Thursday, December 31, 2009

"SNG" in science...

My students know that attention to detail is something I try to convey to them in science class. A doctor off by a decimal point, for example, was responsible for giving my grandfather a blood thinner 10 times too strong. You might only think of it as a decimal, but, an error like that cost Grandpa his life. Nurses, too, need to pay attention, for example, to insulin medications (among others). Even those who don't select a science career benefit from attention to detail.

One of the measures I developed for my students for detecting attention to detail was, "SNG." SNG is,, "spelling, neatness, and grammar." You might complain that that is not science, however, spelling, neatness are good indicators of attention to detail---an essential of good science. In addition, writing is a needed skill for scientists. For example, writing prescriptions, writing reports, writing journal articles... so, in addition to attention to detail, a scientist also needs, "SNG."

Words commonly misspelled or misused:
  • allot and a lot. (Note:"alot," is not a word.) To help you remember: I have a lot or I have a little.
  • separate has, "a rat," in it.
  • believe has, "lie" in it.
One of my friends, knowing that I encourage science students to use, "SNG," sent me the following link. which I believe you will enjoy.
I hope that you enjoyed this post and the related comic link.

One of my students did learn this, "attention to detail," in my classes. She was training her institution's staff to avoid medicine errors. She was the first person in Massachusetts whose unit scored a perfect score (No medicine errors) following her training where she conveyed what SNG has to do with science. Think of the lives she and her staff saved. Think of the lives you will save.

Happy New Year. May it be health-filled, prosperous, and joyous.

Dr. J

(c) 1990-2009 J. S. Shipman

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Science in an economic downturn...

Here's a quote from the USGS concerning funding of a long term project of data collection on NYS waterways:

NOTICE (Revised 10/01/2009) --Data collection at the following streamgages may be discontinued due to funding reductions from partner agencies. Although historic data will remain accessible, no new data will be collected unless one or more new funding partners are found. Users who can contribute funding for the non-Federal share of costs to continue operation of these streamgages should contact Ward Freeman, Acting Director of the USGS New York Water Science Center (518-285-5658 or Source: Accessed 12-30-09.

Add notices of short funding in your area in the comments below.

Remember, too, that scientists need money to travel.

I would like to present my research in Australia in 2011.

It would be great if scientists from other continents could get money to come to the conferences here. For example, I would like to bring one of the researchers associated with Plants Cafe to the botany meetings this year.

Find scientists in your location, or, around the globe, and support them. Support research in areas you feel it is needed. Support science literacy and science education. Thank you.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Science Sites

Science Sites in the USA

Note: Add links from your country by e-mailing them to
or by putting the information in a comment below.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Segue from Kepler's Snowflakes to five petals on flowering plants

Comparing Living and Non-living

In "On the Six-Cornered Snowflake (1611)," Kepler draws significant attention to the characteristic difference between living and non-living processes. The question of why snowflakes always form six tiny, iced feathers, no more and no less, gave rise to the question of why most flowers of plants and trees form five petals or a derivative of fivefold symmetry in the seeds of certain fruit and other living processes. However, at first glance, the geometry of these structures, whether living or non-living, is not enough to explain the causality of why they take their form. We humans, like some other living creatures, have five digits on our hands and feet. Why not six or seven? How can we know, as Kepler would put it, the relationship between the material necessity in the symmetry of either living or non-living processes and the principle guiding the material to take the shape that it does? The one thing we can be sure of is that we are the only living creatures on this planet that have the ability to even begin to answer these questions. Source: "John Lienhard, at the University of Houston, where we're interested in the way inventive minds work. " Accessed December 27, 2009.

Biology and Symmetry

Nature offers so much pentagonal symmetry: the armor of pineapples, cross sections of apples -- starfish, flowers, sand dollars. But we also force five-fold symmetry on many things. The Greeks spoke of five Platonic solids: cubes, octahedrons, tetrahedrons, icosahedrons, and dodecahedrons. The first four (formed from triangles or squares) stood for earth, air, fire, and water. But the fifth, the dodecahedron (made from pentagons) was the symbol for pure celestial matter. That's where the movie The Fifth Element gets its title. Hindu philosophers added celestial ether to their four earthly elements, and they also got the mystical number, five. Accessed December 27, 2009.
"Symmetry in biology is the balanced arrangement of body parts or shapes around a central point or axis," is a definition readily found on the internet (Source: Accessed December 27, 2009.)

