The U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the U.K.’s Royal Society released a publication in late February that makes clear that humans are causing climate change. The report attempts to dispel myths about climate science while setting the record straight on where scientific uncertainty still exists.
“As two of the world’s leading scientific bodies, we feel a responsibility to evaluate and explain what is known about climate change, at least the physical side of it, to concerned citizens, educators, decision makers and leaders, and to advance public dialogue about how to respond to the threats of climate change,” said National Academy of Sciences President Ralph J. Cicerone.
“Our aim with this new resource is to provide people with easy access to the latest scientific evidence on climate change, including where scientists agree and where uncertainty still remains,” said Sir Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society. “We have enough evidence to warrant action being taken on climate change; it is now time for the public debate to move forward to discuss what we can do to limit the impact on our lives and those of future generations.”
Do you need resources to help your middle school or high school students become literate in topics around climate and energy? CLEAN is a clearinghouse of online learning activities, videos and graphics on climate and energy.
The CLEAN collection offers the following resources and support:
1. The CLEAN search engine directs you to online activities, videos, and visualizations on climate and energy that are searchable by grade level, topic, and resource type. Over 15,000 resources have been reviewed by scientists and educators for accuracy and classroom effectiveness, and ~580 passed review. The panels’ reviews provide extra insight and guidance on using these materials.
2. The CLEAN guidance on teaching climate and energy science uses a set of essential principles to frame the science and inform teaching strategies. Learn more about these scientific principles, why they are important and challenging to teach, strategies for teaching age groups, and get directed to relevant activities, videos, and visualizations for each principle.
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Last year’s HB1674, the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act by Blackwell and Kern, passed the Common Education Committee by a vote of 9-8 and placed on the House floor. As expected the bill passed on the House floor today (March 3rd) by a vote of 79-6. This creationist bill is very similar to those introduced in the past – all were stopped. The bill would place religion into science courses, is unconstitutional, and would harm the recruitment of scientists and science-based industry to Oklahoma.
HB 1674, introduced Rep. Blackwell, has significant potential to harm the education of our students and the future economic security of our state. This bill is designed to cast doubt on science as a valid way of understanding the world and to promote ideas based on religion as if they were valid alternatives to science.
HB 1674 indicates that “teaching of some scientific subjects, such as biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy”, and that, “teachers shall be permitted to help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught”.
This bill is modeled after similar bills promoted by the Discovery Institute, an organization intent on teaching creationist “intelligent design” in schools. Virtually identical bills have been introduced in many states (but passed only in Tennessee and Louisiana, where it is now being challenged. This is a “Trojan horse” bill intended to open the door for the teaching of religious or political views as if they were science in school science classes.
What harm is there in teaching “strengths and weaknesses”?
- Promoting the notion that there is some scientific controversy is just plain dishonest. There is no scientific controversy. The evidence supporting all the listed topics is unequivocal. In particular, evolutionary theory has advanced substantially since Darwin’s time and, despite 150 years of direct research, no evidence in conflict with evolution has ever been found. The fact that evolution has occurred is accepted by virtually all scientists around the world and is as well established as the fact that the Earth is round.
- There really are no scientific “weaknesses”. If one looks to the sources of these alleged weaknesses, we find they are phony fabrications, invented and promoted by people who don’t like the implications of evolution. One may not agree with the use of atomic weapons but that does not mean that there is some controversy over the physics or that one may simply reject the science as flawed.
- Instead of teaching science, this approach teaches our children that it is acceptable to simply ignore the parts of science they don’t happen to like. Incorporating creationist arguments into the science curriculum will effectively condone their tactics and teach students that it is acceptable in science to: use illogical arguments, ignore evidence or simply deny that it exists, promote untestable ideas, selectively misquote scientists, support ideas with intuition and faith they’re better than actual evidence, cultivate and exploit misunderstandings, and assume that the popularity of ideas among the public verifies their scientific validity. This will not only confuse students’ understanding of science, it will undermine their entire education.
