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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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. […]

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, & […]

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 […]

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, […]

Health Care in the US: An S-T-S Issue for the Science Classroom?

Health care has emerged as one of the most contentious issues of the day in the USA. The contention is not new. This PBS time line covering the past 100 years identifies points of contention and progress in the government’s attempt to deal with health care on a national level. A more informative time line […]

Three Ways to Interest Students in Science

Perhaps the fundamental goal of science education should be finding ways to interest students in science.  Stephen Hornstra Landgraaf, (The Netherlands) made this statement as part of his comment in my previous post.  In this era of standards-based education we leave most students outside of science, and do little to bring them in to see […]

From Sputnik to Sagan: Some Views on Science

I decided to obtain a copy of Unscientific America by Mooney and Kirshenbaum via my Kindle App on my iPhone, and started reading immediately.  A few days later, the book arrived.  In an early part of the book, “the rise and cultural decline of American science,” the authors have a chapter entitled: From Sputnik to […]

Science Education Conference, Istanbul, Turkey: September 2009

One of the posts that I made last October was the announcement of a science education research conference that will be held in Istanbul, Turkey, August 31 – September 4, 2009.  I head from many colleagues, especially science educators in Africa and the Middle East who indicated strong interest in attending the conference.  All of […]

The Graduation/Dropout-Rate: A follow up

I’ve been away on a trip to England for the past two weeks; this is the first post since the trip. On my way out of the Atlanta airport, I scanned the headlines of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution (AJC) and read the cover story headline: Student rolls don’t add up: Data shows thousands unaccounted for.  The […]

Graduation Rates-A dilemma that won't go away

Maureen Downey, education editorial writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote a piece about graduation rates in yesterday’s edition entitled Can’t throw up our hands as teens quit. According to Downey about 90,000 students will graduate from Georgia’s secondary schools this month, but there are another 49,000 teens who should have part of this year’s graduation […]

Graduation Rates-A dilemma that won’t go away

Maureen Downey, education editorial writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution wrote a piece about graduation rates in yesterday’s edition entitled Can’t throw up our hands as teens quit. According to Downey about 90,000 students will graduate from Georgia’s secondary schools this month, but there are another 49,000 teens who should have part of this year’s graduation […]

Georgia to boost pay of new math & science teachers: Some issues

The Georgia General Assembly passed a bill (HB 280) which the Governor signed relating to the employment and pay for mathematics and science teachers.  The bill would boost new math & science teachers’ salaries by paying these new teachers the same salary as a fifth year teacher.  In effect, the boost would be about $4,561 […]

Georgia to boost pay of new math & science teachers: Some issues

The Georgia General Assembly passed a bill (HB 280) which the Governor signed relating to the employment and pay for mathematics and science teachers.  The bill would boost new math & science teachers’ salaries by paying these new teachers the same salary as a fifth year teacher.  In effect, the boost would be about $4,561 […]

Science-Free Zones

In an interesting commentary in the Austin American-Statesman, Jim Marston (director of the Texas office of Environmental Defense Fund) wonders out-loud that citizens of Texas can not let Texas become a science-free zone. He was prompted to do so because of recent shenanigans of the State Board of Education. At last weeks’ board meeting, the […]

Science-Free Zones

In an interesting commentary in the Austin American-Statesman, Jim Marston (director of the Texas office of Environmental Defense Fund) wonders out-loud that citizens of Texas can not let Texas become a science-free zone. He was prompted to do so because of recent shenanigans of the State Board of Education. At last weeks’ board meeting, the […]

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, […]

NSF to Receive $3 Billion in Recovery Funds

Although mentioned on this site in my earlier discussions of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the National Science Foundation announced (on its site), that it will receive $3 Billion in Recovery Funds.  The announcement was made by Arden L. Bement, Jr., the Director of NSF.  According to the announcement, the funds will: go directly […]

Education and the Economic Recovery Bill

Today I want to focus on how education will play a crucial role in the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Bill, and will focus on education and schooling, as well as some comments about science education. Firstly, the amount of funds being directed into the education sector of the economy is enormous.  Depending upon which fact […]

Science & Education in the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Bill: Some Details

Science education in general, and science teachers, in particular, have an important role in the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Bill (ER&RB). According to the Committee on Appropriations, the ER&R Bill will target eight areas. As you scan the list, please note that science, technology & education are integral to the economic recovery. As you look […]

Science & Education in the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Bill: Some Details

Science education in general, and science teachers, in particular, have an important role in the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Bill (ER&RB). According to the Committee on Appropriations, the ER&R Bill will target eight areas. As you scan the list, please note that science, technology & education are integral to the economic recovery. As you look […]