Here's a flower photo from Italy showing five-fold symmetry.: and... More flickr photos on five-fold symmetry:

Another photo, "shows Sun Spurge's five-fold symmetric 'umbel'. The five leaves at the base of the umbel are known as bracts. The individual 'cups' containing the tiny central flowers are known as involucres." Source: Accessed December 27, 2009.

Under development

In science education and science literacy development, I encourage, "Reach Reading™." You can bridge up from simple reading levels to journal articles to study floral symmetry. Studies of symmetry of flowers are in articles on floral development like this one:

A temporal and morphological framework for flower development in Antirrhinum majus.
Coral A. Vincent and Enrico S. Coen Can. J. Bot. 82(5): 681–690 (2004) | doi:10.1139/b04-042 Canadian access to full text made available through the Depository Services Program | © 2004 NRC Canada.

Note that on J-stor, you can find Variation in Petal Number in the Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis, by Warren P. Spencer © 1944 The University of Chicago Press.

Try the link here, too: (..."War of the Whorls". Literary allusion there for those looking to link science and literature...)

Here is another one: by Richard M. Bateman*, Jason Hilton and Paula J. Rudall.

Also on J-stor, you'll find,, an article on symmetry in early floral development by Shirley C. Tucker.

Try attacking one of the journal articles and "stretch" your reading. Remember, there is no ham done if you only get the gist of these articles when you are just starting out reading them. Remember, too, that science fair winners often use journal articles, and, many scientists read the journals regularly to keep up with new research. Look for, "lab report format," as you read the journal articles if they are experiments. You won't find that format, however, for a review article.

So, in looking at the refereed journal articles, that are peer-reviewed, we still haven't found the reason for 5-petals on some flowers, but, we can see how the different numbers of petals on different types of flowers do develop. We have now been exposed to morphology and development. Hopefully you have enjoyed, "Reach Reading™."

If you have enjoyed it so much, and, would like to do more, is a site that will link 5-fold symmetry in a flower to history and weaponry...and you can begin a whole new tangent.

And here is an article, by Cogălniceanu Gina Carmen, from Romania (Institute of Biology Splaiul Independenţei 296, 060031 Bucharest, Romani, Doi 10.1007/1-4020-3694-9_21) on electrical control in flower development: Enjoy!

Yet, we still haven't gotten to the comparison and contrast of living and non-living symmetries, nor, have we gotten to the reason for five-fold symmetry in some flowers, yet, I hope we have achieved a love for researching and for stretching our brains..... Aha! Here's an article that goes from symmetry in living and non-living to the history of the cosmos...Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, Vol 1, No 1 (2005)

Relational Creativity and the Symmetry of Freedom and Nature PM Rose - 2005

... And, it leads to:
[PDF] Entrepreneurship and Economic Theory [PDF]
E Khalil - MPRA Paper, 2006 - Online at ... [To appear in Michel Weber (ed.) Handbook of Whiteheadian Process Thought. Frankfurt: Verlag, 2007, forthcoming] ... 1. What is the Question? Let us define entrepreneurship as creativity and the evolution of novelty E Khalil - MPRA Paper, 2006 -

Stretch some more! Note we have come back to creative minds...

Author's aside:
"Where we're interested in the way inventive minds work...." (Lienhard)
Hmmm! To me it is interesting how my own inquisitiveness on how Kepler thought and how I think lead to flowers...which lead back to how inventive minds think.

(For your Information...)

Snowflake craft ideas:

(c) 2009 J. S. Shipman

Math Links for Fun!

Snowflakes from Kepler to Bentley...

As we have had several feet of snow recently, I thought you would enjoy the diversion from planets to snowflakes. Here is a post about the ideas Kepler had on snowflakes. I will follow it with a link to Bentley.

More on Kepler

Under development...

Harmonices Mundi by Ioannis Keppleri

Kepler--- On how we arrive at Insights

I am glad that Kepler said this as I have spent some days wondering how Kepler arrived at his ideas. I hope that you enjoy the quote, too.

The roads by which men arrive at their insights into celestial matters seem to me almost as worthy of wonder as those matters in themselves. Accessed 12,27,2009.


