Mentoring Science Teachers

Perhaps one of the most important roles that science teachers play, apart from helping their students become excited about and learn science, is being a mentor to an apprentice or beginning teacher.   My own experience in the mentoring process was as a beginning teacher at Weston High School where I was mentored by Irv Marsden, physics teacher and department head.  Although there was not a formal mentoring process at Weston High, Irv took me under his wing, and created an environment of support and encouragement, and shared his knowledge of science teaching in a way that was open and humanistic.  … Read more

Why the film, “Waiting for Superman” demonizes public education

Over the past month, I’ve written several posts about the film Waiting for Superman, and wanted to return to it today, and point you to the Bridging Differences Weblog by Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier, and their criticism not only of this film, but how the forces behind the film, and the standards and test culture have resorted to the demonization of public schools, and misleading the public about the “success” of charter schools.

Here is how Diane Ravitch begin her recent post entitled Demonizing Public Education:

I reviewed “Waiting for ‘Superman'” for The New York Review of Books.

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Water on the Moon

NASA has reported that if astronauts heated lunar soil, it would yield water that could be purified and used for drinking, or separated into Oxygen and Hydrogen and used for rocket fuel.

NASA scientists, of  Project LCROSS, have reported that there is water in one of the moon’s craters, and that there is more water in this crater than there is in the Sahara Desert.  The water, in the form of ice crystals, makes up about 5 – 8% of the crater’s mixture.  … Read more

Science at the White House: An Oxymoron?

Science at the White House.  This is not a contradiction in terms.  This is not an oxymoron.  For the first time, the President of the United States brought to the White House award winning science projects, much like bringing the championship football or baseball team to take pictures with the President.  Yet, this event was much different.  The winning science fair projects were set up in the State Dining room, and the President, as well all of the invited guests spent more than hour perusing the science projects, and in the case of the President, talking with the students about their projects.… Read more

Geology of Chile

Chile is a very long but narrow country located in one of the most active tectonic regions of the earth. As seen in the map below, Chile is close to or part of four tectonic plates: the Antarctic Plate, the Nazca Plate, the Scotia Plate and the South American Plate. The eastern edge of the Nazca Plate is a convergent boundary in which crustal rock is moving under the South American Plate and the Andes Mountains, forming the Peru-Chile Trench.… Read more

Drilling Through Igneous Rock to Rescue the 33 Miners

On August 5, 2010, the San Jose Copper and Gold mine near Copiapó, Chile collapsed trapping 33 miners 2200 feet beneath the surface.  The San Jose mine has been operating for nearly 100 years, and the mining for copper and gold  is located in a granite type of rock diorite.  Diorite has about the same structural properties as granite but, perhaps because of its darker colour and more limited supply, is rarely used as an ornamental and building material.  … Read more

How Geology Aided in the Survival and Rescue of the Chilean Miners

All of the 33 Chilean miners, trapped for more than two months 2,200 feet below the surface, have been brought up to the surface using the ingenious capsule, designed by NASA and built by the Chilean navy. The capsule traveled up & down a shaft that was 26″ wide.  When we saw the first miner step out of the capsule and onto the surface of Earth, nearly a 1/2 mile above the cavern where the miners were trapped, we all witnessed a wondrous moment.… Read more

Science Teaching Fellowships

I received an email from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation announcing that they are now accepting applications for its prestigious KSTF Teaching Fellowships. Renewable for up to five years and valued at up to $150,000, the highly competitive Fellowships support America’s best and brightest teachers of high school mathematics and science at the critical early juncture of their career.

Here are the details for the Science Teaching Fellowships:

Moorestown, NJ, September 20, 2010 ¾ The Knowles Science Teaching Foundation, an advocate for beginning teachers and the teaching profession, is now accepting applications for its prestigious KSTF Teaching Fellowships.

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The Superman Hero is actually your 7th Grade “Science” Teacher!

Who travels faster than a speeding bullet?  Who jumps buildings in a single bound?  No, its not superman, its probably your 7th grade science teacher!  I’ve written about a movie which was just released titled Waiting for Superman.  Here is the official movie trailer.  After watching the trailer, you may or may not agree with what I say.

In the movie, public school teachers are depicted as the evil ones, and charter school teachers are seen as the good guys.… Read more

STEM Education: Is it Botany or Science Education?

There was an article published today in the New York Times entitled STEM Education has little to do with flowers written by Natalie Angier.  She started her article this way:

If you want to talk about bolstering science and math education in this country, I’ll gladly break out my virtual pompoms and go rah. Who wouldn’t? Our nation’s economy, global allure and future tense all depend on the strength of its scientific spine.

But mention the odious and increasingly pervasive term “STEM education,” and instead of cheerleading gear, I reach for my … pistil.

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