The Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship is a paid fellowship for K-12 math, science, and technology teachers. Einstein Fellows spend a school year in Washington, DC serving in a federal agency or on Capitol Hill. To be considered for an Einstein Fellowship for the 2010-2011 school year, apply and submit three letters of recommendation online by January 13, 2010. Source: http://www.vast.org/; Accessed 10-31-09
Saturday, October 31, 2009
A sample program page---
Learn how we use the physics of music to derive information about the early universe from the signal strength of the Cosmic Microwave Background at different frequencies.
Join the science teacher webinar...
Table of Contents for NSTA Week of October 26, 2009
I thought some readers might be interested in this patent:
CHR is awarded DHEA patent
Our Medical Director, Norbert Gleicher, MD, and our Clinical Director, David Barad, MD, MS, were recently awarded an important patent in the use of dehyeroepiandrosterone (DHEA) in the treatment of infertility.
I haven't reviewed the treatment and I am not a medical doctor, so, anyone interested in this topic for medical reasons would have to consult a health professional.
However, it provides a popular topic for further literature research, and, is an example of going from advertisements or press releases to journal articles. Some students might be hooked into a lifelong passion in science because they get started reading the technical literature. While this topic might not be one for young people, the website is geared to adults and can illustrate the way one might go about finding more information. It also shows the use of a science skill in library research could help keep people current as they go through life. Students should pick topics of interest to them, and go from there. If one is interested in trains, one might link train travel to the spread of disease, or, to invasive species, or to engineering...to whatever captures the students interest. But, now, back to the example of the DHEA for old ovaries...
One could start with news articles. Here is an example: http://nymag.com/nymetro/health/features/2163/.
Or, one could start with a patent search,
or, with the name of of the doctors or DHEA, related journal articles.
If the topic is of interest to you, try to see what you can find.
Friday, October 30, 2009
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
Here is a quote from the Teaneck Creek Conservancy that I believe Read-about-it: International Science Literacy and Science Education readers will enjoy because it shows people taking action to preserve the environment.
Weed Warriors: Work alone or in a group and help the Conservancy maintain a invasive-free buffer zone on either side of its trails. Groups meet and work together on Wednesdays and Sunday mornings.
Source: http://www.teaneckcreek.blogspot.com/ [Note: There are nice photographs on the Teaneck Creek Conservancy's blog.}
Fight invasive species.
Enjoy the biology of the region.
What are you doing to give back to the environment? What parks and conservancies in your area need volunteers to fight invasive species among other tasks?
Please share your experiences at this conservancy and/or at parks and conservancies near you.
Monday, October 26, 2009
A Post sent in by Science A-Z (This is not paid advertising and I have not evaluated the product. If you have, please post comments.)
At ScienceA-Z.com, we're always looking for ways to make
As always, please share news and information by
All the best,
Elizabeth Barden Ackerman
P.S. Please take time before school to sign up for a free webinar
1840 E River Rd Suite 320
Tucson, Arizona 85718
Please add your comments if you are familiar with Science A-Z.
I haven't evaluated it yet. Dr. J
"The Easy Way 101 ( CRN: 10023 )
- "Only those big, stupid countries invest tons of money into biotechnology. We'll show you how to take their technology and sell it back to them. Ever received an email for Viagra or Propecia? It most likely came from one of our graduates. "
- Here's the link information:
As you read the course descriptions, you'll realize that these courses are teaching people hoaxes and scams. Please, watch out!
Other courses they offer are similar to this one:
"Texan Hickbilly Business Strategies 302 ( CRN: 95834 )
- "We got a lot of them coming and going. With the price of oil and gasoline soaring in the United States, we now have more Texan oil diggers coming to Abuja than Texas has living in their own state. Once viewed as a threat to our economy and ways, we can now teach how to harness your energies to overpower these overweight Texan millionaires. From the classic gang jump to other less obvious tactics, you will quickly learn how to maintain a competitive advantage over these folks."
