Archives for March 2009

Junk Science: The Texas Board's Approach to Teaching

If you hand the teaching of science over to the Texas Board of Education, what you get in the end is junk science. For several months now, the Texas Board of Education has been involved in deciding upon a final draft for the new science standards for the state of Texas. The final set of […]

Junk Science: The Texas Board’s Approach to Teaching

If you hand the teaching of science over to the Texas Board of Education, what you get in the end is junk science. For several months now, the Texas Board of Education has been involved in deciding upon a final draft for the new science standards for the state of Texas. The final set of […]

Global warming: A bunch of hooey!

According to Mr. Don McLeroy, the chairman of the Texas State Board of Education any contribution by humans to global warming is a bunch of hooey! The Board of Education met for several days in Austin to discuss and vote on the new science standards (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) for Texas. Most of the […]

Strengths and Weaknesses of Evolution May Be Out of Texas Science Standards

UPDATE: The Texas Board of Education approved the science standards BUT teachers will be required to have students “scrutinize” all sides of the theories. Read more here for more details. We are in the Round Top Texas area for two weeks participating in a very large collection of antiques shows held twice a year in […]

Paradigm shifts: Education about, in and for the environment

Education about, in, and for the environment represent three different paradigms useful in helping us view environmental education and environmental science programs and activities.  Based on research by Rachel Michel (1996), these three paradigms can briefly be described as follows: Education about the environment is viewed as an approach in which information about the environment (concepts, facts, […]

Touch the earth: The case for learning outside the box

Many, many years ago I developed a book while being a writer for the Individualized Science Instructional System (ISIS) which was entitled Touch the Earth.  It was a geology mini-course, part of a large collection of earth, life, and physical science mini-courses for middle and high school science.  Although the title was a play on words, I […]

Is student science achievement the measure of teacher effectiveness?

The short, and the long answer to this is no. Of course I framed the question using the phrase “the measure of teacher effectiveness.”  Why do I bring this topic up for discussion on this blog.  In America there is a lot of talk about educational reform, especially from President Obama and the new Secretary […]

Earthday as a metaphor for a paradigm of informal learning

Informal learning as a paradigm for classroom learning suggests that learning is holistic, and is steeped in inclusiveness and connectedness.  As I suggested yesterday, John Dewey wrote about the importance of an “experiential education” more than 100 years ago, and his words are just as relevant today, as they were then. For many years I […]

Using informal learning to help students cross borders in science class

Non-school learning was a term that John Dewey used for “informal experiences” that he felt helped learners acquire attitudes, values, and knowledge from daily experiences. Many students come to science class from a cultural world-view that makes learning science much like the crossing of a cultural border. As I discussed in the last post, science […]

The world might be flat, but in science class, there are borders to cross

Thomas Friedman’s idea of a “flat world,” outlined in his book The World is Flat suggested that the rapid diffusion of computer and telecommunications technology into the lives of individuals in many nations around the world ushered us into a radically different era.  This led to new found possibilities for individuals and groups to collaborate, […]

Space Shuttle Discovery Launched!

I am watching the countdown of STS 119, the October 15, 2009 launch of the Space Shuttle, Discovery. I started this post at T minus 6 minutes and counting, and continued watching until Discovery reached orbit.  It’s always amazing whenever we launch the Space Shuttle. I remember watching the landing (from TV) of the first Space […]

Are Reformers Willing to Involve Students in “Cultivating a New Culture of Accountability?”

With the election of a new administration in Washington, one of the major areas of “change” will be education. More than $100 billion will be invested in education as part of the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In a speech earlier this week, President Obama has called for sweeping changes in American education calling for […]

Are Reformers Willing to Involve Students in "Cultivating a New Culture of Accountability?"

With the election of a new administration in Washington, one of the major areas of “change” will be education. More than $100 billion will be invested in education as part of the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act. In a speech earlier this week, President Obama has called for sweeping changes in American education calling for […]

The Politics of Humanizing Science Education

One of the major themes that has dominated the literature of science education since the late 1980s is the notion of “Science for All.”  Although possibly used before, Project 2061 of the AAAS used the term “Science for All Americans,” as the title of its 1989 book and from the date of that publication, the […]

Should science teaching be political? A Humanistic Question

I could have titled this “Is science teaching political?: A Humanistic Question.” In an article (Scientific literacy: A Freirean perspective as a radical view of humanistic science education) recently published in Science Education, Wildson L.P. dos Santos, of the Instituto de Quimica, Universidade de Brasilia, describes a rationale for advancing a new idea in humanistic […]

Is there life out there?

NASA’s latest spacecraft, Kepler lifted off into a solar orbit but in a region close to earth.  It’s mission over the next 3 1/2 years is look for Earth-like planets by using a photometer that is very sensitive to variation in the light intensity emitted from stars.  According to Kepler project scientists on a NASA […]

Asteroid 2009 DD45 Comes Close to Earth: A Teaching Opportunity

Australian astronomers noticed a surprise blip on an image taken from Siding Spring Observatory, and announced that an asteroid, designated 2009 DD45 would pass about 40,000 miles from Earth on March 2.   It did, and it was reported on most news services.  And it provides an interesting teaching opportunity to examine asteroids, and also […]

Climate Change, Politics and Science Teaching

The new administration in Washington has made it clear that it climate change would be one of the science-related issues that it would deal with, and there is clearly some evidence to support this.  In an article in USA Today, entitled Politics heats up global warming suggested that climate scientists should get involved in the […]

From Volcanoes in Your Backyard to Snow in Mine

About a week ago, I wrote a post entitled Volcano in Your Backyard, which was initiated by the Governor of Louisiana’s comment that spending money on volcano monitoring was an other example of wasteful spending by the government. February 8, 1984, I was on board a Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta to Portland, and as […]