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 […]

Some Things You Might Want Know About the House’s Clean Energy Bill

In the last post I listed ten reasons to support the Energy Bill passed in the U.S. House.  Here are some things you might find interesting about the bill.  I’ve tried, I really have, to keep my opinions out of this list. It’s long, really long.  When it it was first introduced into the House […]

Some Things You Might Want Know About the House's Clean Energy Bill

In the last post I listed ten reasons to support the Energy Bill passed in the U.S. House.  Here are some things you might find interesting about the bill.  I’ve tried, I really have, to keep my opinions out of this list. It’s long, really long.  When it it was first introduced into the House […]

Top 10 Reasons for the Senate to Pass an Energy Bill

Here are 10 reasons that I think the United States Senate must pass an Energy Bill which would then be reconciled with the House’s Clean Energy Bill (HR 2454).  They are listed in here in no particular order because they are really interrelated, and I don’t think that anyone of these is more important than […]

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 […]

Science Teaching 3.0: A New Word Sign for Innovative Teaching

In the last post, I introduced the notion that we can look at science teaching, globalization, the Earth, and the World Wide Web using a three-point scale, e.g. 1.0, 2.0, 3.0. In particular, I introduced the use of the word-sign Science Teaching 3.0 as a way of calling attention to the humanistic science paradigm (click […]

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 […]

Holistic Teaching: Integrating ideas of Vernadsky & Lovelock into science teaching

The opening sentence in John Miller’s book, The Holistic Curriculum is that holistic education attempts to bring education into alignment with the fundamental realities of nature. Nature at its core is holistic,interrelated and dynamic. As such we have much to learn about curriculum from environmental education, and the science-technology-society (STS) movement (each developed In previous […]

Holistic Teaching: Integrating ideas of Vernadsky & Lovelock into science teaching

The opening sentence in John Miller’s book, The Holistic Curriculum is that holistic education attempts to bring education into alignment with the fundamental realities of nature. Nature at its core is holistic,interrelated and dynamic. As such we have much to learn about curriculum from environmental education, and the science-technology-society (STS) movement (each developed In previous […]

Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky & the Gaia Theory

In the last post, I introduced Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky (link to a brief bio), the Russian scientist whose pioneering work, unnoticed by James Lovelock when he first proposed the Gaia hypothesis, forms the basis for much of our understanding of the biosphere, what it really is, and how the region of the biosphere is the […]

Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky & the Gaia Theory

In the last post, I introduced Vladimir Ivanovich Vernadsky (link to a brief bio), the Russian scientist whose pioneering work, unnoticed by James Lovelock when he first proposed the Gaia hypothesis, forms the basis for much of our understanding of the biosphere, what it really is, and how the region of the biosphere is the […]

Global Thinking & the Gaia Theory

In 1989 I met Dr. Anatoly Zaklebyney, professor of environmental science education, the Russian Academy of Education, Moscow. I was working with American and Russian teachers on a project that had emerged from teacher and researcher exchanges that I directed for the Association for Humanistic Psychology. Our project in Russia was organized by the Russian […]

Global Thinking & the Gaia Theory

In 1989 I met Dr. Anatoly Zaklebyney, professor of environmental science education, the Russian Academy of Education, Moscow. I was working with American and Russian teachers on a project that had emerged from teacher and researcher exchanges that I directed for the Association for Humanistic Psychology. Our project in Russia was organized by the Russian […]

The Gaia Theory: Its Origins & Implications

The Gaia Theory was the result of collaboration between the British scientist, James Lovelock, and the American biologist, Lynn Margulis. They proposed the Gaia “hypothesis” in their 1974 paper entitled Atmospheric homeostasis by and for the biosphere: the Gaia hypothesis and was published in Tellus, Volume 26. According to the Gribbin’s account, Lovelock and Margulis […]

The Gaia Theory: Its Origins & Implications

The Gaia Theory was the result of collaboration between the British scientist, James Lovelock, and the American biologist, Lynn Margulis. They proposed the Gaia “hypothesis” in their 1974 paper entitled Atmospheric homeostasis by and for the biosphere: the Gaia hypothesis and was published in Tellus, Volume 26. According to the Gribbin’s account, Lovelock and Margulis […]

The Gaia Theory: Implications for Science Teaching

I returned this week from a two week trip to Texas, and waiting for me in the mail was a book I had pre-ordered from Amazon.  The title of the book is James Lovelock: In Search of Gaia, and it was written by John Gribbin & Mary Gribbin.  Here’s what the book is about: In […]

Further Thoughts on Evolutionary Teaching in Texas from Georgia!