Here is a quote I found on Kepler that addresses the point of dealing with routine, dull work...
Calculating tables, the normal business for an astronomer, always involved heavy arithmetic. Kepler was accordingly delighted when in 1616 he came across Napier's work on logarithms (published in 1614). However, Mästlin promptly told him first that it was unseemly for a serious mathematician to rejoice over a mere aid to calculation and second that it was unwise to trust logarithms because no-one understood how they worked. ...Kepler's answer to the second objection was to publish a proof of how logarithms worked, based on an impeccably respectable source: Euclid's Elements Book 5. Kepler calculated tables of eight-figure logarithms, which were published with the Rudolphine Tables (Ulm, 1628). The astronomical tables used not only Tycho's observations, but also Kepler's first two laws. All astronomical tables that made use of new observations were accurate for the first few years after publication. What was remarkable about the Rudolphine Tables was that they proved to be accurate over decades. And as the years mounted up, the continued accuracy of the tables was, naturally, seen as an argument for the correctness of Kepler's laws, and thus for the correctness of the heliocentric astronomy. Kepler's fulfilment of his dull official task as Imperial Mathematician led to the fulfilment of his dearest wish, to help establish Copernicanism. Source: Accessed 12-27-2009.

What do you think about this idea?

A Botany Dictionary from M.DCC.XCIIl.

In looking for works of Kepler, I came across this old botany dictionary and decided to post a link to it here for my botany friends and anyone interested in word used by Linnaeus. It looks like an optical encoder might have copied the text, since the old "esses," look like "f's" in the linked text.



Saturday, December 26, 2009

Getting paid what you are worth in the sciences...

Here is an article on gender equity to use as a common starting point for discussion on this topic.

Remember if you are teaching women and men about science, equal pay for work would be a good topic of discussion.

How would you feel if you were a woman with a doctorate doing a job well and a man with a master's got hired at double your salary, and, he couldn't do the job (and he was not related to the boss)?

How would you feel if you were told you couldn't get a military research position because you were over-age, yet 6 men over-age got hired with less experience than you have?

How would you feel if you were Harvard-educated and had a baby and you got re-structured...out of a job?

How would you feel if you didn't get any pay bonuses for your awards because they got awarded after you had retired (while men get the awards at much younger ages and get bonuses as a result)?

How would you feel if you were a graduate student and you didn't get the job though you were the best candidate because the man in your department (who, by the way does illegal drugs) has a family and, "needs," a job (What, women with families don't need jobs? What about single women, don't they have to eat?)?

These are questions to think about, especially if you are hiring people, because these situations and many more like them are still happening.

How would you feel if you went to the same universities as a man, had better grades, more appropriate work experience and better letters of recommendations, yet, he got the job you both applied for, because he was married and had children? (but, so were you!!!)

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays to All

Whatever ways you and your family celebrate this season full of holidays, may you find yourself richly blessed.

Feel free to add your holiday celebration and traditions.

Hannukah, Christmas, Kwanza, Eid, Festivus, and others...

Have a blessed holiday.

Remember to stay safe, and, have a happy, happy holiday.

Thank you for reading this blog on science education.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009


I am fascinated with how Kepler's mind worked. I am interested in how he thought because I wonder if I can think that way. I think about the math he knew and how he figured things out.

One part of science literacy and science education is figuring out how we, ourselves, think. Understanding math and formulas can help us with science and understanding science.

Learn about Kepler, then, reflect on how you learn. Do you think you have similarities to Kepler? Differences? What do you like that you have learned about Kepler. When you finish your Kepler study, pick another scientist and see how she or he thinks. Have fun learning about your own learning and thinking styles.

Now, here's the first movie:

On Kepler--- in Spanish:



Even though these videos are in different languages, the science speaks to us, I believe. What do you think?

I would like to encourage more international discussion and comments. Please e-mail me in your own language and if possible include an English translation.

Here is a related blog in Italian: from Amedeo Balbi, Dipartimento di Fisica, Università Tor Vergata, Via della Ricerca Scientifica, 1, 00133 Roma (I). Tel: (+39) 06 7259 4717, Fax: (+39) 06 2023 507

Here is a biography of Kepler:
with a Spanish translation:

Monday, December 21, 2009

Urgent Call for Action in the USA on HR 875 and S 425, posted by a reader

Sent: Sun, Dec 20, 2009 12:07 pm
RE: Save Organic Farming

(Save My Backyard Garden!)