Stimulating Innovation: The Key to Economic Recovery & Education Reform

The nation is about to embark on a path toward economic recovery and reinvestment in the future. I am confidant that we can do this. But to listen to some of the Governor’s these days, you would wonder what they are thinking, and why they are letting the citizens of their states down at the […]

Stimulating Innovation: The Key to Economic Recovery & Education Reform

The nation is about to embark on a path toward economic recovery and reinvestment in the future. I am confidant that we can do this. But to listen to some of the Governor’s these days, you would wonder what they are thinking, and why they are letting the citizens of their states down at the […]

Exploring Science & Technology & and Science Education in the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Act

Exploring the landscape of the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Act is an enormous task.  I know the Act was just signed by the President, but I am eager to find out the areas of recovery and reinvestment that pertain to science & technology and science education.  In the U.S. House of Representatives, there are 24 […]

Exploring Science & Technology & and Science Education in the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Act

Exploring the landscape of the Economic Recovery & Reinvestment Act is an enormous task.  I know the Act was just signed by the President, but I am eager to find out the areas of recovery and reinvestment that pertain to science & technology and science education.  In the U.S. House of Representatives, there are 24 […]

Billions and Billions, Part 2: A Look at Education “Stimulus” Funding

In this weblog post, I am continuing the discussion started yesterday when I invoked Carl Sagan’s signature phrase, “Billions and Billions.”  Today I want to look at the budget that the U.S. Department of Education will have as part of the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Firstly, here is a graphic showing how the $115 […]

Billions and Billions, Part 2: A Look at Education "Stimulus" Funding

In this weblog post, I am continuing the discussion started yesterday when I invoked Carl Sagan’s signature phrase, “Billions and Billions.”  Today I want to look at the budget that the U.S. Department of Education will have as part of the Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Firstly, here is a graphic showing how the $115 […]

Billions and Billions: From Galaxies to Dollars—Funding in Science

In the widely popular PBS program Cosmos, Carl Sagan approximated the numbers of planets, stars and galaxies in the Universe as “billions and billions”—his famous catch phrase.   Over the past several months, American’s have been reintroduced to the phrase “billions and billions,” but this time in the context of the economy, not astronomy.  The […]

Stimulating Science

ScienceDebate2008 has been carefully monitoring, and indeed, encouraging participants in supporting the passage of the stimulus bill, which will be signed into law by President Obama in Colorado, on Tuesday. There are two broad strokes that have been taken to “stimulate” science and science education in the USA. The first was the presidential election result, […]

Track II Diplomacy and Science Teaching

In yesterday’s post, I used the phrase “track II diplomacy” when I was reporting an interview with Dr. Peter Agre, the new president of the AAAS. It turns out that Dr. Agre agrees with a group of American scientists who wish to talk with North Korean scientists, in a sort of “informal diplomacy,” discussion, and […]

Science Survey: What Matters Most to You?

I received an email from ScienceDebate2008 asking to complete a survey designed by the National Academies to find out what matters most to interested participants.  At the site you will read this statement: The National Academies want to develop websites, podcasts, and printed information featuring the topics in science, engineering, and medicine that concern you […]

Social Studies Resources: An Important Website for Science Educators

The purpose of this post is to introduced to you to an important new website that I think is very relevant to science educators.  It is the Social Studies Resources Website. I became aware of the Social Studies Resources website today when I received a newsletter from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).  The SPLC […]

A New Age for Science and Science Education?

In earlier posts on this Weblog, I introduced readers to ScienceDebate2008, a citizen effort to engage the US presidential candidates in a real debate on science, technology and society.  The debates never happened, but each candidate (science advisors, I suppose) answered the 14 questions that ScienceDebate2008 participants generated.  If you haven’t read the questions and […]

How will science be affected by the Presidential election outcome?

I am writing this hours before we know the result of today’s election for President. Some thoughts about science and science education and how they might be affected by the election of John McCain or Barack Obama. Over the past several months ScienceDebate2008 has not only engaged John McCain and Barack Obama in responding to […]

Human Side of Science: The ScienceDebate 2008 Conference

Last week, ScienceDebate 2008 held a conference at the University of Minnesota.  The conference was the result of a grass roots campaign hoping to engage Barack Obama and John McCain in a real debate on science and technology.  That conference never happened, although each candidate answered 14 questions posed by the ScienceDebate 2008 organizers.  ScienceDebate […]

Should Student (Science) Test Scores be used to evaluate teachers?

I ask this as a question, rather than making it a declarative statement.  But I was prompted to write about this topic based on a lead article in yesterday’s USA Today entitled Teachers take test scores to the bank as bonuses. The author described some examples of school districts offering bonuses to teachers if their students’ […]

New Environmental Weblog: Green Inc.