Here is another item they post:
"I never realized how easy it is to make money while sitting behind a computer and fax machine. You people were right on the money! Every day I sent between 10 to 50 million emails asking for people to help me transfer funds into their accounts so that one day I can live a happy and cheerful life like them. When they respond, I use my special training that I learned from University of Nigeria to make around $10,000 to $30,000 off each person willing to help. Good thing those British and Americans don't know about this business opportunity yet. I am ranking in the cash thanks to the University of Nigeria. Thanks again for such a wonderful program."We all know we have to be careful on the web, and with junk mail. I hope these quotes from the listed website show you why. Please note there are good and bad people everywhere. Watch out for the tricksters.
Meanwhile, I have serious readers from Nigeria interested in learning botany.
Recent questions I have received from readers include:
What are careers in botany?
A good link for the answer to this is the Botanical Society of America. There are other sites as well. If you know one, please add it to the comments. I encourage people interested in botany careers to contact me directly. Careers in Botany- Links set
Do botanists need to know physics?
My answer to this is, "Yes," but, I think every one needs to know some physics. My own research uses physics to study movement of ions across plant cell membranes. But, even riding a bicycle, or, lifting a box, requires physics knowledge. So, I ask, what is the reason for the question? Is the asker afraid of physics, or the math needed? Does the asker like both plants and physics and wants to combine them? I am curious now.
What should I get [for] children interested in botany?
Ah! Wonderful! People who are interested in science as children often go on in science or engineering , or, at least have a major appreciation for science if they go on in other fields. I like this question.
What to get depends on the interest, age and ability of the child(ren). Non-toxic plants, garden seeds and tools, or flower pots, a hand lens, a book (I'll come back and edit the post after scanning for some books for different age groups), a trip to visit a botanic garden, an hour on Plants Cafe every week (with you: See top left hand column of this blog), a trip to a green house, a visit to a botanist, agricultural engineer, herbalist, forester (USDA), mycologist, algologist, and/or lichenologist, among others, a plant press, a visit to a college botany lab. If desired, call me (link below for calls from the USA) and I will try to customize the answer (as long as I don't get swamped---If I get swamped, I'll put together some kits and make them available.)
Some thins are available at home already...for example, if a child is interested in plant pigments, you could use coffee filters and water soluble markers and do a chromatography study. Then, show how to do the same with plant pigments. Then, review the history of chromatography which started with a botanist. Then... show how other fields use the tool developed by a botanist. I may have to post on this later as I am just giving an overview here.
Brownian motion is another discovery by a botanist. Some of Einstein's work is based on that botany research.
All readers are welcome to add ideas in the comment section or e-mail me a post to put up.
Today information is readily available. But, how does a student evaluate the literature available? "Hype" and sales pitches are easy to read, but, do they provide accurate information? Some do. Some do not. How do you know?
There is much controversy over human chorionic gonadotropin, better known to the general public as HCG. How can we use science literacy skills to evaluate this compound? If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know we typically start with general information and progress through Reach Reading TM to the refereed journal articles, which are peer reviewed.
Obesity is a problem. HCG is a product touted to contribute to lasting weight loss(Here's one website, but, there are many: http://www.yourhcg.com). Is that a factual concept? We know money is made from people trying various products or surgery to lose weight. How can one use science literacy to determine which information to believe? I am not saying use this example, HCG, for students. Pick something of interest to them. For example, if they have a pet cat, they might be interested in pet food advertisements and research that has been done on pet nutrition.
Do a search engine search for HCG (or a student- or teacher- selected topic). Pick a few articles. Evaluate them. How difficult is the vocabulary? Are the claims backed up with fact? Take some notes on points that interest you and remember to note the information to site the sources (left hand column of the blog has some style manual links if you need assistance with that).
Now, using some words or phrases that you find in the general literature to help you find information in the technical literature...the laboratory reports. Remember. the laboratory reports follow a format that is international in nature and are peer-reviewed (evaluated by other scientists in the same field):
- Introduction (background information, and hypothesis to be tested),
- Materials and Methods (procedures)
- Results (data)
- Discussion and Conclusions (discussion of the data, suggested public policy, suggested future experiments and requests for funding...)
