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First Day of School Science Activities | Posted in Life Science
Hello Lauren, A good beginning of the school year activity would be one that gets students thinking about the scientific progress to set the standard for the labs that would come for the rest of the year. Some ways to do this are setting up different stations that could be good for observation like, the characteristics of a flower, or even the way worms interact. You can have students make hypothesis based on their conceptions of the different stations. You can also do another exercise that can be done in perspective lab groups as a team building exercise. This consists of giving each group a handful of marshmallows and spaghetti sticks. They have to building a tower with the materials and see who's stands up the longest. Its quite a fun first day activity. Hope this helps!
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.
I really like your idea of group work and discussion in the classroom. This form of teaching should be implemented in every grade level. It is a positive way where students can learn from one another as they are collaborating together on a group project. Different roles are divided between the students in each group allowing students to depend on one another. Discussion, in my opinion, allows students to reflect on what they learned that day, provide opinions about the assignment, and possibly suggest what they want to learn more about. This process makes students become active learners! I can see my future classroom using these learning strategies.
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