Here's a post submitted by Betsy Bragg at Optimum Health Solution and her colleague, Elizabeth. (highlights added)
Subject: Fwd: Save Organic Farming (Save My Backyard Garden!)

-----Original Message-----
From: Elizabeth
To: You the reader
Sent: Sat, Dec 19, 2009 8:46 pm ...

I am sending this to folks I know who love to garden and care about our food supply. Please check this out it is just unbelievable. I sent emails to both my senators asking them to vote against this bill. Check it out and perhaps do the same. Send it on to everyone you know!


Protect your food supply: ACT NOW.

Subject: Save Organic Farming (Save My Backyard Garden!)

Against the Organic Farming Ban
Please tell everyone who wants organic foods.....
US House and Senate are about (in a week and a half) to
vote on bill that will OUTLAW ORGANIC FARMING (bill HR 875).
There is an enormous rush to get this into law within the
next 2 weeks before people realize what is happening.

Main backer and lobbyist is Monsanto – chemical and genetic engineering giant corporation (and Cargill, ADM, and about 35 other related agri-giants).
This bill will require
organic farms to use specific fertilizers
and poisonous insect sprays dictated by the
newly formed agency to "make sure there is no danger [read between the lines...think critically] to
the public food supply".
This will include backyard
> gardens that grow food only for a family and not for sales.
If this passes then NO more heirloom clean seeds but only Monsanto genetically altered seeds that are now showing up with unexpected diseases in humans.
> There is a video on the subject.
> And another one:

> The name on this outrageous food plan is:
  • Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009 (bill HR 875).
  • Get on that phone and burn up the wires.
  • Get anyone else you can to do the same thing.

  • The House and Senate WILL pass this if they are not massively threatened with loss of their position.... They only fear your voice and your vote.
> all you have to do is put in your zip and it will give you
> your congressperson and how to get in touch with them. When
> you call their office someone will answer the phone, just
> tell them (politely) that you are calling to express your
> views on HR 875.
> Tell them your views, they'll take your name and
> address and pass your comments along to the congressperson.
> The following link is a list of the U.S. senators and their
> contact info:
(read less)
Privacy type:
Open: All content is public.

Edit...One concerned individual has included these links for you:
Follow up on HR875 and S425. Thanks to Amy31415 and Vortexvibration - passed on info that the sponsor of the bill is Rosa Delauro who is married to Stan Greenburg a political strategist who works for Monsanto. Please see links to vids on Monsanto
for more in depth info please see
From StarrJaded
I fyou are having trouble with the links please search youtube under their names
track the bill: lll-875
want to work on an organic farm?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Facts and Critical Thinking in Science/Scientific Literacy

Maienschein, Ingrid Burger, Reza Enshaie, Marie Glitz, Kate Kevern, Brent Maddin , Mark Rivera, Diana Rutkowsky, have written on two ideas on science literacy and scientific literacy.

Physics Lecture

Paul Dirac:

Strange Genius: The Life and Times of Paul Dirac

Page under development...meanwhile, you can listen to the lecture.

Compare and contrast the following sources on Paul Dirac. How can you organize your thoughts on these different information sources? Would a table help? How about an idea map for each one? What is the best way for you to organize the information so you can compare and contrast iy?

L ead science literacy and science education group in your area

Interested in leading science literacy and science education for your school, your community, local area, region, country, or continent? Please contact Dr. J at shipmanjs(at)

What's involved?
  1. Let others know about
  2. Submit posts and/or encourage others to submit posts at this site (E-mail to Dr.J to post). Also, create and post a sub-group here:
  3. If you would like to, you can arrange for a workshop on higher order thinking skills in science education, or other workshops for your own local group (for a fee). Contact Dr. J for details. Specify workshop/ subject area of interest. Example: click here.
  4. Benefactors are needed so that these workshops can reach schools that otherwise could not afford them...air fare forpeople leading the workshop, scholarships for attendees, training materials for teachers, workbooks and supplies. If you are interested in being a sponsor, contact Dr. J or your local or community school.
  5. This local or regional or national or continental science literacy and science education leader is a volunteer position unless we can come up with sponsors.

