Archive for high school

I failed as a teacher

Posted in Education with tags , , , , , , , on June 9, 2010 by airtightnoodle

Yesterday I visited my local evil government house of mail (a.k.a., the post office).  While waiting in line, I overheard a young boy behind me asking his mom, “But I don’t understand how DNA works.  I don’t get it.”  I glanced back and smiled at him and his mom, impressed that a boy that looked so young would know anything about DNA.  His mother explained patiently that she didn’t know and advised him to ask a science teacher. 

Cue the superhero music!  Science teacher to the rescuuuuue! 

I boldly turned around again with my brightest smile, proclaiming, “I’m a science teacher!” 

The boy, not impressed, asked, “Are you a scientist or a science teacher?”  (At this point I’m sure someone with acute vision could see my ego deflate just a bit.)

“I’m a science teacher.  Is that ok?”

“Well, I guess.  My science teacher really loves science.  She has all sorts of weird stuff in her room.  Like, she loves science.”

“Oh, that’s cool.  How old are you?”


“Go ahead,” said Mom.  “Ask her your question.”

At this point I was prepared to explain that our bodies are made of lots of teeny tiny cells, and inside each one is a chemical called DNA that tells the cell what to do.  Instead, the question I got was much more specific. “Ok, how does the DNA say if you’re a boy or a girl?  I don’t get it!”

Instantly, since I teach high schoolers, images of sperm cells, egg cells, chromosomes, and so on go tumbling through my mind, and all I can think of is sexual reproduction.  My jaw drops a little bit. 

“Um,” I stutter to Mom, “I’m not sure how to explain that to a 9 year old.”

Share your comments on the Texas science standards

Posted in Education, Evolution, Texas with tags , , , , , on October 25, 2008 by airtightnoodle

As mentioned on my blog already, the first draft of science TEKS has been posted online.  Now you can share your comments on the TEKS. 

The comment forms for the first draft of the proposed Science TEKS have been posted at

The Science TEKS Review Committees will meet at the end of October and begin reviewing comments.

The end of October is here.  So go read the TEKS and post your comments NOW!

First draft of Texas science standards (TEKS) available online

Posted in Education, Evolution with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 28, 2008 by airtightnoodle

The first draft of the newly proposed science TEKS (Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills) is now available for viewing online.  You can view the proposals here.

Keep checking the site as supposedly they will soon be asking for input on these proposed TEKS.

What did T. Rex taste like?

Posted in Education, Evolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 2, 2008 by airtightnoodle

T. RexThis cute webquest activity called “What did T. Rex taste like?” comes from Berkeley.  This online activity addresses how life is related.  The parts teaching how to read and use a cladogram are very well done.  It clearly demonstrates how scientists use different features from living animals and fossils to determine how closely certain organisms are related to one another (for example, why Tyrannosaurux rex is considered by most to be more closely related to birds than to reptiles like crocodiles).  Life science and biology teachers, be sure to bookmark this one!