I’ve returned to Georgia, and I wanted to look back over the most recent posts that focused on the actions of the Texas Board of Education on the teaching of theory (of evolution, expansion of the Universe, and all others) in science class.  A good review of the events in Texas are contained in an […]

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 […]

Global warming: A bunch of hooey!

According to Mr. Don McLeroy, the chairman of the Texas State Board of Education any contribution by humans to global warming is a bunch of hooey! The Board of Education met for several days in Austin to discuss and vote on the new science standards (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) for Texas. Most of the […]

Strengths and Weaknesses of Evolution May Be Out of Texas Science Standards

UPDATE: The Texas Board of Education approved the science standards BUT teachers will be required to have students “scrutinize” all sides of the theories. Read more here for more details. We are in the Round Top Texas area for two weeks participating in a very large collection of antiques shows held twice a year in […]

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, […]

Touch the earth: The case for learning outside the box

Many, many years ago I developed a book while being a writer for the Individualized Science Instructional System (ISIS) which was entitled Touch the Earth.  It was a geology mini-course, part of a large collection of earth, life, and physical science mini-courses for middle and high school science.  Although the title was a play on words, I […]

Earthday as a metaphor for a paradigm of informal learning

Informal learning as a paradigm for classroom learning suggests that learning is holistic, and is steeped in inclusiveness and connectedness.  As I suggested yesterday, John Dewey wrote about the importance of an “experiential education” more than 100 years ago, and his words are just as relevant today, as they were then. For many years I […]

Space Shuttle Discovery Launched!

I am watching the countdown of STS 119, the October 15, 2009 launch of the Space Shuttle, Discovery. I started this post at T minus 6 minutes and counting, and continued watching until Discovery reached orbit.  It’s always amazing whenever we launch the Space Shuttle. I remember watching the landing (from TV) of the first Space […]

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 […]

Is there life out there?

NASA’s latest spacecraft, Kepler lifted off into a solar orbit but in a region close to earth.  It’s mission over the next 3 1/2 years is look for Earth-like planets by using a photometer that is very sensitive to variation in the light intensity emitted from stars.  According to Kepler project scientists on a NASA […]

Asteroid 2009 DD45 Comes Close to Earth: A Teaching Opportunity

Australian astronomers noticed a surprise blip on an image taken from Siding Spring Observatory, and announced that an asteroid, designated 2009 DD45 would pass about 40,000 miles from Earth on March 2.   It did, and it was reported on most news services.  And it provides an interesting teaching opportunity to examine asteroids, and also […]

Climate Change, Politics and Science Teaching

The new administration in Washington has made it clear that it climate change would be one of the science-related issues that it would deal with, and there is clearly some evidence to support this.  In an article in USA Today, entitled Politics heats up global warming suggested that climate scientists should get involved in the […]

From Volcanoes in Your Backyard to Snow in Mine

About a week ago, I wrote a post entitled Volcano in Your Backyard, which was initiated by the Governor of Louisiana’s comment that spending money on volcano monitoring was an other example of wasteful spending by the government. February 8, 1984, I was on board a Delta Airlines flight from Atlanta to Portland, and as […]

If You Teach Evolution, You May Be Required to Teach It Critically!

Legislators in several states believe that laws need to be passed to ensure that students are engaged in critical thinking activities. However, the legislators have limited their own thinking, and have selected specific scientific theories that should be examined critically, one of course, is evolution. Around the country, this trend is on the move. Here […]

Volcano in Your Backyard

Volcanoes have received a bad rap recently, especially if the US Geological Survey is to receive “stimulus” funding to monitor and investigate volcanoes. According to the Governor of Louisiana funding “something called ‘volcano monitoring’ is an example of questionable funding in the appropriation bill. But the mayor of Vancouver, Washington begs to differ, and points […]

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 […]

On the Darwin & Lincoln Birthdays

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln.  Yes, these two important people were born on the same day in the same year, February 12, 1809.  One would go on to explain how humans evolved as part of nature, and the other would go on to help heal a […]

On the Darwin & Lincoln Birthdays

Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln.  Yes, these two important people were born on the same day in the same year, February 12, 1809.  One would go on to explain how humans evolved as part of nature, and the other would go on to help heal a […]

A Lesson on Darwin, Fossils and Other Stuff

I was invited by one of our grandsons’ teachers to visit her 7th grade life science class at Greenbrier Middle School, Evans, Georgia (about 15 miles west of Augusta). I had not taught a lesson for a group of 7th graders in a long time, so this was going to be a challenge. When I […]