- Discussing the alleged strengths and weaknesses implies that socalled alternatives to evolution should also be taught. The most popular “alternative”, known as “intelligent design”, is dressed in scientific language but is not scientific and is not a valid alternative to evolution. Intelligent design proponents claim to be performing research on intelligent design. Yet no scientific evidence supporting intelligent design has ever been produced. In fact, no means for obtaining such evidence has even been proposed. This is because intelligent design assumes a supernatural designer and there is no way to scientifically test supernatural phenomena. Intelligent design is by definition an idea based on faith or personal belief, unsuitable for science classes.
- The “academic freedom” and “strengths and weaknesses” language represent tactics of creationists, whose efforts to have their specific religion taught as science in public schools have been repeatedly thwarted in the courts. Despite the clever language of such bills, the religious motivation of the Discovery Institute is obvious and their stated short range goals, among others, include: “To defeat scientific materialism” and “To see intelligent design theory as the dominant perspective in science”. A primary strategy of the Discovery Institute is to promote teaching intelligent design in schools through legislation. This tactic effectively bypasses scientists who actually work in the relevant fields, and appeals directly to state legislators, state curriculum committees, local school boards, and their constituencies.
- Part of the strategy involves promoting an unnecessary dichotomy between religious faith and science. This exploits the common misconception that to accept scientific evidence (for topics such as evolution) one must necessarily be an atheist and promotes the ridiculous notion that the scientists of the world are involved in a vast materialist/atheist conspiracy. Ironically, the vast majority of religions of the world, including most forms of Christianity, find no inherent conflict between science, including evolution, and religious belief.
- Opposition to HB 1674 is not anti-religious. Science cannot address issues of faith and morality; therefore, by definition, science cannot support or conflict with any religion. A majority of scientists, including many who study evolution, are people of faith. There is certainly no problem teaching the cultural and historical aspects of religion in schools as long as they are not presented as science or in a way that promotes one specific religion over others.
- HB 1674 will lead to lawsuits that cost taxpayers money. In Louisiana school districts have faced serious problems implementing the law and the prospect of costly lawsuits filed over its constitutionality. A 2005 federal trial over the teaching of intelligent design in Dover, Pennsylvania cost the local school district over one million dollars in legal fees.
- Undermining science education will have detrimental effects on the prosperity of the state. A scientifically literate population can make informed decisions on important issues of our time such as on healthcare and the environment and can contribute to efficient discovery and use of energy resources, provide for competitive advantages in agricultural production, and make advances in biomedicine. This leads directly to increased economic growth and will help attract additional high tech, energy based, and med tech industries to Oklahoma. Gov. Sebelius and the presidents of state universities in Kansas specifically acknowledged the negative economic impacts of the creationist lead decline of science standards in their state a decade ago.
- HB 1674 makes the completely baseless association between academic freedom and freedom to teach religion in classes that are not about religion. Ultimately, forcing teachers to present the “strengths and weaknesses” will force them to pretend that we know less than we really do about the natural world and to present ideas based in one specific religion as if they were science. The issue is not about fairness or free inquiry; it is about science vs. nonscience. The bill does not promote academic freedom, rather academic misconduct.
The bill will likely be sent to the Senate Education Committee. We do not know when the bill might appear on the Senate Education Committee’s agenda. It could happen at any time. Please contact the members (listed below) and urge them to oppose the bill. You can write, call, send emails, or visit in person. Send messages to ALL those listed. You do not have to be a constituent to send messages. Every message helps because NUMBERS DO COUNT. The message may be fairly short, even if legislators do not read them, they do tally them. Large numbers of opposing messages in the past have worked! Address letters to ALL individual members.
Here is the contact information: Name, Room #, Phone, Email
John Ford, 424A, 521-5634, email@example.com
Gary Stanislawski, 427A, 521-5624, firstname.lastname@example.org
Earl Garrison, 528A, 521-5533, email@example.com
Jim Halligan, 425, 521-5572, firstname.lastname@example.org
David Holt, 411A, 521-5636, email@example.com
Clark Jolley, 519, 521-5622, firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Paddack, 533B, 521-5541, email@example.com
Wayne Shaw, 513A, 521-5574, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ralph Shortey, 514A, 521-5557, email@example.com
John Sparks, 529B, 521-5553, firstname.lastname@example.org
Ron Sharp, 533, 521-5539, email@example.com
Encourage your students to take advantage of an Oklahoma Regents for Higher Education Summer Academy at an Oklahoma college or university and discover the fascinating worlds of aeronautics, engineering, environmental conservation, forensic science and much more!
