Archive for teaching

Online labs and activities for environmental science

Posted in environmental science with tags , , , , , , on June 11, 2010 by airtightnoodle

If you teach environmental science or APES (Advanced Placement Environmental Science) you may want to check out the following link:

NROC Environmental Science

The site is designed to be an online APES class and claims to cover all of the material the College Board dictates must be covered for APES.  I haven’t looked through the entire site myself, so I can’t speak for that assertion.  However, there are some neat online labs where students have to change inputs and then assess what happens, and so on.  Check it out.

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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?”

“Nine.”

“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.”

What do we mean by theory, anyway?

Posted in Education, Evolution with tags , , , , , on April 8, 2008 by airtightnoodle

Often people who don’t believe in evolutionary theory will attempt to dismiss it by saying, “It’s only a theory.”

I found this article rather unexpectedly this morning and even used it in my classes today. We just happen to be starting our evolution unit (yay!). It explains just what scientists mean when they use the word “theory” and why this argument against evolution is flimsy.

Teacher tip: I read this aloud to my students each period. I prefaced it by saying, “I found this article this morning and was going to quickly type up some questions to go along with it for your assignment, but I decided just to read it to you aloud instead.” Grateful cheers erupted, and then I actually had their attention. Suckers! 😉

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First blog

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 17, 2008 by airtightnoodle

The time has come for me to blog.  I’ve avoided it for quite some time, but my thoughts and opinions on various matters (some important, some not-so-important) are now itching to get out. 

I consider myself to be pretty conservative.  In many ways, I’m a typical Texan.  I was born and raised in the Houston area to fairly conservative, Christian parents (though my father is somewhat of a reformed hippie).  I’ve always been rather opinionated and have always enjoyed expressing myself through writing.  However, I avoided the blogging world for many reasons, primarily due to the issue of privacy (i.e., do I really want my private thoughts read by strangers in cyberspace?).  That is, until I came across the following:

 Expelled–Ben Stein’s quest to debunk what he calls “Big Science”

I guess some might call  me confused.  To sum up some of my beliefs (some of which are not static, mind you), I’m a conservative Christian with a degree in Biology who sees no problem in using and accepting current scientific theories (as in, evolution) and adhering to a system of faith.  As a high school Biology teacher, I also have a strong interest in the state of education in America, especially regarding the teaching of science.

Strange to some, I’m sure.  I’ll admit that my primary reason for starting this blog is purely selfish–I tend to think more clearly by writing things down, and I hope that by writing this blog I’ll be able to settle some of my own unresolved beliefs/opinions/issues that bother me or that I don’t have a clear stance on.  It is my secondary hope that others may find this useful, educational, or at least mildly amusing. 

 So read along if you so choose!  Happy blogging to you!

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