Can EcoJustice, Citizen Science and Youth Activism Inspire New Ways of Teaching Science?

EcoJustice, Citizen Science and Youth Activism  (Library Copy) is the title of a new book edited by Michael P. Mueller, University of Alaska, and Deborah J. Tippins, University of Georgia.  It’s the first in the new Springer Book Series Environmental Discourses in Science Education in trying to bridge environmental education with science education. I received my […]

Inspiration in the Rockies

  This is a view from the YMCA of the Rockies, which I first visited in August, 1975 to attend my first conference of the Association for Humanistic Psychology (AHP). Since then I’ve been here about 15 times. But it was my attendance at the (AHP) conference that changed my outlook as a teacher at […]

3 Inquiry Lessons to Begin Your Science Course This Year

Do you have your plans worked out for the first days of the courses you will teach beginning this month or in September?  Here are three ideas you might consider, especially if you want to begin the year engaging your students in a science inquiry activity. I introduced these projects in the last post as […]

3 Inquiry Lessons to Begin Your Science Course This Year

Do you have your plans worked out for the first days of the courses you will teach beginning this month or in September?  Here are three ideas you might consider, especially if you want to begin the year engaging your students in a science inquiry activity. I introduced these projects in the last post as […]

Three Web 2.0 Science Projects for Your Science Courses

Web 2.0 refers to using the Web in a more interactive, and social way where students can create, share, publish and work together in collaborative groups.  Over the years, science teachers have created a variety of Web 2.0 projects for K-12 students. This post is to announce the availability of three Web 2.0 projects that […]

Ozone: An Inquiry into Air Quality

Atlanta leads the nation today in air quality—that is to say that it’s ozone forecast for today exceeds all other cities in the nation.  As shown in the AirNow map below, most of the Eastern part of the nation is in the moderate to USG ozone levels.  Moderate AQI (Air quality index) is 51 – 100. […]

Liberalism and science education’s role

I am writing this from 34000 feet in a Delta jet using the airlines free access to it’s wifi. I am also reading a book, The Science of Liberty by Timothy Ferris. The book is the story of how science and the rise of liberal democracies are linked. Science emerged poking holes in authoritarian and […]

Liberalism and science education's role

I am writing this from 34000 feet in a Delta jet using the airlines free access to it’s wifi. I am also reading a book, The Science of Liberty by Timothy Ferris. The book is the story of how science and the rise of liberal democracies are linked. Science emerged poking holes in authoritarian and […]

Why Do We Teach Science, Anyway? The Democratic Argument

There are at least two interpretations that emerge when we explore why we teach science from the democratic argument.   The first interpretation is that we should be teaching science to help students become informed citizens in an increasingly technocratic and scientific world, and provide them with the tools to intelligently discuss, vote on, and […]

Why Scientific Perceptions Persist Even with Facts & Teaching

There was a very interesting study completed at the University of Michigan entitled When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions by researchers Brendan Nyhan, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, and Jason Reifler, Department of Political Science, Georgia State University.  This study, although in the realm of political behavior, has strong implications for […]

Why Scientific Perceptions Persist Even with Facts & Teaching

There was a very interesting study completed at the University of Michigan entitled When Corrections Fail: The persistence of political misperceptions by researchers Brendan Nyhan, School of Public Health, University of Michigan, and Jason Reifler, Department of Political Science, Georgia State University.  This study, although in the realm of political behavior, has strong implications for […]

Independence Days

Happy July 4th, an important day for us all, and my favorite holiday. There are serious problems all around us, but today perhaps we can reflect on the importance of the American day of Independence.  The notion of independence is an underlying principle of science and education, and it is perhaps the central reason that […]

Ecology Projects

I recently received an announcement of an ecology program from John Kamman whose organization sponsors field science and cultural exchange projects.  The organization is Ecology Project International and has projects and programs in Montana, Costa Rica, Mexico, and Galapagos.  Their website describes many opportunities for students and teachers in the field of ecology and environmental […]

Daddy, Did you plug the hole yet?