Notebooks in the Classroom: Darwin’s Secret Notebooks

Science teachers have been having their students keep science notebooks and journals as a way to help students keep a record of their work, and as a place to reflect on their ideas.  For many teachers, the journal is one way to help students using writing as a vehicle to learn.  Professor Carolyn Keys has […]

Notebooks in the Classroom: Darwin's Secret Notebooks

Science teachers have been having their students keep science notebooks and journals as a way to help students keep a record of their work, and as a place to reflect on their ideas.  For many teachers, the journal is one way to help students using writing as a vehicle to learn.  Professor Carolyn Keys has […]

What Would Darwin Say About Intelligent Design?

In this month’s Scientific American there is a very interesting article written by Glenn Branch & Eugenie C. Scott entitled The Latest Face of Creationism in the Classroom. There are three key ideas in the article, and they highlight the controversies that have surrounded the teaching of evolution in American public schools.  Here are the […]

Role Playing Darwin in the Classroom

A friend of mine, on Darwin’s birthday (February 12), would dress up in Victorian attire as a young Charles Darwin, enter his high school biology classroom, and announce that he was the “father of evolution.”   Then, he pulled out his iphone, and i-clicked through a series of pictures of the trip Darwin had taken […]

The 200th Anniversary of The Father of Evolution

This is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, who was born February 12, 1809, which is the same day that Abraham Lincoln was born.  Darwin, according to one of our grandsons, is the “father of evolution,” (see yesterday’s post). Two recent publications devote considerable space to Charles Darwin and Evolution.  The January […]

The Father of Evolution

Today I received a voicemail from one of our grandsons (Evan) wondering if I might come and speak to his science class. After leaving a message saying I would be happy to do this, he called back and explained. His middle school science teacher is working with the students in a study of evolution, and […]

Science Teaching: In search of the answers of questions unknown

There were two articles in the New York Times today that relate to this post about the nature of science teaching. One was an essay entitled by Dennis Overbye, Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy, and the other was an interview with Peter Agre (President of the AAAS & Nobel Winner in Biology, and major contributor to […]

Great Minds in Science Will Meet in the White House in 2009

I’ve returned to from a bit of hiatus and want to start with a discussion of how science might fare in the next Congress, and in the White House. A year and half ago I wrote a post entitled Meeting of the Minds on Global Warming: The US Congress, Al Gore, and John P. Holdren.  It […]

Launched! Endeavor Blast Off!

I witnessed one Space Shuttle launch in 1982, and it was an unbelievable experience.  The sounds that you hear, and the vibrations you feel are amazing.  Here are a few pictures of the Endeavor launch, on November 14, 2008.                 After lift off roll procedures, followed by a […]

Set to Launch: Space Shuttle Endeavor—STS 126

STS 126, Space Shuttle Endeavor is set to launch tonight from Kennedy Space Center.  Seven astronauts will ride into space aboard the shuttle under a full moon. Here is a close up of Endeavor just prior to lift off!

Adventures in Geology–Is it pedagogy or petrology? Transforming Practice

In the last two posts, I’ve discussed the recent research that focuses on girls and science, and how teachers can make transformations in their practice to incorporate recent research.  Making a transformation in ones teaching is challenging and indeed a creative adventure. In the 1970s I was teaching an undergraduate geology course at Georgia State […]

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 […]

Teaching Science Nonverbally: The Power of Visual Images and Sounds

I know that this topic seems a bit out of place, but I wanted to follow up comments made by David Calladine, one of the readers of this weblog.  David teaches science in the UK, and specializes in teaching environmental science.  One of his entries was in response to a post entitled Teaching About Global […]

A (Crude) Oil Lesson

Gas prices are down in the $2 range, and Thomas Friedman says that it leaves him with mixed feelings.  In his bi-weekly New York Times column today, he reminded us that when gas prices went beyond $4, Americans changed a lot—drove less, polluted less, exercised more, used more public transportation, and there was lots of […]

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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

Teaching About Hurricane Prediction: With an Eye on Hanna

Teaching and learning about Hurricanes has been a interest of mine for many years, beginning as an Earth science teacher in Lexington, Massachusetts, and then extending to the writing of textbooks for elementary and middle school students.  In 2005, right after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast and New Orleans, I created a website entitled […]

