A pile of US $100 bills
Higher EducationScience

Is it okay to dance with the devil for a good cause – like funding your graduate students?

Summer is conference time for scientists and I just got back from a fantastic one in Australia.  The Great Barrier Reef  science was quite fun and educational.  In between seminars as we are wont to do, we talked funding and how tight things are these days.  One’s chances of getting …

EducationHigher EducationPedagogyScienceSecondary Education

Introduction to Astronomy Survey

Warning: This post is Northern Hemisphere-centric! Also, keep in mind I did not do an exhaustive statistical analysis of this survey so take it as you wish. Every semester at the beginning of my Introduction to Astronomy course I give a variation of the survey from The Collaboration for Astronomy Education …


SkepchickCon Is (Nearly) Here!

Hi everyone! The wonderful SkepchickCon is happening July 3-6 as part of CONvergence and there’s still time for you to get involved! You can find out about the event itself and get your tickets at http://skepchickcon.com You can find out about some of the incredible Space Lab events that are …

Classroom of student from the late 1800's
Critical ThinkingEducationScience

Part 4: Creationism – when you teach science there is no controversy.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by animal behavior.  At the age of six I embarked on a career path from which I never wavered.  Except once. Almost. As a sophomore in college I took two semesters of Astronomy to round out my non-biology science electives.  …


Warning: Grading Essays May Cause Concussion

I have a dent in my forehead.  It keeps getting deeper every time I assign a paper to write.  This semester the dent has a bruise and my desk almost has a hole through it.  Okay, I jest a little bit but there was definitely some forehead to desk moments …

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 …

Captain Picard covering face
Critical ThinkingScience

Part 3: Debating creationism – why it is good idea (but not always)

For Bill Nye or anyone else to debate a creationist like Ken Ham makes no more sense than for Neil deGrasse Tyson to debate a flat-earther.  The science of both issues is settled – debates just give credibility to crackpots. Oh, do I disagree.  Dr. Tyson should debate a flat-earther, …

Critical ThinkingScience

Part 2: Creationism is science (and so history)

Creationism can be a scientific pursuit.  Although I don’t know them, I bet the researchers at Answers in Genesis are pretty darn smart about evolutionary biology.  Similarly, those who once had the universe circling the earth did brilliant mathematics to make the system plausible.  Jean Bastiste Lamarck (of evolution by …

Series of Books
EducationLesson PlansScience

Teaching Science with Science Fiction – Weight vs. Mass

The Truth about Pyecraft by H.G. Wells – the difference between Weight and Mass This post is jam packed with story spoilers so if you would like to first read the story spoiler free here are two links to Google books versions; one from The Strand and the other from …