Saturday, December 29, 2007

Research from Nations of Visitors and Thank you's for Visiting

Visitors to this blog are from all over the world. I found a site that can help me say thank you in many languages and linked it here:

Thank you in many languages! Thank you

These are the current visitors flags and some international links:


A botany position in Germany:



Butterflies and Birds in Spain and Portugal:


History of Botany in Finland:


Science Education in Ireland:

Serbia and MontenegroSerbia And Montenegro

Learning through research: A Serbian Tradition:


Corporate Support for Science Education in Canada


Marine biology in the Netherlands

  1. - 40k -


Nanotechnology in Mexican Schools...comparison to US schools


A Japanese View of Science Education in the USA:

United KingdomUnited Kingdom

Science Learning Centres:

India (Flag to come soon)India


Engineering Schools in France:

For those interested in Australian plants:


United StatesUnited States

More links to come.... Also, add interesting links that you find in the comments below.

Gifted and Talented Connections:

  1. Talent Search
  2. Center for Talented Youth
  3. Connections Academy
  4. Graduate Certifications
  5. No Child Left Behind
  6. Verbally Gifted Youth

Things to think about...
All children, including gifted and talented, deserve education at their level. Please encourage legislators to treat all children equally. Gifted children need study skills and other skills, as do children of all abilities.

For example, a gifted fifth grader in math, should not have to wait to do fifth grade (or higher) math until classmates learn to count to 500. (This and similar events happened frequently in this (and many)students case(s).)

A gifted child shouldn't have to perpetually teach other children in his/her class that are behind, rather than being taught...parents' taxes are being paid to have teachers teach. On occasion gifted children can teach others. But, all children can have that experience. Each child has some talent. Why then do these tutorials happen in one direction, so often?

(c)2007 JSS used by with permission of the author.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Recreation and Stress Reduction over the Holidays

Stress sometimes builds up with exams and holiday shopping coming before the holidays and financial woes afterward, however, there are ways to reduce stress. And, remember, holidays are not about spending away too much money, rather, they are about having fun with your friends and family and celebrating values you share, religious or otherwise.

Recreation is an important part of holiday time
, too. One aunt may take the children for paintball or spyder vs3 while another bakes cookies with the smaller children. The main point is to get along and have fun, and...relax. Relaxation helps to reduce stress:

So, go for paintball (Ultimate Paintball: Tippmann, Spyder, Smart Parts, Dye, Empire, Draxxus paintball gear Tippmann A-5, Tippmann 98 Custom, Smart Parts Ion, Spyder Pilot ACS plus many more brands- See for Ultimate Paintball: best prices with free shipping.) or go make cookies...or, read a book, or sit down and talk with Mom and Dad. What ever you do, have fun and keep your stress to a minimum.
Edits-Jan 2, 2008:
There appears to be a lot of interest in this particular post so I have taken the liberty of adding more stress reducing sites:

How can you use science to help you make decisions?

In the United States, and elsewhere, many people are often concerned about their weight, how can you use science to evaluate whether you want a macrobiotic diet, a lap-band ventura or anything in-between?
lap-band ventura

Evaluating any decision regarding your health and lifestyle requires sound scientific principles. People are often aware of processes of scientific method(s). Some students, and grown-ups, too, will think of these methods in science class, but forget to use them in every day life. Making sound decisions leads to better health and improved longevity.

Across grades K-12, researchers have focused on ways that students investigate, model, discuss, and understand increasingly sophisticated mathematics and science concepts.
Source: Accessed December 28, 2007.

Because of global warming, alternative energy, water use and other complicated social and environmental issues, people need to rely on basic science skills like evaluating data.
As a result of the societal and personal needs, decision making is being increasingly included in school curricula, for example,, Ohio Sea Grant's education project for development of electronic curricula for decision making using Great Lakes data.

