Required Readings

Required Readings, 12 May 2013

Happy Mother’s Day! Or is it Mothers’ Day? Whatever. Let’s make Mom proud by doing our homework. If rebellion is your thing, it was Henry Rollins who once said, “The best way to rebel against your parents is to know more than them.”

I’ve got a lot of good readings lined up. A few of them aren’t directly education related, but I think there’s good critical thinking/skeptical lessons in there somewhere!

Canada’s National Research Council to only pursue ‘commercially viable’ science – Maxwell and the Nerds. Maxwell and the Nerds. Maxwell and the Nerds. Maxwell and the Nerds…

Nature + Maths = Better Origami – Well, I could have told you that.

I Still Love Kierkegaard – Do you teach philosophy? Religion? Rationalism? The intersection of these was manifested in the writing of a rebellious Dane nearly 2 centuries ago.

The Rough Fist of Reason! – Sounds dirty, but is actually Daniel Loxton’s introduction and commentary to an Edwardian-era skeptical detective story. Skeptical literature from the days of yore? Turns out it was more common than you think! There’s an interesting literature lesson in here…

Umpires, Rules, and Instant Replay – There’s a psychology / perception lesson in here. A good portion of your students are likely fans of baseball, so use the reading to inform a relevant lesson! Bonus: the article invokes Leonard Mlodinow.

The Earth’s Tilt and Seasons – A dad laments a science textbook propagating a common misconception. Short, but valid.

It’s In The Syllabus! – PhD Comics’ take on those common inquiries by students throughout…but especially at the end of the semester…

Have some links you’d like to share? Submit them on our contact form!

Required Readings are a list of links that you might find interesting! Look for them to appear every Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday morning.

Previous post

Pop Quiz: The Day I Made Someone's Mom Activate Their Rage-Crystal

Next post

Pop Quiz: Cable in the classroom?

P.E. Robinson

P.E. Robinson

Professor P.E. Robinson teaches astronomy to non-science majors at a 2-year college in the United States. He has a decade of experience teaching science in higher education, and providing professional development experiences to astronomers and other educators. Skepticism and critical thinking are key components of everything he teaches.


  1. May 13, 2013 at 8:37 pm —

    That comic reminds me of this video:

    (Full disclosure, I made this a couple years ago).

  2. May 14, 2013 at 11:01 am —

    Dan – that video is terrific. I think I’ve had that conversation, with some minor variations, many many times.

    My syllabus includes a boxed and highlighted warning:

    “At no point during the semester is it appropriate for you to tell your professor what grade you want or need in the course. Doing so is an unprofessional act of manipulation and is unfair to the professor and to the other students. If you want to earn an A, you must act like an A student the entire semester, not just in the last couple weeks.”

    • May 14, 2013 at 12:31 pm —

      It is definitely based on a real conversation.

Leave a reply