Air Pollution: Monitoring the Air You Breathe

Do you think there is any harm in going for a brisk 3-mile run on a summer afternoon in the metro-Atlanta area? It’s not a good idea. The ozone level is highest in the late afternoon and early evening.
Late afternoon readings of ozone are typically highest for the daily cycle of ozone levels. It’s not a good time to be out running.
Temperatures are beginning to rise in Atlanta, and other northern hemisphere cities. And with it, increased air pollution.… Read more

Earthday 2008 for the Birds

Earthday is a day for action and reflection. Some reflection follows:

I read two wonderful books about birds this past year by Bernd Heinrich, professor emeritus of biology at the University of Vermont. The first was the Snoring Bird: My Family’s Journey Through A Century of Biology. It’s a wonderful story of his father’s life which begins in pre-World War I Germany. His father becomes a devoted and famous naturalist, and and lives a life through two world wars in Europe, and comes to Maine where is son, Bernd, becomes an avid biologist at UVM.… Read more

Environment Important to the People, but not at the Presidential Debates

Charles Blow had a very interesting op-ed column in the New York Times today entitled “all atmospherics, no climate.” The op-ed focused on the graph shown below, generated from survey data by the Pew Research Center, which describes the percentage of Americans who think the issues of protecting the environment, and dealing with the energy problem should be top priorities for the president and Congress.

Blow points out that of the 2,372 questions posed by the moderators (primarily national TV anchors of major corporations), only 8 questions asked mentioned global warming or climate change.… Read more

Earthday: Time for A Whole Earth Energy Policy: Nuclear Anyone?

Earthday 2008 arrives in just a few days. I’ve been thinking and reading about Earthday, and about how our dependence of fossil fuels impacts all of us all of the time. From buying groceries, to going to work, to enjoying leisure activities. Our dependence on coal and oil as our primary source of energy has led to a critical problem that we face today.

About a year ago I read and wrote about James Lovelock’s book, The Revenge of GAIA: Earth’s Climatic Crisis & The Fate of Humanity.… Read more

My First Colonoscopy

Dear Readers,

Two days ago, I discussed two of my “first” experiences using the Internet. Well, today, want to talk about “my first colonoscopy”. For men and women, this is an important procedure that a healthcare provider uses to view the entire colon to see if there are any problems.

Some months ago, I had canceled my first outpatient appointment. A high percentage of people cancel the first time. You can guess why!

Although you only have to do this procedure once every ten years after age 50, one has to get up the nerve, and overcome being a chicken.… Read more

Children’s Video on Bay Area Science

In a recent study by the Lawrence Hall of Science Center for Research, Evaluation and Assessment, in collaboration with WestEd, more than 900 Bay Area school teachers and almost 60% of the Bay Area school districts that serve elementary school students were surveyed to shed light on the state of science education.

The results were summarized in video that I found on YouTube. You can go to the LHS site to read the detailed results of the study.… Read more

Evolving Use of the Internet—Growing Up Digital

In the last post, I described two of my earlier experiences using the Internet to connect to information and people. Over the past two decades, the way digital media has changed, and how it is being used is truly astounding. Digital media in an Internet environment enables teachers to involve students in experiences that connect to their own lives—a world centered in the use of a variety of digital media tools.

Most of the students who are in school, K-college, have grown up in a digital world, using devices from early childhood on.… Read more

First Experiences Using the Internet in Science Teaching

I had two real first experiences using the Internet.

Here’s the first:

I had purchased my first personal computer in 1980. It was an Apple II, which was invented by Steve Wozniak, the co-founder of Apple Computer. In his book, iWoz, Wozniak describes his unbelievable creativity in firstly inventing the Apple I, and followed soon thereafter (1977) with the Apple II. I used my 1980 Apple II (which used cassette tapes to run programs), along with a modem made by Hayes Micromodem of Atlanta to connect to two different data bases on the Internet: BRS Afterdark (Bibliographic Research Service which libraries used; afterdark meant it was cheaper), and Compuserve, one of the first online companies offering access to data bases and products—and this was 1980.… Read more

Web-Based Innovations for Science Teaching

In the next few posts I am going to talk about using the Internet in science teaching. countries

In 1995, I published my first website for the Global Thinking Project, and ever since then, have been involved in developing websites for my own projects, and teaching others how to develop their own websites for teaching.

Since that time, the Internet is perhaps the most transforming technology in history, reshaping business, media, entertainment, and society in amazing ways.… Read more

Authenticity as a Pathway to Humanistic Science Teaching

One of the serious issues related to contemporary science teaching is the dominance of traditional science teaching as defined by the rhetoric of standards-based science curriculum. Most students experience a science curriculum that is fundamentally didactic, rarely involving the students in authentic learning activities. The traditional model is overly mechanistic, individualistic, and focused on the learning of canonical content of science reflecting the orthodoxy of science. A more authentic approach to teaching would tend to prize innovative and flexible thinking, involve students in collaborative and interdependent work, and would help students learn how to learn, and how to ask questions.… Read more