Archive for September, 2009

Boys On The Subway

Riding the subway today, I was standing next to a few young boys who were talking animatedly. One exclaimed that he believed mermaids might actually exist. He figured that since “we” haven’t been able to explore the ocean’s floor, who knows what’s down there? “For all we know,” he exclaimed, “there could be a magical fish at the bottom of the ocean who grants all our wishes. But, too bad for us, because the water pressure is too much and we can’t make it all the way down.”

I almost started to giggle! The reason for my humor wasn’t even the outlandish things the boys were saying, it was because of the seriousness of the conversation and the fact that the boys were rationalizing their thoughts and, realistic or not, had an argument to support their ideas. The were doing subway science!

The conversation ended this way:

Boy 1: “Sometimes you’ve just got to let your mind wander so you can know things.”

Boy 2: “But if you let it wander too far you go insane, and that’s what you are.”

As I left the train, I smiled to myself as they laughed and called each other names in the typical fashion of adolescent boys. Who knew so much science could happen on an underground train :-)

Light & Waves by Dot Physics

Another great post by Rhett at Dot Physics! It’s always difficult to teach the wave-particle duality of light since students (and even teachers) struggle with the abstract reasoning involved. Rhett does a fantastic job with his illustrations and explanations of light as a wave. I’m definitely using this with my students.

Read the article “Light and Waves – at a basic Level”

Google Docs Equation Editor

I am a huge fan of Google Docs since you can access it from any computer and upload/download documents from/to your hard drive. You can also share ownership and access with whom ever you choose.

I just found out from Educational Technology Guy that Google Docs has added an Equation Editor! I often use that feature in Microsoft Word, but I’m so excited that I can use it for adding equations into lesson plans and assignments through Google Docs.

For more information, check out the article about the new Equation Editor on the Google Operating System blog.

DNA Student Contest for Your Students

Educational Technology Guy recently wrote about a science contest for 9th to 12th grade students. The contest is sponsored by the American Society of Human Genetics and consists of several essay prompts. The contest details can be found on the ASHG DNA Day website.

Entries are due March 15, 2010 at 5:00pm, so start encouraging your students now!

Classroom Current Events Day

I’m always thinking of ways to incorporate current events into a science classroom. Recently, Physics & Physical Science Demos, Labs, & Projects for High School Teachers wrote a great post about using the Friday period to discuss current events from any aspect of science.

If you’re interested in this, read the post Science News in the Classroom. Feel free to suggest any other ways you use current events stories in your classroom.

Book Review: My First Year As A Teacher

I recently read this sort book of vignettes about different first year of teaching experiences. It was a fast little read, but gave good illustrations of the joys and challenges facing a first year teacher.

51JDNCJA7ML._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35, Review:

Twenty-five teachers recount their first year experiences in the classroom, revealing the trials and rewards of educating all varieties of children – gifted, privilaged, handicapped, and disadvantaged – in an invaluable guide for beginning teachers.

Barnes & Noble Review:

In this “training guide, ” teachers from across the nation reveal the expectations and experiences in educating the gifted, privileged, handicapped, and disadvantaged. Offering over 25 personal accounts and from-the-hip advice not found in typical career guides, My First Year As a Teacher will give reliable guidance for newcomes to the teaching field

This book really is a delightful read and I recommend it to everyone – there is no need to be involved in education to appreciate it!

4-H Promotes Science!

I recently saw this new 4-H commercial:

Thanks for encouraging people to be involved in science. I strongly believe everyone has the capacity to be involved in science, whether on a professional or recreational level. Way to go 4-H!

“Most of the fundamental ideas of science are essentially simple, and may, as a rule, be expressed in a language comprehensible to everyone.” – Albert Einstein

Discount on 3-D View Professional Development

Last winter, I participated in U.S. Satellite’s professional development course called 3-D View. You can read my entries about the course at the following links: Day 1 and Days 2-5.

I recently got an email that they are offering this course at a discounted rate.

I strongly recommend any teacher involved in general science, earth science, environmental science, ecology, or biology participate.

You can get more information at the 3-D View website.

New Page! [Science Careers]

I’ve just added a new page (still a work in progress), where I’m gathering a list of science related careers for you and your students to use as a resource.

All too often, science students are told that teaching and research are their only option – there are so many really cool science jobs in addition to the more traditional routes!

Check out the new page and feel free to email me any suggestions:

Science Careers: New England Forestry Foundation

Location: New England Forestry Foundation, Massachusetts

Job Description: The New England Forestry Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting the conservation and sustainable management of the forest lands of New England. Work extends from Maine to Connecticut, with diverse forest types from northern hardwoods to pines and wetlands in rollings hills and mountains, with numerous streams and ponds. This position is designed to mentor future natural resource professionals focusing on forest conservation and management. It is structured to give exposure to a wide array of experiences in resource management.

Position Description: Interns gather data using GPS; monitor conservation easements, use GPS to map boundary line locations and use photo documentation of protected properties and compile basic maps of the properties (GIS, tax maps, topographic maps, etc.); conduct forest inventory, boundary maintenance, maintain trails and perform public outreach

Note: A close friend of mine recently worked with NEFF for three months. She attended college for Environmental Science and is planning to go to graduate school for Biology Conservation.