Hurricanes Gustav and Hanna: Double Trouble

In his weblog, Andrew Revkin reported that the dual activity of Hurricanes Gustav and Hanna pose a double threat to the Southeast and to the Gulf Coast.  As seen in this map, the hurricanes are close enough to each other to be considered a double system, perhaps like a double-star system.  As of Monday afternoon, […]

Hurricane Gustav

Yesterday, my wife and I attended the annual art in the park festival (Marietta Square)in which more than a 100 artists presented their work.  It was crowded with people of all ages strolling through the park and bordering streets, looking at the art, and occassionally buying a piece.  One of the artists that we were […]

Beijing Air

Earlier this year, there were concerns that air pollution in Beijing would be a serious threat to athletes participating in outdoor events, especially running, and cycling. In fact I wrote several posts in the Spring that highlighted this issue that you read, and find out what were the concerns. China’s Olympic committee indicated that a […]

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 […]

Mousetraps and Science Teaching: A Follow-up to Only a Theory

In Kenneth Miller’s book, Only a Theory, he talks about the fundamental concept underlying “intelligent design” and goes on to show how the fundamental concept is wrong, and not supported in biological research.  The fundamental idea is that there are some aspects of nature that that are just too complex to have “evolved” to their […]

Theory as Art and Science

The other day I was at my favorite book store, and purchased two books with the following titles.  Book 1: Only a Theory by Kenneth R. Miller; and Book 2: Final Theory by Mark Alpert.  I wasn’t looking for either book.  Alpert’s book was sitting on the display table as you walked into the store, […]

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, […]

Safer Schools in China

We know that the Sichuan province earthquake destroyed enormous numbers of schools, and that many children died as a result.  Andrew Revkin reported on his blog research being done by Santiago Pujol, an engineer at Purdue focusing on preventing just the kind of destruction that was done to schools in China.  Revkin has an illustration […]

Science (Teaching) is a Creative Process

There was an interesting “My Turn” essay in this week’s Newsweek entitled Lessons in Life (Science) by Sally G. Hoskins, who teaches undergraduate biology.  In the article, she informs us that one of major goals in the biology course she teaches is that her students leave the course with the idea that just like art […]

Touchdown: Mars Lander Arrives Polar Region

I watched the last half-hour and the final seven minutes of terror as the Mars Lander (Phoenix) approached and continued on into the Martian atmosphere entering at about 12,000 miles/hour, and slowed to 5 miles/hour and made a perfect landing: touchdown. What was exciting about this half-hour was watching the activities in mission-control and listening […]

NASA’s Phoenix Lander Set to Land on Mars

On Sunday, soon after the finish of the Indianapolis 500 race, the Phoenix Mars Lander will approach the planet Mars and attempt a powered landing. Live coverage will be shown on NASA television with the descent to Martian surface beginning around 4:46 P.M. Eastern time. Here are some sequences showing how the Phoenix will approach […]

NASA's Phoenix Lander Set to Land on Mars

On Sunday, soon after the finish of the Indianapolis 500 race, the Phoenix Mars Lander will approach the planet Mars and attempt a powered landing. Live coverage will be shown on NASA television with the descent to Martian surface beginning around 4:46 P.M. Eastern time. Here are some sequences showing how the Phoenix will approach […]

Preparing for an Earthquake

What should our students and citizens know about earthquake preparedness? Certainly, the earthquake in China is prompting us to be able to answer these questions. I’ve only experienced three earthquakes, once many years ago in Columbus, Ohio, years later in San Francisco, and in the year 2000 in Seattle. The worst of these was in […]

Impact and Cause of China's Sichuan Earthquake

The Sichuan earthquake that occurred last week in China was, according to geologists, was a two stage quake, with the total duration of about 2 minutes. According to geologists at Tsukuba University, the quake was movement along the Longmenshan Fault that moved earth in two sections. Geologists report that because the quake was a shallow […]

Impact and Cause of China’s Sichuan Earthquake

The Sichuan earthquake that occurred last week in China was, according to geologists, was a two stage quake, with the total duration of about 2 minutes. According to geologists at Tsukuba University, the quake was movement along the Longmenshan Fault that moved earth in two sections. Geologists report that because the quake was a shallow […]

Earthquake Building Codes for China’s Schools

A BBC article, China Anger over ‘shoddy schools,’ focused on the fact in some areas schools collapsed during the 7.9 Magnitude earthquake last week, while other buildings near the schools withstood the earthquake’s devastating energy. Beichuan Middle School, in the city of Mianyang, more than a 1000 students are missing. A day before the earthquake, […]