Summer Academies are FREE!
Be sure to request applications from the contact person listed under the academy you choose. Or call 1.800.858.1840 for more information. Or go to: https://secure.okcollegestart.org/Plan_for_College/Summer_Academies/_default.aspx
Note: Academies are either commuter or residential. For commuter academies, students will travel to and from the academy location each day. For residential academies, students will reside at the academy location on campus for the duration of the academy.
University of Oklahoma Starship: Imagination Residential June 1-6
This academy offers a one-week residential program for 30 students entering the eighth grade. The students selected to attend will experience the wonders of the universe through a series of hands-on learning opportunities. The combination of classroom instruction, field experiences and flight time in Piper Warrior III aircrafts will offer students an experience that cannot be duplicated. Subject areas such as astronomy, physics, space exploration, aeronautics and astronautics will be woven together to ignite the imagination and inspire each student to reach for the stars.
Oklahoma State University Biology and Engineering for a Sustainable Tomorrow Commuter June 2-6
Biology and engineering will be necessary to solve some of the most critical issues in our future, including declining water and energy resources and environmental degradation. This academy will introduce the importance of both biology and engineering in everyday life and expose students to the future technologies that exist at their interface. Students will participate in design, experimentation and field trips involving water quality, renewable energy development and environmental remediation. The academy is open to students entering the eighth grade.
Oklahoma State University Exploring Quantitative Analysis: A Basic Introduction Residential Session I: June 1-7 Session II: June 8-14
During this weeklong academy, students will learn basic concepts of research design and statistics, learn more about careers in math and science, and increase their mathematical and scientific reasoning abilities. Sessions will consist mainly of students putting their knowledge into action through hands-on learning experiences, including observational research with people and animals, a survey design exercise and webpage design. Preliminary field trip plans include the OSU Vet School, the Oklahoma City Zoo and Science Museum Oklahoma.
Murray State College 2014 MSC Summer College STEM Academy Residential June 9-12
Hands-on and fun STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) activities comprise this four-day residential academy designed for eighth- and ninth-grade students. The academy will be filled with birds, butterflies, botany and biodiversity at the Wildlife Refuge; fish and turtles at the Fish Hatchery; bioagriculture at Noble Foundation; Kids to College at Southern Oklahoma Technology Center; orienteering; low ropes activities; bridge building; mosaic math art; nutrition and wellness; and a career moment at Miranda Lambert’s Tishomingo business. Each participant will also receive a $100 stipend.
Contact: Karen Cantrell, 580.371.2371, x137, firstname.lastname@example.org
Oral Roberts University A Hands-On Program in Mathematics and Science Residential June 9-13
This academy will provide opportunities for developing skills to learn mathematics and science. Mathematical activities include code-breaking cryptology and fractal-pattern recognition. Science experiences include field trips, real-world technologies, rocketry and laboratory work where students seek to understand the natural world. The use of problem-solving ideas and project-based learning integrates these mathematics and science experiences.
Contact: Dr. John Matsson, 918.495.6935, email@example.com
The University of Tulsa Technology Education and Collaborative (TEC) Residential June 9-14
This academy will focus on activities integrating GPS with GIS software. Students will use handheld GPS receivers for data collection on campus and during a field trip and then process the data to create interactive GIS maps. Students work individually and in groups with personal computers with presentation software. Students use digital cameras and camcorders, download data sets from the Internet, participate in chat rooms, use innovative software, and participate in GPS scavenger hunts and geocaches.