There is new weblog on the New York Times website that I want to mention today, and it is called Green Inc.: Energy, the Environment and the Bottom Line.  Developed by three environmental educators and writers, this weblog focuses on the following: How will the pressures of climate change, limited fossil fuel resources and the […]

Presidential Candidates Answer Top 14 Questions on Science

You can find the answers to 14 science questions that were submitted to Barack Obama and John McCain at the  Science Debate website.  Starting in 2007, a small group of individuals began working on the possibility of having a debate between the two candidates focusing on the importance of science in American society.  The original […]

Social Justice in Science Teaching

I received an email from Nate Carnes, President of the Southeast Association for Science Teacher Education (SASTE) announcing the SASTE’s annual conference entitled: Social Justice and High Quality Science Education for All which will take place at the University of South Carolina, Columbia on October 10 & 11.  Follow this link for details for the conference. […]

Decentralizing Education: Views from the Field

This week and next, the two major political parties are meeting in Denver and Minneapolis, respectively, to not only nominate their Presidental and VP candidate, but to agree upon a political platform outlining beliefs and actions they will take during the next segment of time.  At the American Presidency Project, you can read the platforms […]

A Memory of Teaching Science in Georgia and Russia

First, let me say that the Georgia I am referring to in the title is not the state of Georgia, in the USA, but the Republic of Georgia. The conflict that is ongoing between Russia and Georgia is not only frustrating, but filled with sadness for myself, and many of my colleagues who participated in […]

Only a Theory

In his new book Only a Theory, Kenneth Miller, Professor of Biology at Brown University, and author of a number of books, including one on high school biology, explores the issues surrounding the teaching of evolution in American schools.  He begins his book in the following way: “In a courtroom even a whisper can catch […]

Water on Mars & Science Education Timeline

NASA announced today that water was discovered on the planet Mars. NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, through laboratory tests onboard the craft identified water in a soil sample retrieved by the lander’s robotic arm.  As NASA scientist’s pointed out, the presence of water increases the chance that there is or has been life on Mars.  Truly […]

Water on Mars & Science Education Timeline

NASA announced today that water was discovered on the planet Mars. NASA’s Phoenix Mars Lander, through laboratory tests onboard the craft identified water in a soil sample retrieved by the lander’s robotic arm.  As NASA scientist’s pointed out, the presence of water increases the chance that there is or has been life on Mars.  Truly […]

CRCT: A Failed System in Georgia: It Needs to Change.

In yesterday’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution an article reported that the Georgia State Department of Education knew students would fail the social studies test in huge numbers, but refused to share this information with superintendents, teachers or parents in the state. 69% of students in grades 6 and 7 failed or as the state puts it: “Does […]

High Stakes Assessment in Georgia Fail the Test

In the last two posts, I’ve opened a discussion on the high-stakes testing in Georgia.  More than 80% of the students who took the social studies test failed, and about 40% of the students failed the math CRCT (Criterion Referenced Competency Test). The Georgia State Department of Education is at a loss to explain these […]

Georgia Department of Education: Infinitely far from Understanding Students, Schools & Teachers

The testing debacle in Georgia covered many pages of today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution. On the editorial page there were two essays; High Standards Help Students by Kathy Cox, Georgia Superintendent of Schools and Wrong Approach Setup for Failure by Rick Breault, associate professor of elementary and early childhood education, Kennesaw State University. Schools were given an […]

Georgia Department of Education: Infinitely far from Understanding Students, Schools & Teachers

The testing debacle in Georgia covered many pages of today’s Atlanta Journal-Constitution. On the editorial page there were two essays; High Standards Help Students by Kathy Cox, Georgia Superintendent of Schools and Wrong Approach Setup for Failure by Rick Breault, associate professor of elementary and early childhood education, Kennesaw State University. Schools were given an […]

Testing in Georgia: Students Miss the Mark or Did the State Officials

In today’s Atlanta Journal there was an article that reported that Georgia Department of Education officials were shocked by the state math and social studies tests. You see on the end-of-year CRCT only 20 to 30 percent of the students passed the social studies test, and about 40 percent of the Georgia’s could be held […]

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 […]

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 […]

Why Aren’t Students Interested in a Career in Science?

In a recent NSTA Reports (March 2008, Vol. 19 No.7), a publication of the National Science Teachers Association. the lead article entitled “Steer Your Students to a Science Career” pointed out that science teachers try to inspire their students to careers in science, yet in a very recent major study, the ROSE study, carried out […]

Why Aren't Students Interested in a Career in Science?