A View of Copenhagen from the Center for Biological Diversity...

Voice from Malawi:

Voice from Kenya:

Voice from Cameroon:

Voice from Canada:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Science Literacy News

What did we see?

Kecksburg UFO incident

Science literacy involves finding facts in what you read. It involves inference...reading between the lines.

Today's left sidebar talked about the Kecksburg UFO incident.

Around that same time, in New York State, there were many, "UFO," citings that people saw and reported. At that time, the reports brushed them off. My mother saw some and called us out (so there were 5 of us watching). Big orange and green balls of light and a silver disc. She went in and called the local radio station, WALL. The radio man was acting like my mom was crazy, so, my dad got on the phone,"Look out the window." The radio announcer's mouth must have dropped open. All you could hear was a gasp and silence for several minutes. When he came around, he apologized to my mother.

Shortly thereafter, the government reports came out saying, essentially, no one saw anything. "Yeah, right!"

How should we evaluate what we read? Having these experiences surely would make one skeptical of the reports. Still, what would you believe?

Science literacy involves fact gathering and a knowledge base so you can form opinions based on what you read and have a place to latch onto the new ideas in your brain.

Here is a video to start one thinking, but, you need to search more.

And another...

More ideas:
  1. Project-1947 - 1909 UFO Report
    "People of Middletown ..."

  2. Pine Bush, NY 12566 UFO's in Pine Bush? - 349 Sarah Wells Trail: Goshen, NY 10924 ... 547 Rte 17M: Middletown, NY 10940: 845-344-1480

Monday, December 7, 2009

Today(12-07-09)'s quote of the day is by Jules Verne

Science, my lad, is made up of mistakes, but they are mistakes which it is useful to make, because they lead little by little to the truth.

"Jules Verne (1828-1905)
Source:,+Jules. Accessed December 7, 2009.

Science literacy is enhanced when we understand Verne's quote, and, when we enjoy reading science and science fiction.

Among more than 50 books written by Jules Verne, originally in French, there are popular English translations:
  • Five Weeks in a Balloon (1863),
  • A Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864),
  • From the Earth to the Moon (1865),
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea (1870),
  • Around the World in Eighty Days (1873),
  • The Mysterious Island (1875), and
  • Michael Strogoff (1876).

Students might like to read some of Jules Verne's books and then look at the developments in science that he appeared to envision long before they arrived.

Perhaps students would like to try to write a science fiction story. Ask students if they think a good science fiction writer needs to know science. Find a science fiction tutorial by Jeffrey A. Carver, a science fiction writer (who offers the course as a public service to aspiring writers) on-line at:

ProQuest: Portal to dissertations

"For information sources that propel research," according to the ProQuest site...

Friday, December 4, 2009

Sectioning the Brain: A Memorial to Patient, "H.M."

As best he could remember, Henry Gustav Molaison never visited San Diego, spending his entire life on the East Coast. When he died late last year at the age of 82, Molaison was a man almost entirely unknown except by his initials H.M. and the fact that experimental brain surgery had erased his ability to form new memories.

Read more and see a photo of young Henry: click here. Source: H.M. recollected: Famous amnesic launches a bold, new brain project at UCSD, UNION-TRIBUNE STAFF WRITER.Monday, November 30, 2009 at 12:04 a.m. Accessed December 4, 2009.

Click a link to see the microtome sectioning the brain:


Because many viewers are watching the sectioning as it progresses, anyone taking a break or not watching is asked to close the link until they come back to watch again.

"To become a sponsor of patient H.M.’s giant histological glass slides, send your check to: The Brain Observatory, 3510 Dunhill Street, San Diego, CA 92121 Or make your generous donation by following this link: *Donate*"

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December viewers' Birthdays...

Happy Birthday and Many Happy Returns:

  • Joan
  • Stan
  • Rose
Thank you for helping increase science literacy and improve science education.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Flowering Plants with Enclosed Seeds: Angiosperms

Structure and Function

One question arises on the wind pollination... Did it get confused with seed dispersal? See the films below for more ideas.