Contact: Dr. David Brown, 918.631.2719, or visit www.orgs.utulsa.edu/tec/
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma Where Does Our Food Come From and How Did it Get Here? Residential July 7-11
This academy targets students entering eighth- or ninth-grade who are interested in STEM topics and food. The academy will follow the progress of food from the garden to the kitchen to the pantry for a rainy day. Attendees will learn the science behind the carbonation of root beer and bread, nutrients available in food and the presence of genetically modified genes in snacks; go on trips to local farms and food processing plants; and enjoy food-based games and movies as well as mentoring from high school and college students for preparation for the future.
Contact: Dr. Jeannette Loutsch, 405.512.8330, firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Central Oklahoma Engineering Physics Exploration Commuter Session I: June 1-5 Session II: June 8-12
The UCO Department of Engineering and Physics will offer two five-day, nonresidential sessions of hands-on activities related to engineering physics applications including energy, electronic instrumentation and robotics. Participants will work in teams to complete science activities, design projects and, using what they have learned, compete with other teams. A UCO engineering physics or biomedical engineering student will guide each team, while faculty members serve as instructors. During lunchtime seminars, participants will hear presentations about science/technology opportunities in Oklahoma, along with presentations from UCO faculty about new and exciting areas of engineering and physics.
Cameron University Science Detectives Summer Academy Residential June 1-7
This academy asks, “Is the number of antibiotic-resistant bacteria increasing in wild animal populations?” During the academy, students will learn methods of biological sample collection as well as scientific laboratory methods and inquiry while experiencing what it is like to study and live on a college campus. They will also visit a local hospital and be exposed to health care career opportunities as well as opportunities for biomedical education through Oklahoma Technology Centers.
Contact: Lora Young, 580.581.2284, email@example.com
University of Central Oklahoma Discovering Chemistry in Human Health Commuter Session I: June 2-6 Session II: June 9-13
This academy develops a better understanding of the ways chemistry is involved in maintaining good health and for diagnosis and treatment of poor health. The academy will include short lectures and hands-on activities in nutrition, organic synthesis, biochemistry, calorimetry, chemistry magic and a field trip to local biomedical research centers. Students will work in teams of five with a college mentor and then present their findings and activities by PowerPoint presentation on the last day. Guest speakers will talk with the students about education and career opportunities in the field. Lunch is provided.
Southeastern Oklahoma State University SE’s Savage Storm Take Flight: Aviation Science Camp 2014 Residential Session I: June 8-13 Session II: June 15-20 Session III: June 22-27
This academy will offer participating students entering the eighth, ninth and 10th grades, an opportunity to learn about science, technology and engineering as these subjects relate to aviation and the effects of flight. The academy will also explore career paths within various fields of aviation, offering hands-on experiences, while incorporating STEM principles involved in flight and aerodynamics. While staying the week in SE residence halls, participants will get a glimpse of college life from inside and take part in interpersonal and self-discovery discussions with peers and camp counselors regarding college life and life after high school.
Contact: SE Office of Continuing Education, 580.745.2858
Northeastern State University, Broken Arrow Get Green for Blue: Outdoor Investigations to Connect Water to You Commuter June 9-13
Put on your waders, grab your net and let’s catch those critters! In teams, you will learn about water quality through collecting data, analyzing the health of water bodies and determining possible solutions to water-quality problems. This academy is open to students entering the eighth, ninth or 10th grade. Come to NSU in Broken Arrow and the Rogers County Reserve and be a part of this fun, activity-based adventure!
Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology Emerging and Converging Technologies Academy Residential June 15-20
Students will apply math and science skills while participating in hands-on lab exercises in seven different programs offered at OSUIT. Participants will have the opportunity to actually go on the job with culinary arts, engineering technologies, visual communications, nursing, information technologies, automotive and air conditioning/refrigeration graduates. In addition, students will be experiencing college life in the dorms. Students will participate in many fun-filled evening activities and investigate the undeniable claim that a college degree will take students where they want to go.
East Central University Explorations in Computer Science and Robotics Residential June 15-20
This academy is a one-week residential experience that will engage participants in the exciting imagination-stretching, logic-building and fun world of computer science. Students will learn programming in C, explore the endless possibilities of computer science careers, interact with professionals, and invoke their creativity and problem-solving skills by designing, building and programming robots. The academy concludes with a robotics demonstration and competition on Friday morning, where friends and families can see what participants have learned and cheer on their favorite robotics teams.
