Houston Business Leaders Breakfast
When I ask someone, “How was your day?”, they often respond that “It felt long.” Sometimes, if it was a really tough day, they will go as far as claiming that it felt like “the longest day of the year.” On most days, 364 to be precise, that claim is factually false. Today, however, anyone in the northern hemisphere can correctly state that this feels like the longest day of the year.
On Saturday, April 22nd Dr. Carol O’Donnell spoke at TEDxFoggyBottom 2017: In Metamorphosis!. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience, and TEDxFoggyBottom has become one of the largest student-organized TEDx events in the United States and around the world. This year’s annual conference brought together brilliant innovators and unconventional change-makers in a full-day experience featuring live presenters, and interactive exhibits centered around the 2017 theme: In Metamorphosis, discussing the current changes in our world and the implications these changes have for our society. O’Donnell’s talk reflected on her past experiences with science education, and focused on the importance of tactile experiences with physical objects in a science classroom in an age where digital learning is rapidly taking over.
Creative inspiration can be found anywhere—especially in science! Science is an amazing way to spark inspiration and curiosity and this poem by Gavin does just that. Our poet hails from the Greater Chicago Area and, at the age of only 11, has written a beautiful poem inspired by his awe of bioluminescence in nature. We loved Gavin’s poem so much that we wanted to ask him a little more about his process.
Director Matthew Brown’s newest film, The Man Who Knew Infinity, opened in April to positive reviews from critics and shed light on the life of a little known mathematician: Srinivasa Ramanujan. Born in Erode, India, in 1887, Ramanujan had a veracious love and instinctual understanding of mathematics. Living poor in South India with no college degree, Ramanujan was able to gain recognition for his inventive theorems and began a correspondence with a Fellow, G.H. Hardy, at Trinity College of the University of Cambridge.
On this Constitution Day we wanted to recognize the fascinating science behind preserving one of America's greatest documents. Constitution Day is celebrated every September 17 to recognize the signing of the United States Constitution.
"Constitution Day commemorates the formation and signing of the U.S. Constitution by thirty-nine brave men on September 17, 1787, recognizing all who, are born in the U.S. or by naturalization, have become citizens." -- www.constitutionday.com
Sometimes, a blue crab and a handful of Popsicle sticks can teach you more than a textbook.
This June at our Science Education Academy for Teachers on biodiversity, educators from across America discovered how scientists are learning from Mother Nature's engineering. As it turns out, many of the world's greatest technologies were invented long before humans figured out fire. Copying the designs and processes of life, or biomimicry, may hold the key to the science of the future -- and to a few amazing classroom lessons.
Biomimicry: Copying Designs from Life
"The first step towards getting somewhere is to decide that you are not going to stay where you are." -- J.P. Morgan
Hello, my name is Tami McDonald. I am the Colorado Regional Coordinator for the Smithsonian Science Education Center LASER program. As a near native of Colorado, I am proud to be promoting inquiry science and excellent professional development locally. I believe the need to prepare our students to compete in an innovation-based economy is great. If kids are excited about science, technology, engineering, and math, their chances of solving future global problems increases.
At 140 million miles from Earth, Mars isn't exactly a stone's throw away -- in fact, it takes about nine months (and several billion dollars) to reach the Red Planet via rocket. Although rovers and satellites can teach us a lot, scientist have found a cheaper, more convenient place to study Mars: the Earth.
If you have ever closely studied members of the phylum Echinodermata, you might ponder, "How can I tell a male sea cucumber from a female?" In this case, you would be prudent to accept the wisdom of accomplished scientist of echinoderms Dr. David Pawson who implores, "First you must ask its name." Humorous bits such as this were woven into a week of intensive science exploration that took place at the SSEC's 2015 Biodiversity SSEAT.
"Here's the deal, Jack. Children need to find ways to make sense of the world around them -- we all do." --Gummerson
If you've seen Good Thinking!, SSEC's new web series on "the science of teaching science", you've probably seen Gummerson -- and perhaps wondered who (or what), exactly, he is?
