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The Drake Equation | Posted in Earth and Space Science
The Drake equation is not directly used by scientists in their research. Rather it is often used when talking about life in the universe to non-scientists, such as in astrobiology courses, as James mentioned. One of the keynote addresses I sometimes deliver is on astrobiology, and I discuss the Drake equation quite a lot, as it relates to many fascinating topics regarding the development of life in the universe, where we would expect to find life, and how common we might expect life to be.
The purpose of the Drake equation is not to give a precise answer to that fundamental question -- How many technological civilizations are in our galaxy? -- but to form the basis of discussions by presenting various types of information that we would need to know, if we wanted to answer that question.
So basically the Drake equation is a statement that "stimulates intellectual curiosity about the universe around us, for helping us to understand that life as we know it is the end product of a natural, cosmic evolution, and for helping us realize how much we are a part of that universe." (https://www.seti.org/drakeequation)
What the equation and the search for life has done is focus science on some of the issues concerning life in the universe, specifically the development of life starting with chemical processes, the development of multi-cellular life, and the development of intelligence.
Guest Speakers in the Middle School Classroom | Posted in Next Generation Science Standards
Form what I have gathered and having parents of my own come in and speak to classes and in the upper grade level, they nothing but love it. When members of the community have the opportunity to come in and speak to students, they enjoy every second because these are "real people" coming to talk about "Real experiences" that happen daily. As a very visual and real life learner I have found that I enjoy speakers and guest because as students we can get so caught up into the textbook and lecture life that we forget there is more out there to connect to these text books.
Best of luck!
Science Trips | Posted in Informal Science
Pam, I really like your idea of visiting a local university with students! I know from experience that children at this age look up to young adults, which provides a much greater chance for the students to listen! A great idea for them would be to visit the greenhouse (in the university has one) or, doing something even in a science class, or EL ED methods course.
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