The University of Tulsa Summer Engineering Academy at The University of Tulsa Commuter June 23-27
This one-week commuter academy teaches students about electrical and mechanical engineering careers through hands-on design projects, interactions with industry professionals and an integrating project that includes mathematical calculation. Students will be able to take projects home to explore further outside the academy. High school teachers will receive training and assist investigators with activities. Students will present their experiences to their classes and be invited to participate in follow-up design competitions. Teachers will be supported in implementing academy exercises within their classrooms.
Contact: Peter LoPresti, 918.631.3274, firstname.lastname@example.org
University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center Exploring Math and Science Academy (EMSA) Commuter June 8-20
This academy is a stimulating two-week summer experience for rising ninth-grade students exploring careers in the health sciences. EMSA will provide hands-on laboratory and classroom activities for students that will enrich their math and science knowledge and ability. In addition to activities at the seven OUHSC colleges, students will explore health fields in the community through field trips around the OUHSC campus. EMSA will begin at 8 a.m. and end at 5 p.m. daily.
Contact: Brian Corpening, 405.271.2390, email@example.com
University of Oklahoma Design and the Built Environment: Collaborate, Create, Construct Residential June 1-6
This academy offers 40 rising ninth- and 10th-grade students a one-week opportunity to explore the disciplines in OU’s College of Architecture. Through incorporating all five disciplines – architecture, interior design, construction science, landscape architecture and regional city planning – the academy will introduce students to an interdisciplinary study of the built environment not readily available in their schools. Students will live in university residence halls, giving students a real “feel” for college life. Students from the College of Architecture will assist the academy students in order to facilitate collaborative interaction with students representing the disciplines associated with the college.
Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Enid Exploring the Benefits of Human-Animal Interaction Residential June 1-7
This academy will use animals as tools to teach scientific concepts, mathematics and enhanced health care for humans. The students will apply their learning through hands-on experiences, workshops and live human-animal interactions by visiting assisted living centers and child care centers and participating in a “reading to dogs” program. They will also develop innovative and creative ways of solving environmental and wildlife issues by observing science in action during trips to the Oklahoma City Zoo and the Oklahoma Aquarium. Further they will participate in other interactive therapeutic activities in the community using service animals in human educational, emotional and health care fields.
Oklahoma State University Camp TURF (Tomorrow’s Undergraduates Realizing the Future) Residential June 1-13
Camp TURF is a two-week, residential academy at OSU in Stillwater for upcoming ninth and 10th graders. Students will explore horticulture, landscape management and landscape architecture in sessions led by faculty, staff and industry professionals. Academy activities are varied and hands-on, with typical activities that include cloning plants, filming TV segments about gardening, drawing landscape symbols, making pervious concrete pavers and touring research facilities. Recreational activities often include swimming, bowling, live theatre, museum visits and canoeing. Activities will occur both indoors and outdoors.
Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College Exceptional Direction United in Culture, Academics, Technology, and Excitement in Medical Education (EDUCATE ME) Residential June 8-13
This academy is a residential camp for ninth- and 10th-grade students that will offer hands-on learning in health care careers (nursing, physical therapist assistant, medical laboratory technician and physical education/athletic training) and exploring how therapeutic humor can be used in health care. The academy also includes a cultural aspect with American Indian culture that educates students on American Indian healing methods, traditions and customs. The academy offers the students a taste of college campus life by living in the dorms throughout the week, meals from the campus cafeteria, and attending classes in the health care classrooms and laboratories.
University of Oklahoma All Systems Go! Innovating Engineering Systems for the Future Residential July 13-18
This academy will introduce students to the relatively new engineering discipline of systems engineering. Participants will study health care systems, aircraft systems and even collegiate sporting events. Students will spend time in a working research laboratory on the OU campus. Hands-on activities will include computer-aided design, rapid prototyping, systems measurement and analysis, and systems modeling and simulation. Students will live in university residence halls, giving students a real “feel” for college life.
