Part I. Will the Debate over Evolution End Soon?


Richard Leakey says that looking at the past the way paleontologists and anthropologist do can teach us much about the future.  He points out that extinction is one of the most common types of phenomena observed in nature, and that extinctions are related to environmental change.  He suggests that environmental change is controlled by climate change, and now, humans are at the center of accelerating, indeed creating the kind of changes in climate that we see on Earth today.… Read more

Science Teaching: A Dilemma in Any Language

Depending upon the language you use the phrase “science teaching,” it conjures up different meanings and attitudes in the minds of our youth. In some cultures, science classes do not rate very high among students, although at the same time, they will assure you that science is important in the lives of its citizens. In some cultures, very few students want to pursue careers in science, whereas in other cultures, students see science as important to the well-being of their citizens, and because of this they want to pursue studies and careers in science.… Read more

Why are more students relying on tutors in mathematics and science?

Last week I was asked to contribute to the Room for Debate discussion site on The Opinion Pages of the New York Times.  On a nearly daily basis, Room for Debate posses a questions, and solicits contributions from four or five individuals.  The Room for Debate topics that I contributed to was entitled “Why are more students relying on tutors in science and mathematics?

Terry Tang, one of the editors for Room for Debate discussions introduced the tutoring in math and science issue as follows:

A generation ago, after-school tutoring was fairly rare.

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Top Blogs in Science Teaching

The Art of Teaching Science has been identified as one of 15 top science teaching blogs by Maria Magher’s blog.  We are very thrilled to be one of the weblogs on Maria’s list.  There you will find a collection of science teaching blogs that you might find relevant to your work.  I’ve visited all of the sites, and I think you will discover a host of interesting ideas.

One of the sites that I visited is entitled Mr.Read more

Nuclear Arms Treaty, Health Care, & Education’s Race to the Top

I’ve returned to writing posts on the Art of Teaching Science weblog after 3 1/2 week hiatus.  I spent most of the time in Texas participating the Round Top Antiques Festival, witnessing the blooming of the Texas Bluebonnets, and reading about the curriculum changes that will probably be enacted by the Texas State Board of Education.

There is are several important issues that I want to explore in the next few posts.  Today, the USA and Russia signed the New START Treaty that among other things, will reduce the number of nuclear weapons held by each country.   … Read more

Using Fear to Attack Teachers and Hold Schools Hostage

This week’s Newsweek magazine included three lead articles entitled Why we can’t get rid of failing teachers?, Schoolyard Brawl, and Blackboard Jungle. The next day, Teacher Magazine featured an online discussion related to these articles entitled Is Firing Bad Teachers the Answer? The discussion on the Teacher Magazine website encouraged readers to share their opinions based on this brief introduction:

The cover story in the current issue of Newsweek proclaims that, in order to improve schools, “we must fire bad teachers.” The story points to research showing that teacher quality is the most important factor in student success, and then argues that, for a variety of reasons – union obstructionism foremost among them – the teaching profession on the whole has languished in recent years, particularly in low-income schools.
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Why Using Achievement Test Results Is Not The Road To Take

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—I took the one less traveled by, And that has made all the difference.—Robert Frost

From the White House, to most Governor’s houses around the country, Americans are being led down a pathway that the creative and innovative would not take; and that is the road less traveled. We are following road signs that tell us that in order to compete in the global sphere, and to increase economic growth, we must improve student achievement, especially in math and reading.… Read more

Celebrating Individuality?

Yesterday I republished a post I wrote in October about the Race to the Top Fund, which is a $4.3 billion effort by the U.S. Department of Education to grant to winning States millions of dollars to increase student achievement, use student achievement data to evaluate teachers and administrators, emphasize STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, & Mathematics), expand testing and evaluation systems, and coordinate (articulate) curriculum. The Race to the Top is a continuation of the No Child Left Behind Act in which the Federal Government “regulates” schooling by linking student achievement to teacher effectiveness, and yes, economic growth.… Read more

Top Ten Weblog Posts in 2009 from The Art of Teaching Science: A Dedication to My Friend Dr. Joe Abruscato

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.… Read more

Science Education from People for People

In a recently published book, Science Education from People to People, (Kindle edition here) the contributing authors have created a book that builds up perspectives on science, scientific literacy, and science education “grounded in the lives of real people and that are oriented toward being for real people (rather than disembodied minds.)”

In this book, the authors want “science education to be for people rather than about how knowledge gets into the heads of people–be it by means of construction, transfer, or internalization.… Read more