do care about your child.

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