Mission to the Blue Planet

Last week, astronomers in Europe announced the discovery of an Earth-like planet outside of our Solar System. It was discovered this month, and it orbits the star Gliese 581, which is a red dwarf star located a little more than 20 light years from Earth. As a star system, Gliese became interesting to the astronomers in that they found a planet, Gliese 581c, to be located in the “habitable zone” of that stars solar system.

Although one must be cautious that this planet might contain water, it is in the realm of possibility.… Read more

The Value of Student-to-Student Exchanges

For nearly 20 years, I was involved with a project that started in the 1980’s with people to people exchanges between educators and psychologists in North America with colleagues in the Soviet Union. We made annual visits and conducted seminar-type sessions with schools, universities and research institutes. After several visits, we started an exchange program with educators from schools and research institutes in Moscow and St. Petersburg (at the time, Leningrad). What emerged from these early exchanges was the Global Thinking Project a hands-across the globe program that involved students and teachers with research projects on various environmental problems such as ground-level ozone and water pollution.… Read more

Silent Springs of Past

Today is Earthday, 2007. On today’s CBS News Sunday Morning Program, one of the feature stories was The Legacy of “Silent Spring.” We all now know that Rachel Carson, the author of the 1962 book, Silent Spring wrote the book (with fierce opposition from the pesticide industry) to inform the public the fact (according to Carson) that pesticides were destroying wildlife and endangering the environment. At the time, the pesticide industry drummed up contrary opinion, and tried to claim that Carson’s science was flawed, and there was really no scientific evidence supporting her claims.… Read more

The Green Year?

Tomorrow is the year 2007 Earth Day, which started in 1970. Could the year 2007 be the Green Year, the tipping year in which government and industry embraced the importance of environmental sustainability just as the public is beginning to accept, and as the environmental movement has represented. Whether or not the environmental movement began in 1962 with Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, this year has been marked by profound reports and a Supreme Court Ruling. Further, magazines such as Time and Newsweek, and The New York Times have reported extensively on climate change and global warming.… Read more

How to teach science education courses real good?

Science methods courses ought to be just as interesting and exciting as the best high school geology or physics class. How to teach science education courses to achieve this goal is the subject of this weblog entry.

We’ve often talked about “how to teach science?” with assumption being that we are teaching K-12 students in either an elementary, middle or high school science course. In these discussions we’ve alluded to the importance of helping students construct knowledge, and to formulate courses that are inquiry-oriented.… Read more