University of Oklahoma The Oklahoma Mesonet Presents – Meteorology: From Atmosphere to Zulu Residential July 13-18
This academy offers a one-week, residential, weather-focused program for 30 students entering ninth and 10th grades. Students will attend classes in the National Weather Center, surrounded by top research scientists and operational meteorologists. Students will learn about atmospheric interactions from fronts to thunderstorm development, how data are collected from instrumentation, how to analyze weather maps and how to interpret forecast discussions. Students will be exposed to meteorology careers including operational forecasters at NOAA’s Storm Prediction Center and the National Weather Service’s Norman Forecast Office; field researchers who operate mobile radars; and local television broadcasters.
Connors State College Ecological Investigations and Wilderness Adventure Residential June 22-27
This academy invites students to come and experience the wonder of nature for themselves. Students will stay in a new dorm on the CSC campus and each day be transported to its outdoor classroom – 1,613 acres of lakes, woods, fields and trails. Students will have the opportunity to help with an endangered species research project, go with fisheries biologists to shock fish for a census in the lakes. Students will enjoy true hands-on learning in biology, ecology, meteorology, archery, herpetology, entomology, ornithology and natural history and much more! The academy will also include an introduction to the shooting sports
University of Central Oklahoma CSI: A High School Summer Forensics Academy Residential July 25-30
This five-day residential academy will feature an innovative and experiential learning curriculum by serving 35 highly motivated and talented Oklahoma high school students. Students and parents/caregivers will have opportunities to interact with professionals and learn more about college planning and STEM career outlooks. Academy participants will use avatars in virtual crime scenes, engage in hands-on activities such as conducting DNA tests, and take guided tours to local law enforcement organizations including Edmond Police, Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation and Forensics Science Institute. Students will produce post-academy presentations for science fairs or statewide conferences to further promote interest in the pursuit of STEM-related college degrees and careers.
Seminole State College Peek Into Engineering (PIE) Academy Residential Aug. 3-8
This academy targets rising ninth- through 12th-grade students. Teams of students will design and assemble underwater remote-operated vehicles. Participants will also be exposed to simple electronic circuitry. Exciting activities will expose participants to aerospace, computer, electrical, material, mechanical, and bioengineering. Field trips will be taken to either Oklahoma State University or the University of Oklahoma and to an engineering facility (an OG+E power plant and/or Blue Wave Boats). Competitions will be held throughout the academy.
Contact: 405.382.9217 or visit www.sscok.edu/PieAcademy/PieMainPg.htm
East Central University Coding Theory, Competitive Strategies, Risk Analysis and Other Mathematical Pursuits Residential June 8-13
This academy will introduce participants to a hands-on, technology-based, fun-filled, stimulating interdisciplinary experience, exposing them to connections between math and related scientific disciplines that are used extensively in the real world. The academy will attempt to generate an interest and improve mathematics performance at the high school level, thereby encouraging, exciting and motivating a pursuit of mathematics and its applications as a major area of study at the college level and beyond and/or as available and lucrative career options.
Contact: Dr. Andrew Wells, 580.559.5620, firstname.lastname@example.org
Langston University An Intensive Academy in Math, Science and Technology for Grades 10-12 Residential June 1-14
This two-week residential academy for 36 aspiring mathematicians, scientists and engineers will focus on improving students’ appreciation for and enrollment in Oklahoma core curricula through intense, positive experiences in mathematics, chemistry, biology, technology and preparation for success. Oklahoma core curricula, ACT preparation, scholarships, and undergraduate and graduate school matriculation will be addressed. Experiences will incorporate cutting-edge technologies that support hands-on activities and innovative teaching and learning.
Contact: Dr. Alonzo F. Peterson, 405.466.3341, email@example.com, or visit www.langston.edu/future-students/academic-opportunities/summer-programs
Cameron University NanoExplorers: A High School Summer Science Academy Residential June 8-20
This 10-day residential academy will feature participation by 24 highly motivated and talented Oklahoma high school students. The academy will introduce students to those concepts necessary to understand why very small systems exhibit unique behavior. Students will engage in hands-on activities in imaging and manipulating nanostructures, both “top-down” and “bottom-up” approaches to making nanostructures, and devices based on nanotechnology. The activities will be designed to introduce the concept of nanotechnology and will include applications and information about career activities in chemistry and physics.
