Veteran physics teacher brings life to his passions


Photo Culley Emborg

Science teacher Andy Lowe demonstrates the science behind a simple swinging pendulum to his fifth period physics class.

Sheridan High School science teacher Andy Lowe has walked one mile to school and one mile home almost every day for the past 14 years that he’s been teaching at Sheridan High School. In order to save a little gas, get a little exercise, and breathe a little fresh air, Lowe has trudged through snow, wind, rain, and sunshine on his way to work with thoughts of his lessons and a smile on his face.

Andy Lowe has been teaching math and science for 29 years altogether, but he’s taught in Sheridan County School District #2 for 20 of those years and at SHS for 14. In the past, he’s taught the whole spectrum of high school math and science including integrated science, biology, earth science, chemistry, math analysis, calculus, geometry, statistics, and both algebras but he’s currently teaching his favorite subject–physics and AP Physics–in Room B215.

Growing up with teachers for parents, Lowe has been surrounded by teaching for his whole life and this has led him to be a genuinely curious person who craves learning. His love of learning has led him to become an extremely enthusiastic teacher. “It’s the natural passion for learning and wanting new information that causes me to want to be a teacher,” he said.

Upon graduating high school, Lowe was tired of school and not ready to pursue college studies. After two years of running a chainsaw and clearing power line right-of-way all over Texas with a tree-trimming company, he realized he didn’t want to be a laborer for the remainder of his life. He decided to head to college and earn a degree in an area that he had wanted to pursue for a long time: teaching math and science.

Lowe uses his unique perspective to relate with his students and ensure that they understand the complex subject matter he teaches. One of the many physics-related creations he’s made in his personal woodworking shop is a homemade accelerometer which acts as a visual representation of acceleration.  This device is a two-liter pop bottle filled with water and fastened upside down to a slab of wood. Inside the bottle, a cork tied to a string is suspended in the water, and it shows which direction the bottle accelerates. When the bottle moves right, the cork moves right. When the bottle moves forward the cork moves forward. As Lowe presented to his class, he mentioned bringing the accelerometer into a car and watching how the cork moves as the car turns, speeds up, or slows down. “It’s a great conversation starter if you don’t know what to say on your first date,” he laughed wryly.

Since Lowe started teaching, he has been writing his own labs. The lab manual he currently uses consists of his favorite labs and the ones that demonstrate physics concepts the best. For the last four years, he’s been writing an AP Physics lab manual, and for the last 25 years, he’s been testing labs from textbooks and ideas that came to him in the middle of the night for these two manuals. In order to help other teachers all over the country, Lowe has shared his lab books at

Although teaching is Lowe’s main passion, the wilderness in general is a very close second. During the fall he hunts birds with his wire-haired pointer, Sadie, and every few years, he tries to snag a bull elk. With the help of a few books, Lowe taught himself how to fly fish at the age of 12, and he’s been actively fly fishing ever since. He finds contentment in the rushing waters of the Bighorn River and smaller streams such as the north fork of the Tongue River. These hobbies have helped him become more self reliant and reflect on his life and the important people in it.

Another outlet for Lowe is music. For the past ten years, he and his wife Ann, have been writing songs and playing music together. Lowe plays the clarinet, the opened-back banjo, and they both play the acoustic guitar. In 2011, the husband/wife duo released their album, “Time Will Take Us.” His wife had produced another album, “Truckin’ Along,” which came out in 2000 and featured her own songs and the both of them singing and playing. Both albums contain musical reflections of their personal lives and their philosophy on life. In regards to his genre, Lowe claims that the albums are a mixture of folk, folk-rock, the blues, Motown, and even a little pop. Both albums are available in community stores and on the Internet. Ann and Andy have performed at the Sheridan College, the WYO Theater, several Third Thursday events, and the Carriage House over the years but they’ve also performed at big summer concerts in Cody, Riverton, and Powell, Wyo, and Spearfish, S.D.

Presently, Lowe continues to walk to school every day and he still uses his free time to fly fish and create music-as he did so many years ago. Above all, he puts forth his best effort to connect with students on an educational and even a personal level. “One of the best parts about teaching is the relationships I’ve built with my students. I see them years later and they still remember my science class and I still remember them and it’s a really great thing,” Lowe said. His enduring love of teaching will stay with him until he retires.