But, it takes more than "book-learning" or even internet-learning to make decisions. Higher order thinking skills are essential. Let's look at a sample set of educational standards on this topic:

National Educational Technology Standards (NETS)

# Standard 6: Technology Problem-solving and Decision-making Tools
* Students use technology resources for solving problems and making informed decisions.
* Students employ technology in the development of strategies for solving problems in the real world.
Source: Accessed December 28, 2007.
The standards, like the ones shown above, often suggest the end result for students. But how do they get there? How do we, adults, get there when we make decisions? Whether picking shampoo, or choosing the best presidential candidate, whether selecting a diet, exercise routine or surgery, we (students and mentors alike) need good decision making skills. We need to think deeply.

I have found that encouraging high school students to use the HOT Skills wheel has helped them to develop the skills necessary to be able to make decisions well.
What are HOT Skills?

Let's look at HOT skills related to making a decision on the lap band.

Knowledge Comprehension Analysis Application Synthesis Evaluation
  1. Knowledge
  2. Comprehension
  3. Analysis
  4. Application
  5. Synthesis
  6. Evaluation

Source: Accessed December 28, 2007.

Knowledge: Do you know what a lap band is?
Journey Lite specializes in Laparoscopic Adjustable Gastric Banding which is also known as LAGB or the LAP BAND System procedure. The LAPBAND Adjustable Gastric Band is designed to help you lose excess body weight, improve weight-related health conditions and enhance quality of life. It reduces the stomach capacity and restricts the amount of food that can be consumed at one time.
There's a quote from some of the LAPBAND advertising . It tells some information about the LAPBAND. This information falls in the "knowledge" category of thinking.

Another "knowledge" skill is to "list." Can you list products or lifestyle changes that compete with the LAPBAND? If you used the internet, or pamphlets at your doctor's office or from a medical or nursing text to list products and lifestyle changes that could acheive the same goals of the LAPBAND, you would still be in the knowledge category.

Comprehension: Do you understand the ideas gathered so far? The types of thinking you can do if you understand are:
  • interpretation of facts, compare, contrast
  • order, group, and infer causes
  • predict consequences
  • understanding information
  • translation of knowledge into new context
  • grasping meaning

How would you interpret the facts? Could you make a chart comparing the LAPBAND to competitors products? Could you talk to people who had the procedure and to people that made other life style choices and compare their answers?

Analysis: Do you see patterns? How are parts organized? DO you recognize any hidden meanings? Can you identify components?
Application: You can apply the data when you use information, methods, concepts,and theories in new situations. Solving problems by using required skills or knowledge is also, "application." For example, did you apply math skills that you already have to analyze the data.
Synthesis: Can you generalize from given facts, relate knowledge from several areas, predict, draw conclusions and use old ideas to create new ones? assess value of theories, make choices based on reasoned arguments, verify value of evidence, recognize subjectivity, compare and discriminate between/among ideas.

(c)2007 J S Shipman. Used by with the author's permission.

A Rose by any Other Name...

A rose by any other name is still a rose...
From Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, 1594:

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
So Romeo would, were he not Romeo call'd,
Retain that dear perfection which he owes
Without that title. Romeo, doff thy name,
And for that name which is no part of thee
Take all myself.

Accessed December 28, 2007

...but, a weed by any other name, some may call noxious, invasive, or, still others may call it medicine...

Many so-called weeds are medicinal plants. Still, noxious weeds are a major problem...
It becomes an ethical problem to balance the different needs together with the use/abuse of weed-killers. Did you know many "weed-killers" also kill trees?

If you are interested in weed science, you might want to check out the following link:

Other resources:

Traditional medicines
Contact information:

Dr Xiaorui Zhang
Traditional Medicine, Essential Drugs and Medicines Policy (EDM)
Fax: +41 22 791 4730

Clayton College of Natural Health

Some books you might enjoy:


Welcome to Society of Practical Education in Biology

Please click the link to visit the Society of Practical Education in Biology:




by Dr-J

In the nearly empty lot of a McDonald's not far from the coast one stormy summer's day a Sea Gull was trying to open his lunch sack. It had been conveniently left there by the previous guest, Mr. Litterbug. A Crow passed by, then alighted on the nearby macadem, pausing to say, "Hello," to Sea Gull and then watching him.