In a recent NSTA Reports (March 2008, Vol. 19 No.7), a publication of the National Science Teachers Association. the lead article entitled “Steer Your Students to a Science Career” pointed out that science teachers try to inspire their students to careers in science, yet in a very recent major study, the ROSE study, carried out […]

Breaking from Tradition: Or Rediscovering Ancient Traditions

Odd title, don’t you think. According to a growing number of science educators, the science curriculum, burdened by the overwhelming influence of the Standard’s movement, and high stakes testing, is in need of reform. I know this sounds like a broken record in that since Russia launched Sputnik in 1957, the American government has supported […]

The Art of Junk Science

I read an article in the local paper that a U.S. Senator had evoked the phrase “junk science” when explaining why Rachel Carson’s work should not be considered for an award in the U.S. Senate. He was speaking specifically about her work entitled Silent Spring, which used scientific findings to raise questions about the widespread […]

US Supreme Court to EPA: Regulate Emissions

The US Supreme Court ruled (5 – 4) that the EPA must regulate emissions from cars, and also took the EPA to task for giving lame reasons why it should NOT regulate emissions. The decision rendered in the case MASSACHUSETTS ET AL. v. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY ET AL. is an important decision in the ongoing […]

Reform in Science Teaching, What Does Research Tell Us? Look to a New Cadre'

This issue (March, 2007) of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching had two articles that investigated the effects of science education reform in the United States. The first of the two studies, Can professional development make the vision of the standards a reality? The impact of the national science foundation’s local systemic change through […]

Reform in Science Teaching, What Does Research Tell Us? Look to a New Cadre’

This issue (March, 2007) of the Journal of Research in Science Teaching had two articles that investigated the effects of science education reform in the United States. The first of the two studies, Can professional development make the vision of the standards a reality? The impact of the national science foundation’s local systemic change through […]

California's Stem Cell Research Program—The Rest of the Story

In yesterday’s post I wrote that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) announced the awarding of $45 million to medical researchers in many of California’s research centers, universities and institutes. However, the money for the grants was “borrowed money.” About $80 million in grants are expected to be announced next month. The CIRM was […]

California’s Stem Cell Research Program—The Rest of the Story

In yesterday’s post I wrote that the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) announced the awarding of $45 million to medical researchers in many of California’s research centers, universities and institutes. However, the money for the grants was “borrowed money.” About $80 million in grants are expected to be announced next month. The CIRM was […]

Kansas Reverses Science Standards on Evolution

Science education is in the news again in Kansas. The Kansas State Board of Education has changed the language in the science standards suggesting that basic evolutionary concepts were controversial and being challenged by new research. Now this statement is out, and the definition of science has reverted to its earlier version limiting science to […]

Stem Cell Bill Passes House

Today the US House of Representatives passed another stem cell bill by a vote of 253 to 174. The bill would authorize federal support for research using stem cells derived from excess embryos that fertility clinics would otherwise discard. President Bush vetoed the bill the last time it came to his desk, and he has […]

California: The Environmental Action State

In the past year the Governor of California has challenged the “environmentally challenged” to listen to scientific research on important issues about the environment, health, biological research, and respect for work. In a Washington Post article, many of these ideas were summarized on the heels of Gov. Schwarzenegger’s State of the State Address. There are […]

The Federal Budget Stymies Science Research

Since I am in the Washington DC area, I thought it was appropriate to write about an issue that crosses science research with the U.S. Congress. Last year, Congress passed only 2 (military & domestic security, eg. the wars in the Middle East) out of 11 spending bills, and froze the rest at 2006 levels. […]

Is the North Korean Nuclear Bomb Test a Science Education Issue?

The short answer is yes. Here’s a longer answer. In 1986, Richard Rhodes published the Pulitzer Prize book, The Making of the Atomic Bomb giving us a sweeping account of the making of the first atomic bomb, including who and how they did it. Image: The Making of the Atomic Bomb by Richard Rhodes The […]

Science Literacy in Letters to the Editor

There has recently been a flurry of letters to editor in the Marietta Daily Journal (Georgia) that were promted by a editorial two weeks ago by a Rev. Price concerning intelligent design. There has also been another subset of letters prompted by a Jeffrey Selman who has for years challenged Cobb County officials (schools and […]

Putting Science Back into the Curriculum

The State of Alaska put a “bit of science” back into its state science curriculum standards. And what was that “bit”? Evolution! It turns out that the Anchorage School District made the proposal to change the life science standard to read: “…an understanding of how science explains changes in life forms over time, including genetics, […]

Free Minds

“Dogmatism and sectarianism must go, for Almighty God had made the mind free,” said Thomas Jefferson more than 200 years ago (See Edwin S. Gaustad’s book on Thomas Jefferson). For decades, dogmatists have tried to convince us that its okey to teach evolution, as long as it is questioned, and as long as the “theory” […]