EducationInformal EducationPrimary EducationSecondary Education

So You Want to Teach about Comets?

Last week, humanity took a huge leap forward in solar system exploration. If you’re a science teacher wanting to talk about comet science in your class, there are some great resources out there for doing that. First of all, if you can get your (gloved) hands on some dry ice, …

Dorchester High School Science
Higher EducationPedagogyPrimary EducationSecondary Education

Is there a difference between teaching and having an impact?

I just finished doing a guest lecture in a class on animal behavior. It went well. The class was attentive and I got through all my planned material clearly, with enough humor tossed in to keep people from falling asleep. The format, however, was very “old school”. Indeed, looking more …

Shaking hands awkwardly
Pop QuizPrimary EducationSecondary Education

Pop Quiz: Back to School Night

I dress to the nines.  There is not a single dog hair on me, there are no wrinkles in my clothes (which if you ever met me you’d realize how big a deal that is), my shoes are professional, but not as practical as I normally wear. This is my …

Higher EducationPrimary EducationScience

Inquiry First, Talk Later

The first week of classes are in the bag at my university where I’m currently teaching a class called “Foundations of Science: Physics, Earth Science, and Inquiry based Projects.” I’m teaching K-8 physics and earth science concepts primarily to education majors, but in a way that neither they nor I …

Higher EducationPrimary EducationSecondary Education

Tenure! Is it vitally important or an obsolete concept?

The recent court decision throwing out seniority as the be all and end all of who gets pink-slipped in the Los Angeles public schools has stoked a firestorm of discussion.  Seniority in universities and public schools is often equated with being tenured.  Roughly speaking, all faculty fall into two categories: …

EducationHigher EducationPop QuizPrimary EducationSecondary Education

Pop Quiz: Teaching vs Professing

If, in conversation with someone, I mention that I teach they generally ask “what grade?”  I am quick to say that I teach college, not K-12 and I’m not a teacher.  Some have thought that calling themselves a professor is pretentious.  When I started to think about this topic as …

Book Shelf Science and Skeptical Books
EducationGovernmentPrimary EducationReligionRequired ReadingsSecondary EducationTechnology

CCSS Fatigue Being Exploited by Religious Right, Gay Teen Denied Her Senior Yearbook Picture, Pledge Court Decision, Tablet Technology: Required Readings 05.18.14

A new report is out this week from the Southern Poverty Law Center about how the Common Core is being used as a rallying cry for those with ideological opposition to secular, public schools.  The director of the SPLC was interviewed by, and she provided a cogent and articulate …

EducationInformal EducationLesson PlansPrimary EducationScience

Lesson Plan: Ultraviolet Light

I’m getting ready to do a summer camp all about light in astronomy. I’m particularly focused on doing some experiments with the kids showcasing “invisible” light, or the ways in which we can use light we can’t see to learn about the Universe. One particular activity is pretty easy and …

Book Shelf Science and Skeptical Books
GovernmentHigher EducationPrimary EducationRequired ReadingsScienceSecondary EducationUncategorized

Wyoming Rejects NGSS, More Common Core, Take Better Notes: Required Readings 05.11.14

I think we can all agree that when evaluating how well science education policy is being implemented in a state, Kansas is a pretty low bar.   Yet, this week Wyoming made a bold move to duck under the bar.  Citizens of Wyoming slapped their foreheads in unison as their …

Michael Gove
EducationGovernmentPop QuizPrimary EducationSecondary EducationUncategorized

Pop Quiz – The Man Who Hates Teachers

This is Michael Gove.   Michael Gove is the Secretary of State for Education in England, meaning that he is the person in overall charge of the UK Government Department of Education.   Michael Gove has never been a teacher. Before entering politics, he was a journalist who wrote for …