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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.

Matt


Matthew Bobrowsky

Gardening at school with young children | Posted in Early Childhood

I love the idea of teaching gardening to young children. I have worked in preschool and every summer we made a garden and grew all sorts of vegetables. One year, I decided to make a "greenhouse" for them to grow carrots in, they were SO excited to do this. We simply got two medium clear tubs and taped them together on one end (so we could open it still), and then used toilet paper rolls and put dirt in them and then carrot seeds. The kids participated in it all and helped to water them often. When the time came we planted them outside and watched them grow (and then ate them of course). But if you worry about growing in the cold, make a greenhouse and grow whatever you want. It is a great experience for young children. Good luck!


Nicole Kunzler

First Day of School Science Activities | Posted in Life Science

I teach only science, so for me, I get the kids for a short time and I am looking to make it pop. In elementary classes, I start with procedures or expectations but I weave that into an inquiry/discovery lesson. Mostly I use units from the Picture Perfect Science books by Karen Ansberry & Emily Morgan. They include lessons on discrepant events like the jumping beans for 4-5th biology (where students learn that not everything is as it seems at a glance) or "Earthlets" where students learn the value of piecing together all the information that they discover. I've used their lesson on the learn'd astronomer or Rachel Carson, "a sense of wonder" in both cases to introduce in a soft-start way that science is more than "doing". It includes pondering, wondering, ruminating over how amazing creation is...and helping students to place themselves inside that story as active participants in the science journey.


Annamarie Door

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