Contact: Dr. E. Ann Nalley, 580.581.2889, firstname.lastname@example.org
Southwestern Oklahoma State University SSMA: Summer Science and Mathematics Academy at SWOSU Residential June 15-27
This academy is designed to give 25 high school juniors and seniors a two-week experience in science, mathematics and technology. The program is designed to motivate students toward pursuing higher education and careers in STEM disciplines. SSMA will be located on the SWOSU campus with participants living in dormitories, eating in cafeterias and taking classes in a variety of science-content areas. Laboratory and field experiences will enhance the participants’ problem-solving skills. During the second week, participants will be involved in a problem-solving competition.
Tulsa Community College
Math and Science in Health Careers (MASH) Camp
Session I: June 16-20
Session II: June 23-27
This five-day camp is for students entering grades 10-12 in the 2014 academic year. Students will participate in a series of stimulating, hands-on learning activities in mathematics, science and multidisciplinary studies, including experimentation and exploration of technologies. The program seeks to provide students with the tools to take full advantage of their high school education, make informed decisions about college and begin conceptualizing an eventual career by providing information about health care careers. The camp is free to students selected to attend. Each attendee will receive a stipend for the successful completion of the camp.
Contact: Pat Turner, 918.595.8402, or Joe Schnetzer, 918.595.8403
University of Oklahoma STEM to Store: The Chemistry of Medicine Residential June 8-13
This academy incorporates the study of chemistry, botany, mathematics, medicine, history, sociology and Native American studies. Participants will study the medically relevant ingredients of Echinacea herbal medicine. Students will spend time in a working research laboratory on the OU campus. Students will live in university residence halls, giving students a real “feel” for college life.
Oklahoma’s Senate Bill 1765 (PDF), which would, if enacted, have deprived administrators of the ability to prevent teachers from miseducating students about “scientific controversies,” died in the Senate Education Committee on February 24, 2014, when a deadline for senate bills to pass committee expired. The sole senate sponsor of SB 1765 was Josh Brecheen (R-District 6), who introduced similar legislation in two previous legislative sessions; Gus Blackwell (R-District 61) is listed as its sponsor in the House. The bill was opposed by the National Association of Biology Teachers and the American Institute of Biological Sciences, as well as by the grassroots Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education.
Still alive in the Oklahoma legislature is the similar House Bill 1674 (PDF), sponsored by Gus Blackwell (R-District 61) and Sally Kern (R-District 84); Josh Brecheen is listed as its sponsor in the Senate. Writing in The Oklahoma Daily(March 6, 2013), Richard E. Broughton of the University of Oklahoma described HB 1674 as “a ‘Trojan horse’ bill specifically crafted by an out-of-state, religious think tank to open the door for the teaching of religious or political views in school science classes. … HB 1674 would write false claims about science into state law, contradicting the wealth of scientific evidence, our own curriculum standards and the expertise of Oklahoma’s scientists and teachers.”
A bill in Oklahoma that would, if enacted, deprive administrators of the ability to prevent teachers from miseducating students about “scientific controversies” is back from the dead. House Bill 1674 (PDF), styled the Scientific Education and Academic Freedom Act, was supposed to have died in the Oklahoma House of Representatives on March 14, 2013, when a deadline for bills to have their third reading in their house of origin passed. But it is now listed as available for consideration on the House floor in the afternoon of February 18, 2014. The first antiscience bill in Oklahoma for 2014, Senate Bill 1765, sponsored by Josh Brecheen (R-District 6), is currently before the Senate Education Committee.
House Bill 1674, would, if enacted, require state and local educational authorities to “assist teachers to find more effective ways to present the science curriculum where it addresses scientific controversies” and permit teachers to “help students understand, analyze, critique, and review in an objective manner the scientific strengths and scientific weaknesses of existing scientific theories pertinent to the course being taught,” prohibiting administrators from interfering. As introduced, the bill specifically mentions “biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning” as subjects which “some teachers may be unsure” about how to teach.
