Archive for teachers

Sometimes science teachers can’t even teach evolution properly

Posted in Evolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , on September 19, 2008 by airtightnoodle

Now, all teachers make mistakes.  Don’t get me wrong.  We’re just as fallible as everyone else.

On a message board when discussing different activities for teaching evolution, someone replied with the following:

From what I understand, evolution theories boils down to carbon dating and genetic profiling. There are plenty of videos on this. Record History channel’s “Evolve” for a start and the hosts start linking the past and present. Everyone knows about how the Big Bang theory is currently winning the theory war from the expand and contract theory. Talk about the spectrometers and how the far away galaxies are flying away exponentially.
But of course, you kinda have to talk that these are all just theories as opposed to laws as while some parts of the hypothesis are proven time and time again, there are other parts that cannot be tested at the moment.

I’m trying REALLY hard not to be judgmental.  I don’t know EVERYTHING about science–even the kind of science taught at the high school level.  For example, I’m fairly weak with physics.  I’m certified to teach it, but if I was ever asked to do so, I’d probably run screaming. 

However, the above shows a lack of understanding not just about evolution, but about the very nature of science.

“Boiling down” to carbon dating?  Has this person never learned about relative and absolute dating?  Have they never heard of ice cores, tree rings, geologic strata, and the various other radiometric dating methods out there BESIDES carbon dating? 

And what’s with mentioning the Big Bang?  This person is making the same mistake most creationists do–confusing origins of the universe with evolution, or how life changes over time. 

And the part about mentioning that these are “just theories”–that’s the part that really kills me.  As I’ve written about before, there seems to be a lack of understanding in the general public about what a “theory” means in the science world.  Apparently there is a lack of understanding to some extent in education as well.  That is scary, indeed.


What to do when students bring up ID/creationism in class

Posted in Education, Evolution with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 1, 2008 by airtightnoodle

Most science teachers have been here before.  Some students are more aggressive than others.  Most, fortunately, will let the conversation drop (though moodily) once they are told that we cannot have those sorts of conversations in class.

But sometimes it’s tempting to get involved in such conversations.

What exactly SHOULD you do when students bring up creationism or intelligent design in science class?

Greg Laden gives us some very good common sense and guidelines to follow when confronting such situations in class.  This is a very good read, especially this time of the year when we teachers are all returning to work.

Very interesting blog stat…

Posted in Evolution with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on August 24, 2008 by airtightnoodle

I visited WordPress today for the first time in many days.  With the school year starting soon, I’ve been extremely busy. 

Since I haven’t posted anything regularly in a while, naturally I didn’t expect to have many visitors to the blog.  Indeed, for the past several days the average has been pretty low, well under 100 per day. 

To my surprise, however, I noticed that today I have had 415 visitors so far!  This piqued my interest, of course.  Why, I wondered, are there so many hits today?  What are people so interested in?

Looking at my dashboard blog stats in WordPress reveals that there have been MANY search engine searches involving the following:

ten questions to ask your biology teacher
10 questions to ask your biology teacher
10 questions to ask your teacher about evolution
ten questions to ask biologists
10 questions biology teacher

And so on.  Through these searches people are visiting the following post of mine, Response to “10 Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher”.

My guess is that with the school year starting, a lot of nervous religious (primarily Christian) parents are preparing for their children to take biology.  Perhaps some of the searches are even being done by the children themselves. 

Has anyone else with blogs similar to mine experienced such tremendous growth on related issues recently?

And just in the time it took me to type this, the visits have gone up to 439!  Interesting.

Good luck!

Posted in Education with tags , , , on August 24, 2008 by airtightnoodle

Just wanted to wish all the fellow teachers out there good luck starting the school year.  Most of the school districts in my area, including the one I work for, start tomorrow.

And good luck to the students as well!

Teacher fonts

Posted in Education with tags , , , , on August 14, 2008 by airtightnoodle

For those of you who like to re-type old worksheets, labs, etc, so they don’t look like they came from the 80’s or from a typewriter (even if they did), there are two cute school-ish looking fonts at BV Fonts that you can download for free.

One is a cursive font called Learning Curve (see a preview here). 

The other is a print font called Print Clearly (see a preview here).

Call me crazy, but I’m one of those teachers that hates anything I hand out to the students to be typed in Arial, Times New Roman, or some copy of an awful ditto sheet from ages past.

Teacher Tube

Posted in Education with tags , , , , , , , on August 14, 2008 by airtightnoodle

I’ve just discovered this awesome resource.  I don’t know how I didn’t know about it sooner, but it’s basically You Tube for teachers.

Click here to visit Teacher Tube!

Teacher humor: Kids Are Quick

Posted in Education with tags , , , , , , on July 14, 2008 by airtightnoodle

Kids Are Quick

TEACHER:   Maria, go to the map and find North America .
MARIA:     Here it is.
TEACHER:  Correct. Now class, who discovered America ?
CLASS:        Maria.
TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
JOHN:         You told me to do it without using tables.

TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell ‘crocodile?’
GLENN:       K-R-O-K-O-D-I-A-L’ .
TEACHER:  No, that’s wrong.
GLENN:       Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.
TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
DONALD:     H I J K L M N O.
TEACHER:  What are you talking about?
DONALD:     Yesterday you said it’s H to O.

TEACHER:  Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn’t have ten years ago.
WINNIE:     Me!

TEACHER:  Glen, why do you always get so dirty?
GLEN: Well, I’m a lot closer to the ground than you are.

TEACHER:    Millie, give me a sentence starting with ‘ I. ‘
MILLIE:         I is…
TEACHER:    No, Millie…Always say, ‘I am.’
MILLIE:         All right…’I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.’     

TEACHER:   George Washington not only chopped down his father’s cherry tree, but also admitted it.  Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn’t punish him?
LOUIS:     Because George still had the axe in his hand.   
TEACHER: Now, Simon, tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
SIMON:     No sir, I don’t have to, my Mom is a good cook.
TEACHER:    Clyde , your composition on ‘My Dog’ is exactly the same as your brother’s. Did you copy his?
CLYDE :       No, sir. It’s the same dog.
TEACHER:     Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?
HAROLD:   A teacher.

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!

I Love Bacteria

Posted in science with tags , , , , , , , , , , on July 1, 2008 by airtightnoodle

Cute site: I Love

It’s a great site to browse just for fun, but it also has some neat resources for parents, teachers, and kids.

Find out the answers to silly questions like, “Why do farts smell?” or, “Why is the sky blue?”  Learn how to get a hard-boiled egg in a bottle, how to make plastic, and how to extract DNA.  Discover what microbes are and get advice on becoming a scientist.  All this and more is presented in a super-cute (but not annoyingly so) and enjoyable format.  There is also a science shop with funny science apparel.  I even have one of the shirts myself (the black phagocytosis shirt).  Go visit now!