पत्तियां-फूल संयंत्रों के साथ संलग्न बीज: angiosperms ढांचे और कार्य

Science Literacy depends on Equal Literacy for All

"One of the most important aspects required in participatory government is literacy and not just the literacy of the men, but the women as well. A literate woman will have literate sons and daughters, whereas a literate man might not be as concerned with this. In traditional societies, men often specifically bar women from school precisely because they want no interference with their control over them." Read more.
Source: Date accessed: November 24, 2009.

Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education--Thank you, World Leaders,

In a story by Chloe Albanesius you'll find, "President Obama on Monday unveiled a campaign intended to promote science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) education among children – an effort that includes about $260 million in financial support from companies like Time Warner Cable, Discovery Communications, Sony, and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation"
Accessed November 22, 2009.

Thank you, President Obama.

All other World leaders encouraging, "STEM," are thanked, too.

Readers, please submit what your leaders are doing regarding science literacy and science education (e-mail me and I will post your message).

Dr. J

Monday, November 23, 2009

Engineering: Women and Girls

"Engineering, like many rewarding careers, requires a college degree. To make the most of your future, you'll need a well-rounded education that includes lots of math and science, along with communications, history, literature, and the arts."

Source: Accessed Nov. 22, 2009.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Make a Plant Video---Enter this contest: Chlorofilms

Deadline: 10 January 2010;
Enter early---> by 16 Dec 2009 for a
chance to win an iPod Touch

What is Chlorofilms? A competition for new videos illustrating the remarkable aspects of plant life. Get details at:

Actor and psychiatrist Mohan Agashe commented: "...cinema could be used for education, as it combined the audio-visual media. It had a mass reach when compared to literacy through the written word." Source: Accessed Nov. 21, 2009.

We're ready for your entry!!!


Rules and Prize Information:

Access to theses in Japanese and French is the link for
version française rss feed
Le serveur TEL (thèses-en-ligne)

Portal to the Colorado State Library --- One place to find journal srticles

Science leading to Literacy

Here are two quotes from an article on literacy that show what character-based learning is and how science books influenced one student and changed his life.:

Character based learning is learning in which students are improving their reasoning skills, increasing their knowledge, and enlarging their moral understanding-all at the same time. Source: Accessed November 21, 2009.

[...] Ben Carson, a boy who discovered a new interest. You can read Ben’s story in a book titled[,] Gifted Hands. It is a book about a boy who in his early years of schooling mostly received D’s and F’s on his report card, but when once his interest was fired, went on to become a prominent neurosurgeon. The person who turned his life around was his mother. She believed he could do much better so she turned off the TV set and told him that he could only watch two TV programs a week and that he had to read at least two books a week. He was obedient, if not happy with the rule, but soon found he had an interest in science books. This interest became the basis for his rise from an F student to an A student, and eventually made it possible for him to become one of the foremost surgeon’s in his field. For Ben, what began with little curiosity about a science book led to an eminent career as a brain surgeon.
Source: Accessed November 21, 2009.

Notice that in the paragraph on Ben Carson, it was a parent that turned his life around. The role of parents in education is critical and sometimes doesn't get enough attention (at least not in the newspaper stories that seem to blame teachers when students do poorly...). Parents are encouraged to use their judgement in encouraging their children to learn science.

To read more from the above referenced article, click here.

Using Wiki to find National Parks-Searching as Part of Science Literacy

Finding information is a part of literacy. In science literacy, we have searched for journal articles before, but, today I did a search for myself that I turned into the blog post. I learned from doing this search and thought you would enjoy my journey, perhaps finding a new path for your own searches.

Searching for Kabarega National Park on Google came up with a map, but, not much information. There was a link to Wiki, however, so I took it. Still, I didn't come up with much. So in Wiki, I went to request information and was directed to a page to choose a topic. The closest was, "biology." Under, "biology," I selected, "conservation."

There, I found, "National Parks by Country."

I continued my search for Ugandan parks, and I will post what I found. You can look, however, for parks in the country of your interest.

One of the links mentions the Uganda Wildlife Authority, which controls the parks and its website ( additional information.

Clicking on the National Parks of Uganda, however, I did not locate, "Kabarega National Park." So, it is possible for me to go back in to Wiki and ask for someone knowing about that park to post an article. Of course, people may also submit comments or send an e-mail to post an article here, too.