The House sponsors of HB 1674 are Gus Blackwell (R-District 61) and Sally Kern (R-District 84). In 2012, Blackwell revived House Bill 1551, which was originally introduced in the Oklahoma House of Representatives by Kern in 2011. HB 1551 was rejected in the House Common Education Committee in 2011, but Blackwell resurrected the bill in 2012, adding a reference to controversial “premises in the areas of biology, chemistry, meteorology, bioethics and physics.” The revised bill quickly passed the House Common Education Committee, which amended it slightly to provide “Nothing in this subsection shall be construed to exempt students from learning, understanding, and being tested on curriculum as prescribed by state and local education standards.”
HB 1551 passed the House of Representatives on March 15, 2012, by which time it managed to attract condemnation from national scientific and educational organizations. The American Association for the Advancement of Science’s chief executive officer Alan I. Leshner expressed his concerns with the bill, for example, writing in a March 21, 2012, letter, “There is virtually no scientific controversy among the overwhelming majority of researchers on the core facts of global warming and evolution,” and adding, “asserting that there are significant scientific controversies about the overall nature of these concepts when there are none will only confuse students, not enlighten them.” HB 1551 died in the Senate Education Committee in April 2012.
The new bill, HB 1674, is apparently identical to the final version of HB 1551 as passed by the House of Representatives and unconsidered by the Senate, and only slightly different from Oklahoma’s Senate Bill 320 from 2009, which a member of the Senate Education Committee memorably described to the Tulsa World (February 17, 2009) as one of the worst bills that he had ever seen. In its detailed critique of SB 320, Oklahomans for Excellence in Science Education argued, “Promoting the notion that there is some scientific controversy is just plain dishonest.” With respect to the supposed “weaknesses” of evolution, OESE added, “they are phony fabrications, invented and promoted by people who don’t like evolution.”
In The Oklahoma Daily (March 6, 2013), Richard E. Broughton of the University of Oklahoma described HB 1674 as “a ‘Trojan horse’ bill specifically crafted by an out-of-state, religious think tank to open the door for the teaching of religious or political views in school science classes. This is clearly understood by everyone familiar with the bill on both sides. HB 1674 would write false claims about science into state law, contradicting the wealth of scientific evidence, our own curriculum standards and the expertise of Oklahoma’s scientists and teachers.” He concluded, “Passage of this bill will damage the education of our students, diminish the ability to attract scientifically-based industries to Oklahoma and will likely lead to costly lawsuits over constitutionality.”
Bill Nye, a pop culture science icon, is traveling to Stillwater Feb. 20 to encourage his audience to change the world.
Nye is a comedian, mechanical engineer and author who wants everyone to know and appreciate the passion, beauty and joy of science. He is most famous for his hit television show, “Bill Nye, The Science Guy,” which aired from 1993 to 1998.
The OSU Speaker’s Board will host Bill Nye at Gallagher-Iba Arena at 7 p.m. on Feb. 20. The event will begin with a 45-minute keynote address, followed by a 45-minute audience Q&A session. Admission is free for OSU students, faculty and staff with a valid OSU ID. General admission tickets are available for the public for $10. Those tickets will go on sale Feb. 20 at 4 p.m. at the Gallagher-Iba Arena ticket booth, and doors will open at 6 p.m. Sign interpreters will be available at the event.
Brandon Mitts, Allied Arts & Special Events manager, said the Speaker’s Board chose Nye because he is a pop culture icon who has a strong appeal with various age groups and a strong message.
“People love Bill Nye because he’s approachable and they’ve seen his TV show, but I think they’re going to be surprised with the passion he has about science and its impact on the future,” Mitts said. “He’ll talk a lot about why science is important and the ways we can get behind it.”
Nye advocates action to address climate change and is fresh off high-profile debates with creationism proponent Ken Ham and Republican Rep. Marsha Blackburn, a vocal skeptic of global climate change and vice chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee.