This first weblog post for the year 2010 is dedicated to my science education colleague, writing partner, and dear friend, Dr. Joseph Abruscato. I’ll write about Joe in my next post, but I want to honor him here by identifying topics that motivated me this past year, and that I know would have been central to his beliefs about science teaching.
There were many interesting topics and stories in 2009. I wrote 101 posts on topics and subjects including evolution, Charles Darwin, humanistic science education, progressive science teaching, experiential science teaching, “paradigm shifts & science teaching,” Junk Science, global warming and climate change, student achievement and teacher effectiveness, informal learning, global thinking and Gaia Theory, a letter to the President and other stuff.
Here are ten of the stories that I think Joe would have appreciated, and enjoyed. They are in no particular order.
1. A Lesson on Darwin, and Other Stuff. A day in the life of me teaching one of our grandson’s middle school science classes. Fossils, timelines, and footprint puzzles marked the activities for this day. I picked this one because Joe and I presented workshops and taught together for nearly 30 years.
2. 200th Anniversary of The Father of Evolution. And it was the 150th anniversary of the publication of CD’s book, On the Evolution of Species. It was a quite a year, and you will find a lot of writing on this weblog on Darwin, and on the subject of evolution, intelligent design, creationism or why do politicians and elected officials spend so much time worrying about evolution?
3. Dear Mr. President: The Need for Meaningful Reform in Science Education. My meager attempt to suggest to President Obama that a humanistic paradigm needs to be at the center of reform in education. I said to the President:
This letter is an attempt on my part to think out loud, and share with you views held by many science teachers across the nation that believe that their work is a calling, and that their work with students should be grounded in the latest research that supports an active learning environment in which students explore, innovate, and solve meaningful problems. I believe that you would share these views that are held by many of my colleagues.
4. Some Ways to Interest Students in Science. In this post I suggested three ways that might interest our students: thinking big; thinking informally; & reconnecting with nature—the National Park Syndrome. These are ways that I have tried to motivate my students. They were ways that Dr. Joe used throughout his professional life.
5. Inspiring Your Students to Understand Climate Change and Our Energy Future. I’ve written a lot on global warming, climate change, and energy, especially as it pertains to the energy bills that are in Congress. This post introduces my readers to Dr. Stephen Chu, Secretary of Energy, who brings an inspirational demeanor to government.
6. From Sputnik to Sagan: Some Views on Science. This post was inspired by the publication of the book, Unscientific America which looks at the state of science and science education in American society today. If you haven’t seen the book, I recommend it to you.
7. Creation: A New Film About Charles Darwin. This is one of my favorite posts, which was prompted by a ping back from Michael Barton, who has a blog dedicated to all things Darwin. This film (follow this link to an amazing website) is soon to be released in the USA, and is based on the book, Annie’s Box: Charles Darwin, His Daughter, and Human Evolution.
8. Race to the Top: Hold on There! This is one of several posts that I wrote that were critical of the U.S. Department’s program entitled “The Race to the Top.”
9. The Coffee House Syndrome & Science Education. In this post I used the metaphor of the coffee house as a vehicle to explore a bit of the history of science, and relate it to the importance of informal discussion and talk in the development of ideas, and indeed, in science learning.
10. Science Teaching 3.0: A New Word Sign for Innovative Teaching. An exploration of the humanistic paradigm for science teaching.Tags: humanistic science teaching, Joseph Abruscato, Review of the Year, science teaching