The Sea Gull picked up his lunch bag and flew up in the air. When he was high enough, he dropped the bag. Then, quickly flew down to look at it. Again and again Sea Gull flew up in the air, dropped his lunch sack and flew down again. Ever so patiently Sea Gull tried again and again. Finally he gave up, said Goodbye," to Crow and decided to fly farther in-land since the clouds over the sea looked ominous.

"Do you want help with your lunch," asked the Crow before the Sea Gull left?

"No, I'm going to find something else to eat," and the Sea Gull flew away.

"Why bother to look elsewhere?" said the Crow; "We have plenty of food right here." But the Sea Gull was already too far away to hear. The Crow walked over to the lunch sack and using the long toes as a hand, gently unfolded the top of the bag and then tipped the bag over and ate the lunch. Then the Crow knew:

It is better to wait patiently than to give up before reaching your goal.


This is a true story, except for the anthropomorphism at the end (And of course, the talking.) The actual incident, which the author watched, took place around 1999. Of course there are many other morals that could be drawn by the reader, such as...

(c)2007 J S Shipman
used by TIBU with the permission of the author.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

If a tree had no leaves...

could you tell what tree it was?

Trees in Winter
Post under development...more later...
In winter, deciduous trees have already lost their leaves. You remember the autumn foliage season, when the leaves fell, don't you? So, how can you tell trees in winter?

Surprisingly, witch hazel flowers in winter, so that one is easy to tell...but, others? But, especially on a warm winter day...when snow is melting, but, it's not yet spring... you might like to take students for a walk. In preparing lessons, you might consider a walk where you use a key to identify trees. Cornell has a booklet for children 8 to 12 that adults will also find helpful:

Winter, well, that's when a "twig key" comes in handy.

A site that can help you learn the vocabulary of "twigs" is:

Branching patterns and bark are also useful for identification.

If you are more interested in computers than walks outside, but, still want to work on winter trees, try: branching and computers...

More tree links can be found at:

Tennessee trees


Sailing, sailing...Darwin Sets Sail on HMS Beagle (1831)

Have you seen the Beagle?
Click this link and find a photo of a painting of the HMS Beagle, by Owen Stanley.

Can you imagine sailing on a ship like the HMS Beagle in 1831? You would know the waves! It is hard for me to imagine what it must have been like, however, I like to think about it from time to time. Jotting down ideas helps stretch my thinking.

You might try that mental stretch, too. Write a few lines about what you think it would have been like to sail on a ship like the HMS Beagle in 1831. Can ypou hear the sound of the waves? What do you see?

Edited on 12-27=2009:
I came across this link and thought some readers might like to have access to it. It cites several sources on Darwin and his voyages.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

OnVacation? Traveling?

First of all, enjoy your vacation. Relax.

If you are you traveling, did you know that insect, plant and animal pests might travel with you? That is the reason that we have rules about bringing fruits and meats and other items when we travel. It is also the reason that plant crops are inspected and that plants and animals are quarantined when they first arrive in the United States. Following the regulations means...You don't spread pests...or, at least you limit their spread as much as you can.

Here is a United States Department of Agriculture website about regulations and permits:

Here's a quotation from the Animal and Plant Inspection Service (APHIS) of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) website:
APHIS works to protect the health and value of American agriculture and natural resources. APHIS International Services (IS) supports this mission in an international environment by:

(1) safeguarding the health of animals, plants, and ecosystems in the United States;

(2) facilitating safe agricultural trade;

(3) ensuring effective and efficient management of internationally-based programs; and

(4) investing in international capacity-building through various training programs abroad to enhance technical, administrative, and diplomatic skills and competencies.

APHIS' international mission is to protect and promote U.S. agricultural health through internationally-based animal and plant health expertise.

Other countries also safeguard their people. Some countries are still developing their regulations. It is international cooperation that protects all of us.

Scientists in agriculture or ag-related fields are vital to safe-huarding the public. Are you interested in a career in agricultural science?