As we all know, President Obama told the story that his daughter knocked on the bathroom door while he was shaving, and asked him, “Have you plugged the hole yet, Daddy?” As science teachers we are reminded that this question is the kind of question our youth asks about important issues that face us today. […]

Haiti Relief Effort: Global Resources & Agencies

The Haiti relief effort is in full operation, with the United Nations, individual relief organizations, the U.S. government including the U.S. military and eight additional departments and agencies within the government, and humanitarian aid, and resources from countries around the world.  The earthquake caused widespread damage, and ruined the infrastructure of the country.  The head […]

Haiti Relief Effort: Global Resources & Agencies

The Haiti relief effort is in full operation, with the United Nations, individual relief organizations, the U.S. government including the U.S. military and eight additional departments and agencies within the government, and humanitarian aid, and resources from countries around the world.  The earthquake caused widespread damage, and ruined the infrastructure of the country.  The head […]

Things to Love & Hate about the American Clean Energy Act (H.R. 2454)

The American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act that passed the House (H.R. 2454) on June 26 is not only a huge document (1,428 pages), but is a huge step forward for not only the U.S., but the world in trying to come to terms with the fact that humans are inducing climate change at […]

Things to Love & Hate about the American Clean Energy Act (H.R. 2454)

The American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act that passed the House (H.R. 2454) on June 26 is not only a huge document (1,428 pages), but is a huge step forward for not only the U.S., but the world in trying to come to terms with the fact that humans are inducing climate change at […]

Inspiring Your Students to Understand Climate-Change & Our Energy Future

Perhaps the most important role of a teacher is to inspire students to value their intellectual and emotional abilities and to understand how they can use science to “improve the lives of those they have touched and the differences they have made” (quote from Dr. Steven Chu’s commencement speach at Caltech).  It isn’t enough to […]

Inspiring Your Students to Understand Climate-Change & Our Energy Future

Perhaps the most important role of a teacher is to inspire students to value their intellectual and emotional abilities and to understand how they can use science to “improve the lives of those they have touched and the differences they have made” (quote from Dr. Steven Chu’s commencement speach at Caltech).  It isn’t enough to […]

Scientific Illiteracy in Our House (of Representatives)

Yes, the U.S. Congress did pass the American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009 (H.R. 2454), but within Congress—in the House—there was clear evidence of “scientific illiteracy.”  And no, it was not the kind of thinking that we as science teachers advocate.  It turns out that one of the U.S. Representatives from Georgia, Paul […]

Promoting Personal, Social and Ecological Science Education

Within the science education community there has been a movement to explore the relationships among science, technology and society (STS), and this movement has a long history.  In fact, its history parallels the more conventional or traditional view of science education that has dominated most curriculum and pedagogy over the last century.  But alongside has […]

From Earthday to Earthmonth: A Holistic Approach to Science Teaching

On Wednesday (Today) we celebrate Earthday, founded on April 22, 1970 by Senator Gaylord Nelson, and around the world it is a day that focuses on educating all of us for the environment with activities, celebrations, conferences, and programs. You can visit the Earthday Network to explore a myriad of resources that are available to […]

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, […]

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 […]

Union of Concerned Students

A bit of play on words, but today I received an email (which was sent to hundreds of people) from Kevin Knobloch, President of the Union of Concerned Scientists.  In the letter, Knobloch, who sees the election of Obama as a historical moment for the Union of Concerned Scientists, and its supporters, outlined key issues […]

Infusing Global ‘Thinking’ into Science Teaching

Some 15 years ago I met Boris Berenfeld, a scientist and researcher working at TERC (he is now a principal researcher at the Concord Consortium) on the Global Lab project, which was developed during the time I was working with colleagues in the US and Russia on the Global Thinking Project (GTP).   Berenfeld was a […]

Infusing Global 'Thinking' into Science Teaching

Some 15 years ago I met Boris Berenfeld, a scientist and researcher working at TERC (he is now a principal researcher at the Concord Consortium) on the Global Lab project, which was developed during the time I was working with colleagues in the US and Russia on the Global Thinking Project (GTP).   Berenfeld was a […]

Social Action Projects for Social Justice

One of the leading groups of teachers who have designed action projects and lesson plans that focus on social justice is the iEARN (International Education and Resource Network). I met many of the teachers from iEARN when I was involved as the Director of the Global Thinking Project (GTP), and attended one of their international […]

Teaching About Global Warming, or Should It Be "Global Weirding"

People who say “drill-baby-drill” are much like people in the 1980s when personal computers came on the scene saying we need more typewriters and carbon paper (paraphrased from Thomas Friedman–see the video in this post).  The “drill-baby-drill” is a mantra of those who are stuck in the past, with their heads in the sand,  and […]

Teaching About Global Warming, or Should It Be “Global Weirding”

People who say “drill-baby-drill” are much like people in the 1980s when personal computers came on the scene saying we need more typewriters and carbon paper (paraphrased from Thomas Friedman–see the video in this post).  The “drill-baby-drill” is a mantra of those who are stuck in the past, with their heads in the sand,  and […]

Hot, Flat, and Crowded: A Revolutionary Paradigm of Teaching for Energy and Environment

