Higher EducationPop QuizScience

Pop quiz: What to be when you grow up?

[Ed. note: the title of this piece has been changed since initial publication]   I teach biology in college and I advise our students in the major to prepare them for careers and post-graduate education.  I always start with “what do you want to be when you grow up?”  This …


Creationism, Part 1: It’s a fight over science, not facts.

Last year I became a movie star.  Well in truth, I became an extra in a biblical docudrama exposing evolution and proving the existence of God.  Yes, I was one of the Feckless Four: Professors unable to answer the simple question of, “Give me one piece of evidence for evolution”, …

EducationPrimary EducationScienceSecondary Education

Streams of Consciousness: Science Olympiad

This past weekend I had the pleasure of being an event supervisor at one of the regional sections of the Science Olympiad here in the Midwest for the second year in a row. If you are not familiar with this competition it is for K-12 (this one was just middle …


It’s Getting Hot in Here, So Extract All Your Coal!

It seems as if there is no end to attacks on science education in the United States. Most often it is evolution that bears the brunt of these attacks, with court cases such as Kitzmiller v Dover, or the evolution hearings held by The Kansas State Board of Education coming …

Critical ThinkingEducationFeaturedHigher EducationReligionScience

Creationists in Astronomy Class are Not Fun!

Every semester as part of the general astronomy class I teach it is required that we do a few lectures on the history of astronomy. It is intended that we start all the way back into ancient astronomy and talk about how the people of the time viewed their Earth …

A shelf full of books.
Required ReadingsScience

NC school to get secular group after all, more on creationism in education, the state of science in Canada, and sexual assault at Christian universities: Required Readings!

To follow up on one of last week’s stories, North Carolina’s Pisgah High School administration changes its mind about allowing a Secular Student Alliance chapter at the school. While a new bill in Missouri wants to warn parents if their children are being taught about natural selection, PZ Myers reports …

volcano activity

The Power of Scientists and Teachers Combined

In my job, I’ve recently started working directly with school teachers to bring them new science curricula or activities for their classrooms. I generally like this approach, the “teach the teachers” mentality, which allows you to expand your reach, even if secondhand, over a wider audience. After all, one-off outreach …

Critical ThinkingEducationFeaturedPedagogyScience

Skeptical Approaches to Student Evaluations of Faculty

The college where I dispense wisdom is very small, with fewer than 1000 students. We are a weird little school in a weird, isolated little town, surrounded by much bigger players who suck up most of the (decimated) higher ed budget and leave us with the scraps. Thus, we have …

Comet in your hand
FeaturedLesson PlansScience

Lesson Plans: Make a Comet

I love hands-on science demos. One of my favorites is the “Make your own comet” that I often do for public events with kids, adults, anyone! I perfected my comet making skills while I was a part of Dark Skies, Bright Kids in Virginia, and I’ll share the not-so-secret recipe …

Critical ThinkingPop QuizScience

Pop Quiz: Where do students get their science?

Science literacy is a tricky term. What do we mean by it? Do we expect the populace at large to know certain basic facts? Do we expect them to understand the process of science? How deeply into scientific knowledge must a layperson get before they are considered scientifically literate? These …