Now, you can try to find some national parks. Pick a geographic location of interest to you. Select a country here: Then, try finding a list of national parks in that country. I'll go through what I found for another country, then, let you check out some on your own. Adults may post their or their children's experiences with this exercise.

In Bolivia, for example, we find the following:
Have fun with this exercise, plan travels, or find e-mail friends or pen friends or penpals. Learn about natural science in the region and share information on your country's natural science.

Post script: Another reference on national parks that I came across during my search today is ParksWatch an organization that fosters biological diversity through park systems. You might like to check out what this group does.

Dr. J

What is Economic Botany?

"What is Economic Botany?"

"Simply put, Economic Botany is the interaction of people with plants. The word is based on two Greek roots ethnos (race: people: cultural group) and botanikos (of herbs) and can mean the plant lore of a race or people as well as the study of that lore." Source: Accessed 23 November 09. Read more.

If you are interested in a children's (ages 5-10) economic botany lesson plan and book for students, let me know via e-mail or the call me button below.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Science in the News: Down Syndrome Research

"Drugs that target the noradrenaline system have already been developed for depression and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

"The researchers say their work suggests they might also help people with Down's syndrome."

Researchers include:
Dr Ahmad Salehi, lead researcher
Dr Melanie Manning

Read more here:

Scotland uses Data to Enhance Science Literacy

"In the recent Trends in International Maths and Science Survey report, Scotland fared far worse in science than many western nations – at P5 level, only 51 per cent of pupils had teachers who considered themselves very well prepared to teach science. Prof Paterson said: 'This [consideration] is especially important because, with Curriculum for Excellence, they are being expected to lead the development of the curriculum.'" Read more...
Source: Fiona MacLeod. Accessed: 11-21-09.

But, wait... Some things are well done:

It is following current research trends and is so modern to use data to inform teaching. Scotland is headed in a very positive direction by using survey results to steer their teacher training. We can expect to see Scotland moving ahead in, "Maths and Sciences," very soon. Congratulations, teachers. I invite you to join this International cite , together with teachers from all over the world. We can all improve our science literacy through better science and math teacher training. Thank you for leading the way using data.

Friday, November 20, 2009

BOTANY 2010 - Providence, Rhode Island July 31 - August 4

BOTANY 2010 -
People interested in plants, Researchers-
Come to Providence!
-Providence, Rhode Island July 31 - August 4

There will be a joint meeting with the:
  • American Bryological & Lichenological Society (ABLS),
  • American Fern Society (AFS),
  • American Society of Plant Taxonomists (ASPT), and
  • Botanical Society of America (BSA).
Go to for information.
  • Special rates for teachers.
  • Sign up for free HOT Skills (higher order thinking skills) Workshop with, "Dr. J"

Building Science Vocabulary

International Appeal. Join in! Anyone who loves plants, take a look and join!!! Botany without Borders from BSA: See for more detail

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Louisville Science Center Discussions on Health Care

You are invited to use your
science literacy skills every day.

Here, the Louisville community is using
science literacy skills to inform
public policy making:

Scientific Proofs: Local Perspectives on
Health Care Reform

Thursday, November 19, 6 to 8 p.m.

  • First in a series of after-hours, informal dialogue around
    timely science topics.
  • On health care aims
  • Offers a variety of perspectives on national health care
  • Deepens the understanding of the issues as they relate
    to use
  • Guided by audience questions
  • Facilitated by Dr. Adewale Troutman
    Science Center Board Member and Director of Public
    Health for Louisville Metro Government.

Science Literacy a Priority in Jamaica, West Indies.

"'Each kid's programme is set out for them and they cannot pass that level unless they master it,' he said, noting that 30 students have already reached the appropriate grade level, which shows the success of the programme...[...]...[Peralto]... told the Sunday Observer that he has written to the College of Agriculture, Science and Education (CASE) requesting that some of its courses be taught at the Annotto Bay High school." Tarn Peralto.
; Accessed 15 Nov 2009.

Teacher Training on, "Green," Jobs


Green Jobs for 4-states future

Updated: Nov 12, 2009 04:59 PM By ELIZABETH MATTHEWS

"A conference focused on green technology is turning teachers into
students. The annual Four State Regional Technology Conference
is beginning at Pittsburg State University and runs through Friday.
The two day event educates teachers on the latest in sustainability
and how to teach green initiatives." Read more.