- Literature Cited (gives complete source information)
These "laboratory reports" will be easy to recognize if you follow the same format for your own classroom laboratory experiments (granted, simplified as per student ability).
Here are some examples of peer-reviewed ("refereed") journal articles on HCG:
1. Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (HCG) in the Treatment of Obesity: A Critical Assessment of the Simeons Method by Frank L. Greenway, MD and George A. Bray, MD. West J Med. 1977 December. Vol. 127. No. 6. Pp. 461-463. PMCID:PMC1237915 http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/ pmc/articles/PMC1237915/
2. Effect of human chorionic gonadotrophin on weight loss, hunger, and feeling of well-being by W. L. Asher M.D.1 and Harold W. Harper M.D.1 From the American Society of Bariatric Physicians Research Council,
These two articles have opposing conclusions, so, to formulate my own opinion on this topic, I would have to find more research. Knowing myself, I'd probably do an exhaustive search. The idea is not for students to take my opinion, nor for them to take their teacher's opinion, but, rather for them to learn to form their own opinions and be able to back those opinions up with information from refereed journals.
Check who paid for the research. Does the article support or attack or remain neutral on the points of interest to you? Were the research methods sound? (This type of analysis must be done at the students level...but even pre-school children get the concept of control versus experimental, even if they may not know all the vocabulary.) Is the vocabulary tougher? If we want to know something, we learn the vocabulary. (I have seen students in elementary and high school science classes use the refereed journal articles and stay much more engaged in science class as a result. But, even if the articles are too hard to read, the students get the idea that research exists and if they have a need to know, they will find and learn to read the articles. Students have come back years later to thank me for introducing them to the journal articles. Two more notes: 1- Journal articles exist in all fields...in case you are an artist, or a history buff... 2- People that win the national science fairs typically read a few refereed journal articles.)
Sometimes you might come across related articles that are a bit off topic, yet peek interest in further study, such as research ...
on HCG and breast cancer risk (or lack of risk).
http://cebp.aacrjournals.org/content/4/5/437.full.pdf; Accessed 10-26-09.
Find some refereed research articles on your selected topic(s).
Plan to write a persuasive essay based on your findings.
Edit, Nov. 4, 2009:
Not convinced that refereed journal article reading is an important part of science literacy?
Want one parent's viewpoint on reading journal articles, which concurrently explains basic biology and genetic engineering? Try reading The Unhealthy Truth: How our Food is making us Sick and What We can do about It, by Robyn O'Brien [and] Rachel Kranz (Broadway Books (Random House), New York. 2009). Read more.
(c)2009 J S Shipman All rights reserved. Portions (c)1985-2009 J S Shipman. Used with permission of the author.
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Note: "Nuts," are only identified as, "nuts," rather than as a specific type of nut.
Remember, math provides an important tool for science. Science literacy needs scientists that can read mathematical equations and use them to analyze data and solve global problems. While the above tutorial is geared to older students, I want to share my own experience as a 9 year old studying the same material. Perhaps your students would like to learn this math.
As an elementary school child, my classmates and I had set theory in 4th grade (age 9). Here, the tutorial is a preparation for graduate students. The fourth graders in my class understood set theory enough to do related set theory problems. That elementary school preparation was a big help in writing technical manuals for an engineering company that made wave and tide recorders that helped prevent deaths from tsunamis. When I studied this math as a nine year old in, "modern math," I didn't know it would save so many lives. When I hear people knocking, "Modern Math," I think they don't know what they mean. When I compare myself to others my age that did not have, "Modern Math," it sometimes appears they just don't keep up as well on computers and other new technologies. (That hypothesis might warrant a research study.)
Here is a commentary on set theory as relates to my own experience with, "Modern Math," and a thank you to my teachers. Perhaps we don't convert among bases regularly, nor use set theory every day, as we learned in Modern Math (Thank you, Mrs. Degnan!!!), but our brains understand the underlying concepts of how computers, and, wave and tide recorders, among many other devices of today and of the future.
