Thursday, August 30, 2012

In the news...sugar molecule

"Molecule Spotted Near Sun-Like Star

"For the first time, astronomers have discovered sugar—one of the building blocks of life—in a gas cloud near a star. The simple molecule, calledglycolaldehyde, is essential to the formation ofribonucleic acid(RNA), which is present in all living cells. The 10,000-year-old star, known as IRAS 16293-2422, is similar to the Sun and is approximately 400 light-years from Earth. Scientists believe the glycolaldehyde may have been formed as a result of the star's radiation hitting even simpler molecules.More ... Discuss"  Source:  Left hand column for today.  Source:  In the News provided byThe Free Dictionary, accessed 30 Aug 2012

So, what can you say about today's news?  
Can you find journal articles about this topic?  Try to find some.  Here's one:

Deuterated glycoaldehyde: laboratory measurements, analysis and proposed astrophysical research

Find Similar Articles   

Source:, accessed 14 Sept 2012.

Value Systems and Science: Khan Academy and Your Essay

Evolution, natural selection...Do these ideas fit your values?  Have you researched them or blindly repeated what you've heard said?  Data are truth.  Many religions seek truth.  Have you thought about truth?  Science and religion share that they are about truth-seeking.  Some students get excited about science when they study it from the point of their own value systems.

First have students jot down ideas for an essay on evolution from any perspective that they would like.  They can make a map of their ideas, or, use an outline, chart, picture, or list.  Let them use any way they would like to form a presentation of their ideas.

Next, have them put an opinion or feeling they would like to share.  They can circle this or put a box around it...Use some way to keep their sentiment or point in focus.

Set these items aside.

Now, here is a video to watch:

Have the students watch the video.  They may take notes.  They don't have to take notes.  They may use any format for the note-taking they desire if they do take notes.

Have them jot down the major points of the film and then box their feeling or opinion about the film they would like to share.

Have students then take some time even a week or two to write a comparison and contrast essay between their initial ideas and the ideas presented in the video.  Have them add information from 5 other sources of their choosing, religious books, newspaper articles, texts or story books, or, even and hopefully at least one journal article...  Be sure to have them cite the sources.  (They can use a style manual for that.  The librarian can help you find one or you can find some on line.  I suggest using a science one or one for publishing articles in a magazine.)

The purpose of this essay will be for the students to examine science from their own value systems as they are.  The work should not be steered by any adult or voice.  Let the student think deeply.  Let them know that this is where they are now in their thinking and their is no "wrong-ness" in thinking their own thoughts.  Explain that throughout life we use our value systems whether cultural, religious or other, to influence how we think and what we think about topics.  If they were writing this essay in 5 years, their views might be different because of their life experiences, their learning, and their deepening of personal views.  Let them know that periodically re-examining where they stand on issues is a good thing.  Stagnation is not a good thing, on the other hand.
Let the students have fun exploring their values and how they relate to science and how they relate to growth in life.
(c) 2012 J S Shipman

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Using On-line Instruction in Science Classes

If you are using on-line instruction in science classes, you might find the following links useful:
Instructional design of interactive multimedia: A cultural … - Henderson Teaching via ITV: Taking Instructional Design to the ...

Teaching via ITV: Taking instructional design to the next level - Tags ...

Instructional Design at Instructional Communications Systems

Instructional design - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

  • Source:;  Accessed August 21, 2012. and Google:teaching via interactive instructional design

And for additional guidance, you might contact:

The following Journal might be of use, too:

Research areas of interest community wide have been identified as:
  • "Three areas he recommended that should be studied included the following:
• Students’ competence in and attitudes toward                                         technological studies and attitudes about themselves.
• Determining how political decisions are made.
• Outcomes of technology teacher education."
  •  "There is evidence that the challenge has been taken seriously by members of this teaching community. In 2004, faculty from nine universities established the National Center for Engineering and Technology Education (NCETE), with funding from the National Science Foundation. In July 2006, researchers working with NCETE proposed a research agenda for this teaching field. Major areas that NCETE proposed for continued research included:
• Questions Involving Learning
• Questions Involving Teaching
• Questions Involving Assessment (D. Householder, personal communication, December 8, 2011 as cited by Martin and Ritz)"
  • The authors selected the Delphi method to develop a rank-ordered list of topics that would be of substance and which researchers might wish to further explore individually ... In the end, six issues were identified and rank-ordered for Research Question 1 and one issue for Research Question 2. Obviously, it is unknown whether a different set of panelists would have generated a different list of issues. The final rank-ordered list, however, does provide a foundation of information to build upon for future researchers and ...[advisers]... of aspiring graduate research students who have as one of their goals to establish a better knowledge base for the technology education school subject.

 Source:  Research Needs for Technology Education: A U.S. Perspective. Gene Martin and John Ritz PDF [281 KB] HTML [59 KB]; Accessed August 21, 2012.