In a democracy, there are differing views on how the government and industry should deal with energy, energy sources, and the environment.  I’ve visited the American Presidency Project, and there you can read the complete platforms of the Democrats and Republicans.  You have to go the Libertarian Party and the Green Party websites to read […]

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 […]

The Next President’s Energy Manifesto: An STS Project for Students

In an interview on late-night television, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. outlined an energy manifesto for the next President of the United States.  His comments, which were based on an article he published in Vanity Fair provide the nucleus for an potential STS investigation for our students.  Indeed, if carried out in the early Fall semester, […]

The Next President's Energy Manifesto: An STS Project for Students

In an interview on late-night television, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. outlined an energy manifesto for the next President of the United States.  His comments, which were based on an article he published in Vanity Fair provide the nucleus for an potential STS investigation for our students.  Indeed, if carried out in the early Fall semester, […]

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 […]

The Value of Student-to-Student Exchanges

For nearly 20 years, I was involved with a project that started in the 1980’s with people to people exchanges between educators and psychologists in North America with colleagues in the Soviet Union. We made annual visits and conducted seminar-type sessions with schools, universities and research institutes. After several visits, we started an exchange program […]

Gentle Subversives: Rachel Carson and Frances Oldham Kelsey

Yesterday I used the theme “Meeting of Minds”to focus on the US Congress and its hearing with Al Gore. Today, I would like to play this out one step further, and suggest how the members of the Congressional committees that are responsible for environmental issues and legislation might be informed by two great minds, each […]

Teachers of Green, Part Two

Yesterday’s blog featured California, Al Gore, and scientific researchers as teachers of green. Today, I want to expand this and include one of the earliest of environmentalists, Stuart Brand. Brand authored a popular and influential book entitled The Whole Earth Catalog. A Thirtiest Anniversary Edition of the Whole Earth Catalog was published recently. Brand was […]

Citizen Diplomacy

I received an email from Anya Kucharev, Project Director, INTERNEWS INTERACT, Citizen Diplomacy Archive Project. She explained that she was Director of the Citizen Archive Project at Stanford University. She was contacting citizens that were involved in citizen diplomacy projects. The term citizen diplomacy was coined to describe the activities of hundreds of American and […]

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 […]

Butterflies and Global Warming

I was struck by the breadth with which Elizabeth Kolbert approached the evidence to evaluate the issue of global warming. In her book, one chapter is entitled The Butterfly and the Toad. What could butterfly’s and toads have to due with global warming. Here the story on butterflies. People in England, and other parts of […]

It's Getting Hotter in Atlanta

Well, hot temperatures are arriving in the Atlanta area; but its been hot in Texas. What’s the fuss. It’s summer. Well last year, 2005, was the hottest year during a period of temperature measurements from 1860 to today. These measurements include combined annual land, air and sea surface temperatures. Take a look at the graph […]

It’s Getting Hotter in Atlanta

Well, hot temperatures are arriving in the Atlanta area; but its been hot in Texas. What’s the fuss. It’s summer. Well last year, 2005, was the hottest year during a period of temperature measurements from 1860 to today. These measurements include combined annual land, air and sea surface temperatures. Take a look at the graph […]

An Inconvenient Truth

I’ve been thinking about writing something about Al Gore’s new book, An Inconvenient Truth: The Planetary Emergency of Global Warming and What We Can Do About It.A book such as this naturally controversial, but from at least two points of view. Firstly, its a scientific book written by a “recovering” politician (a term Gore used […]

Convoys of Power Company Trucks

For the past two days, we’ve been driving along I-20 through Alabama, Mississippi, Lousiana, and into Texas. Along the way, we passed several convoys of power company trucks from New Jersey and North Carolina on their way to help with the restoration of power in the Gulf areas of Mississippi, Louisiana and Texas. There were […]

Science for the Environment

Several years ago, I was a reader on a doctoral dissertation at La Trobe University, in Melbourne. The focus of the study was an examination of the history of environmental education over the past 30-40 years. In an analysis of the research, environmental education projects, and action groups, the researcher used a tri-analytic paradigm in […]

Rita and Katrina, Linking Natural Disasters, People and Science

The two hurricanes, Rita and Katrina, that have impacted millions of people directly, and the rest of the US population indirectly, as well as many people around the world, bring home the importance of making science education real, and encouraging students to be engaged with real problems and events in nature. Too much science teaching […]

Hurricane Katrina: A Citizen Resource

The devastation of Hurricane Katrina was beyond belief, and might be the worst natural disaster in US history. Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, and other severe storms have impacted more than 2.2 billion people in the past 10 years. This is a very large increase from the previous ten years, and […]