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Chem for those who do not like it | Posted in Chemistry
I always do an inventory of my students' interests at the start of the year and then try to tie concepts to their interests. We read an article on the first day about chemistry all around them. I've also had them write questions that they want answered about their world (for example: why does orange juice taste differently after brushing your teeth) and use those student-generated questions as guides to reach those students who don't show as much interest in Chemistry. Here is a link to the "Why Study Chemistry?" article. http://msgluckmann.webs.com/HP%20Chem%20Spring%20project%202016.pdf
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.
Teaching for Conceptual Understanding in Science | Posted in Professional Learning
We used the book for our PLC - Middle School Science in New York in the spring. Teachers found the ideas very useful and opened possibilities for some of them, trying and implementing new strategies and forms of formative assessment. The main focus was to explore the Conceptual Change Instructional Model. The plan this year is for teachers coming to the PLC for the first time to read and explore during the year in both in-person and online sessions, and those who were in the PLC last year will deepen in the discussion of their topics of interest.
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