I, for one, was greatly helped by, "Modern Math." I will add that I had to teach myself to do the base 10 multiplication tables faster. When I took, "Teaching Algebra," at Harvard, Dr. Boller could follow exactly how my brain "thought math." (Thank you, Dr. John Boller. You also taught me how all the different types of math are interrelated.) The graduate student that graded papers, however, struggled to follow the kind of thinking that, Mrs Degnan taught us in, "Modern Math." I think he would have benefited from such study. He was excellent in math, though, and also taught us how he did the math.
I am happy that the wave and tide recorders, produced by Sea Data Corporation (now defunct) saved lives, and glad that I was able to write the manual to using the instruments from only the schematic because of my "Modern Math" classes. Thank you Mrs. Degnan, you saved lives and taught us well!
You and your student can decide if this math is for your student at this point in time. But, as for me, I loved it as a child.
More mathematics information for your benefit
Advanced notice for pi day March, 14th: How will you celebrate?
Magic Math link: http://library.thinkquest.org/27103/eng/home.htm
"Web site "Set Theory" offers educational tools and resources to help you learn fundaments of mathematics. You can take full advantage of the "Internet style of learning." http://library.thinkquest.org/C0126820/start.html
María J. Frápolli, 1991, "Is Cantorian set theory an iterative conception of set?". Modern Logic, v. 1 n. 4, 1991, 302–318.
Across the country people are beginning to realize that children need to have deep and meaningful experiences with the natural world while they are growing up. Without these experiences, children will miss a dimension of happiness; may find no real relief from the stresses of civilization; and most importantly, may not realize that there is any natural world that needs to be protected.
Here is a portal to an Oklahoma botanist .
Here are some of his books:
Encyclopedia of Science and Technology
Encyclopedia of Biodiversity
- Plant anatomy and development;
- Root apical meristems;
- Structural adaptations of plants to wetland habitats,
- especially, invasive versus native plants;
- Trees and shrubs of Oswego, NY;
- The roles of research in undergraduate classes and programs;
- Fostering future botanists and mentoring junior researchers.
Plant Kingdom; Plants and Society; Environmental and Population Biology; Evolution; Trees and Shrubs; Research in Plant Development, among others, including but not limited to, Botany Seminar
- 2004 Merit Award of the Botanical Society of America for Outstanding Contributions to the Botanical Sciences: Source: www.botany.org/awards_grants/detail/bsamerit.php#04
- 2006 Centennial Award of the Botanical Society of America in Honor of Exemplary Service to the Plant Sciences. Source: www.botany.org/awards_grants/detail/centennial.php
Saturday, October 24, 2009
But, how else? Well, scientists write laboratory reports in the technical, refereed journals. These journals are peer-reviewed, but, good spelling helps. So, here is a link to a spelling contest for those 14 and over. Have fun with it.
“Things don’t just happen to one species in isolation,” notes Frazier. “People are beginning to look at bees and their decline as an example of what we are doing to our environment. To some degree, the honey bees could be seen as an indicator species telling us what’s out there and what pollinators are being exposed to, as well as being a potential canary in the coal mine, if you will.” Source: http://www.physorg.com/news145721503.html, Accessed 10-24-09.
In science education, part of the teacher's role is to convey that all hope is not lost. One person can make a difference. In fact, a science educator can influence several students that then use science to resolve problems. Each person can spread hope. Then, when we have hope, confidence that we have the knowledge, we can tackle and resolve problems. That's it. That's the message for today: Even if we have seemingly unsolvable problems, we have the hope that we can resolve them through science education and confidence that we can.
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
- GLOBE is Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment.
- It is a worldwide hands-on, primary and secondary school-based science and education program.
- GLOBE's vision promotes and supports students, teachers and scientists.
- Students, teachers and scientists collaborate on inquiry-based investigations of the environment and the Earth system.
- Students. teachers, and scientists of GLOBE are working in close partnership with NASA and NSF Earth System Science Projects (ESSPs) in study and research about the dynamics of Earth's environment.
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