Source:; Accessed 15 November 2009.

Even more information is found here: (Program)

Environmental Conflict Resolution Programs

Morris K. Udall Morris K. Udall Foundation

"The Udall Foundation was the fourth American educational foundation established by the United States Congress."

For your information, the other federal foundations include:

These foundations grant college scholarships and fellowships and conduct the Native American Congressional Internship program each summer in Washington, DC.

Source:; Accessed 15 November 2009.

Women's Leadership Scholarships and Other Resources

Are you a science leader and a woman? Do you want to lead the way to environmental solutions? Here are 2 quotes from Women Leadership Scholarship (WLS) and a link to Women's Leadership Scholarship's portal (click here) and to other resources. There are even more resources, some for both men and women, at the WLS site.

First quote;

The following information on scholarships, trainings and educational programs is designed to be a helpful resource to prospective applicants. The listing of these resources is for informational purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement in whole or in part from the WLS or the Channel Foundation. In addition, neither the WLS nor the Channel Foundation is responsible for the accuracy of the information provided on these links.

Resources for Individuals from the Global South
Resources for Women only
Resources for American Indian/Native Americans
Resources for Foreigners Studying in the U.S.
Resources for Foreigners Studying in the UK
Resources for U.S. Citizens and Residents
Resources for Human Rights Scholarships & Fellowships
Resources for Public Health Scholarships & Fellowships
Resources for Human Rights Education & Training
Miscellaneous Scholarship & Fellowship resources

Second quote:

Scholarships-The WLS Selection Committee awards four to eight scholarships per year, up to US$25,000 per academic year for a maximum of two years. The awards help the recipients meet the costs of tuition, fees, books, educational supplies, housing, maintenance, and travel to and from the home country and the educational institution. WLS awards are paid directly to the institution in a student's account. For foreign women intending to study at U.S. universities, WLS funding for expenses other than tuition and books is subject to a 14% U.S. tax.

Source:; Accessed 15 November 2009.

Eggs and Engaging Students in Sciences like Physics and Biology and Chemistry...

Here's a quote from a physics link on the, "Science of Boiling an Egg."

This document is an introduction to of some of the science relevant to preparing boiled eggs. It has evolved from a letter published in the Last Word section of New Scientist magazine (04-April-98) which answered a question by Chris Finn, who asked 'Does anybody have a formula to calculate the boiling time for a soft-boiled egg, given its weight and initial temperature?'.

; Accessed 15 Nov 2009.

Additional reading at:

Philanthropists fight Global Warming is a link to guidelines for philanthropists desiring to fight global warming.

There are ideas in the document found at the link that you might incorporate into grant proposals, as these are points that philanthropists have been guided to f und.

Here's a link to a foundation sponsoring research awards in neuroscience.

Lights, Camera, Action Potential: Neuroscience for Kids! (Portal)

The above link includes links to games and other sites. For example, here is a word search link included on it:

You can also get to more topics here:

Ion Channels and Resting Potential in Neurons: A Tutorial

Review how ion channels are responsible for a voltage difference across the cell membrane or plasmalemma:.

Create a tool for studying the ideas presented in this tutorial. You can choose a method that you think will help you best retain the information (Different students might choose different methods.) Some ideas are:
  • Create a song
  • Do a drawing
  • Write a memory aid, a mnemonic device
  • Create a game
  • Choreograph a dance about voltage difference across cell membranes
  • Write an essay where you explain in your own words the concept of resting potentials in neurons
  • Create a tabbed booklet where each page is a bit longer than the previous page. Use each page to explain a different concept about resting potential. Label each tab to describe the step.
Think about how you learn:
In the tutorial, there was a step-through method and an animation. Did you use both methods? If not, try the one you didn't use. Now think about which method of tutorial helped you learn more. Why did you choose one method over the other? How can that help you learn other topics?

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Mitochondrial Membrane Potential

The mitochondrial respiratory chain produces energy which is stored as an electrochemical gradient which consists of a transmembrane electrical potential, negative inside of about 180-200 mV, and a proton gradient of about 1 unit; this energy is then able to drive the synthesis of ATP, a crucial molecule for a consistent variety of intracellular processes.

Source:, Accessed 11-14-09.