Dr. Jennifer Stern is a Space Scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Katya Vines, a Science Curriculum Developer at the Smithsonian Science Education Center, recently interviewed Jen about her role on the Mars Curiosity Rover team and her path to becoming a space scientist. Some of Jen's answers may surprise you!
What was your favorite class in school?
On America's first Fourth of July celebration in 1777, fireworks were one color: orange. There were no elaborate sparkles, no red, white, and blue stars -- nothing more than a few glorified (although uplifting) explosions in the sky.
As it turns out, although we've been lighting fireworks for the last 2000 years or so, modern fireworks were only invented in the 1830s -- so, what were they like before then? When Henry VII had fireworks at his wedding in 1486, how did they look? How have fireworks and the science behind them evolved throughout history?
"Go to your happy place" -- Blossom the Orchid
Last week we debuted a new animated web series for science educators, Good Thinking! As I described in my launch-day post, the series is a character-driven exploration of research-based practices in science education.
English language learners (ELLs) are a population of students that is growing in the United States. Educators face the challenge of helping students learn English at the same time as grade-level science content. This can be especially challenging when working with newcomers. Newcomers, by definition, have been in the United States for two years or less and have little to no English proficiency. In addition, some newcomers are refugees who have had interrupted schooling and spent time in refugee camps. How do you successfully teach science content to these students?
You may know that the Smithsonian Natural History Museum contains the Hope Diamond. You may not be aware of one of the museum's other gems, the Cullman Library. The Cullman library is part of Smithsonian Libraries network and contains a collection of 15,000 natural history books published prior to 1840. One of the strengths of the collection is the several hundred rare botany books, many of which contain beautiful hand-colored illustrations. However, these books are not just works of art.
As a member of Rhode Island's first team to participate in a National Science Resources Center (now the Smithsonian Science Education Center) Strategic Planning Institute (SPI), I was among a fortunate group of individuals. Through sheer timing and positioning we received a 5-year NSF grant to bring together all of the elements of the SSEC's LASER model. Evidence of our success is a present-day, robust K-8 science program that has sustained itself for 24 years and counting.
Karen Manning, science teacher at the Park School in Massachusetts, attended the 2014 Smithsonian Science Education Academiesfor Teachers, "Energy: Past, Present and Future" in Washington, DC. During the academy, teachers spent a week behind-the-scenes in Smithsonian museums and national research facilities. Working with fuel cells as a new and emerging technology was an incredibly impactful experience for Karen, and led her to seek out new opportunities that she could share with both students in her classroom and students across the country.
Having only traveled to Mexico previously on vacations, I was a bit nervous to arrive in the capital city last month to support the Mexico Strategic Planning Institute (SPI). Knowing I could only describe my Spanish as "no bueno," I felt anxious about spending 10 days in Mexico City with esteemed science teachers and education officials from seven states. However, what followed after SSEC Director of Professional Services Amy D'Amico, facilitator John Tully, and I touched down at Benito Juárez International Airport on December 4, 2014 was nothing short of a transformative experience.
As teachers across America contend with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), many are no doubt asking themselves whether these are really any different from previous standards. One way to answer this question is to look at the crosscutting concepts: eight broad concepts that transcend disciplines in science.
As an example, look at the crosscutting concept, Patterns:
When the house feels cold in the winter, I turn up the thermostat. But not without a twinge of guilt. I know that at the touch of a button on the little white control box, a furnace hidden somewhere around the house starts huffing and puffing. To churn out hot air it guzzles electricity, which is unfortunately neither renewable nor environmentally friendly: most electricity is made in power plants from coal or natural gas. Burning any of these materials releases toxins into the air. These in turn contribute to raising temperatures and air pollution levels all over the world.
The Smithsonian Science Education Center is proud to celebrate another successful year of sponsoring and hosting the 2014 Smithsonian Science Education Academies for Teachers. Last week, the SSEC wrapped up Energy: Past, Present, Future--an academy dedicated to understanding the history of energy production, the current state of energy needs, and future technologies to enhance energy efficiency and conservation.
Make a list with fellow science teachers about what might be difficult about a particular science topic.
Time to work together with colleagues can be rare, but a conversation you might consider having with your colleagues is: what is it that makes science, or better yet, specific science topics, "hard".