Research at Botanic Gardens: Highlight on the Biotechnology Research at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Read about it: Reading Science

Read about it: Reading Science

Winning Essays by Young People

Here are some essays written by young people in response to a contest. I came across them when researching the previous post on the Ada Hayden Herbarium. One of the essays is on Ada Hayden.

Ada Hayden and other Winning Essays

Here's an excerpt on Ada Hayden:
Thirty years later her work was cited when the first comprehensive integrated roadside vegetation management programs began. Ada described the diversity of species comprising health prairies. Ada viewed native prairies as valuable, living scientific laboratories, where soil types, endangered species, and wildlife management could be studied. Ada’s devotion to the conservation of Iowa prairies is now being recognized and used in Iowa, as it is part of our heritage.
Ariel Sinclair

Can you write an essay?

Here's a link to the 2008 contest.
  • If you are not an Iowa resident, your state may have a similar contest. Check with the Governor's Office, or write your essay just for fun and try to get it published.

  • You might even design a web page that includes your essay. (Learn about copyright and copyright your material.) Post a link to your web page here in the comments (Under the post, click where it says, "comments." You can also post your essay in the comments.)


What is an herbarium?

Can you guess what an herbarium is based on the word? Do you see, "herb," in it? Check the definition of herbarium here.

Here is a link to the herbarium at Iowa State University. It is called the Ada Hayden Herbarium.

The herbarium is named after Dr. Ada Hayden. Who is this person?
Ada Hayden receives a Ph.D.; she is the first woman to receive a Ph.D. at Iowa State College." Read more...

There are people behind herbaria. I had the opportunity to work in the herbarium at Iowa State. As a graduate student, I had a wonderful opportunity to work in the Ada Hayden herbarium. I worked with Dr. Richard W. Pohl, a specialist in grasses (like wheat and timothy), and, Dr. Duane Isley, a specialist in legumes (like peas and beans). Dr. Isley hired me on a graduate fellowship to work there. I used to label the herbarium sheets and check for errors in identification. I also sent out specimens and filed returned specimens. As a result, I learned many plants and talked with exciting people.

When you go outside and see green, do you know all the plants? Would you like to know what they are? How can you tell?

Plant specimens can be used as an aid in difficult plant identifications, as can molecular biology. Here is a link to an herbarium sheet:

A special group of botanists, called plant taxonomists, learn how to identify different plants. They use herbaria for research, as well as field work , and can use molecular biology, too.
The American Society of Plant Taxonomists has a link to several herbaria:

Here is a link on biotechnology in plant identification:

Here is another link to what an herbarium is. The digital collections of the Harvard University Herbaria can be found here:

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry, Merry!

Enjoy your family.

Today's visitors include people from:

United StatesUnited States

In order of numbers visiting:

United KingdomUnited Kingdom




Russian FederationRussian Federation



Serbia And MontenegroSerbia And Montenegro









Thank you for visiting.

Monday, December 24, 2007

You are What You Eat

Here's a great link (Your taxes paid for it!) to help you understand nutrients found in foods.

Another link you might find interesting shows how to prevent many birth defects.

Are you an inventor?

If you are an inventor, or want to become one, recordkeeping is important. Check out this website on logbooks for inventors:

Is Science important during an Election?

This time the presidential election has many firsts. At this link, you can find a discussion of the election. It is not unlike other discussions of the election. Do you hear any discussion where science is important? Should science be important? What science(health/environment/
technology/forestry/air pollution/chemistry/biology/physics/energy, and so on...) would you like to hear candidates and commentators talk about? How about education? What education issues do you want to hear about? Please form an opinion and vote if you can. America needs your voice.

Technology and Education

Podcasts-of-lectures is available technology in education, today. Here are some samples for grown-ups.

Leadership in Sustainability of the Earth:
This lecture, geared to grown-ups, uses facts to support an opinion. Have you developed your own opinion on sustainability?

More examples:

Can you find these countries on a map?

Most visitors have been from the United States:

United StatesUnited States

But, many people have visited from other countries:

United KingdomUnited Kingdom




Russian FederationRussian Federation




Serbia And MontenegroSerbia And Montenegro