TiffanyGram 8.31.2015

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Greetings Science Educators!

I know it has only been a week since the last science message, but I wanted to share a few exciting opportunities and updates that have come across my desk in the last week!

First, I’m excited to announce that applications are available for this year’s OKMath and OKSci Leadership Program!

The Oklahoma State Department of Education is proud to create and support a dynamic network of Oklahoma Math and Science educators through OKMath and OKSci Leadership. OKMath and OKSci Leadership selects, challenges, develops and educates Oklahoma math and science teachers, instructional coaches, and district curriculum specialists who have demonstrated an interest in leadership skills related to mathematics and science education.

In April 2014, the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) featured OKMath and OKSci Leadership as one of only three state-led innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) programs of the year. Graduates of OKMath and OKSci Leadership Beta Class and Class 1 include numerous site, district, and state Teachers of the Year, board members of the Oklahoma Council of Teachers of Mathematics and the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association, Presidential Award finalists and winners, and many other teachers who engage in their school and community as leaders. If you are interested in participating in this exciting program, please complete the application by 5:00p.m. on September 14, 2015.

Visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/okmath_oksci_class2 to access the application. Contact Levi Patrick (Levi.Patrick@sde.ok.gov | 405-522-3525) or Tiffany Neill (Tiffany.Neill@sde.ok.gov | 405-522-3524) with questions.

Assessment Update:

The Office of Assessments has been working hard all summer with OKSci teachers to develop new Blueprints and Item Specification Documents for the assessments that will be aligned to the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science in 2016-2017. As a reminder, for school year 2015-2016 the science assessments for 5th, 8th, and Biology 1 will continue to be aligned to the PASS standards for Science.

Educator Opportunities:

Announcing: The Biology Teacher Cohort

Are you a Biology teacher who is trying to figure out how to prepare students for assessments this year that are aligned to the PASS standards while trying to look ahead to next year when the assessments will be aligned to the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for science? This is the group for you! I along with a group of Biology teachers will be hosting a few virtual meetings/discussions this fall focused on supporting Oklahoma Biology teachers with strategies for transitioning to the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science while continuing to be assessed on PASS this year.

The sessions will be recorded for those that are not able to attend during the live discussions. If you are interested in joining a dynamic professional learning community this fall, go to the following link to indicate which date and time works best for your schedule for the first meeting in September. To join the discussions you will simply need access to a phone and Internet.

Look for a similar opportunity soon for 5th and 8th grade science teachers!

Science Fest 2016!

A day for Oklahoma 4th and 5th grade students filled with exciting hands-on exhibits, presentations and demonstrations, all developed to show the importance of scientific application in the environment.

  • Where: Oklahoma State Fairgrounds
  • When: April 28th, 2016
  • Sign Up: Registration open November 1st, 2015. To register and for more information go to gov.

NSTA Articles:

Articles, Blog Posts and More!

NSTA Article: What does constructing and revising models looks like in the science classroom.

Blog Post: Problem’s with the Scientific Method

Engineering Resource: Link Engineering

Stay Connected:

Social Media:

Twitter: @tiffanyneill

Facebook: #OKSci

Hashtags: #oksde #OKSci #OKSTEM

Sign Up for a Twitter account: https://twitter.com/

Accessing Archived Science Messages:

You can access Archived Science Messages I’ve sent out since March via the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association (OSTA) website. Scroll down to see previous posts.  (Ed. Note: you can also find all of the past science messages sent by the State Science Director by clicking the TiffanyGram link in the Categories menu on this page)

Science Listserv:

Please encourage others to register for the science listserv and pass along the following registration link. If you would like to be removed from the listserv you can also do that via the link below.

Register for Science Listserv

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!

– Tiffany

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NCSE Weekly Update 8.28.15

 

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A PREVIEW OF EVOLUTION: MAKING SENSE OF LIFE

NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of the second edition of Carl Zimmer and Douglas J. Emlen’s Evolution: Making Sense of Life (Roberts and Company, 2015). The preview consists of a part of chapter 14, “Macroevolution.” “The history of biodiversity—the processes and patterns of originations, adaptations, and extinctions—is known as macroevolution,” Zimmer and Emlen explain. “In this chapter, we’ll look at some of the most important lessons that have emerged from the study of macroevolution — not just for understanding the deep history of biodiversity, but also for understanding its future.”

“Exciting is a word not often used to describe a new textbook,” wrote Neil Shubin of the Unviersity of Chicago in praise of the first edition of Evolution: Making Sense of Life. “But by using powerful examples, beautiful images, and finely wrought prose, Zimmer and Emlen have produced a book that not only conveys the explanatory power of evolution, but is also permeated with the joy of doing science. Their text can only be described as an exciting moment for our field: it is an important accomplishment for our students and for evolutionary biology at large.”

For the preview of Evolution: Making Sense of Life (PDF), visit:

http://ncse.com/book-excerpt

For information about the book from its publisher, visit:

http://www.roberts-publishers.com/new-publications/evolution-making-sense-of-life-49.html

A NEW POLL ON CLIMATE CHANGE

A new poll on public attitudes toward Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change included questions on the occurrence and causes of climate change itself. Asked “Do you think that global warming is happening, or do you think global warming is not happening?” 69% of respondents said yes, 16% said no, 15% said that they were not sure, and 1% skipped or refused to answer the question.

Those who answered yes were asked about the cause of global warming:

11% said it is caused entirely by human activities, 41% said that it is caused mostly by human activities, 38% said that it is caused about equally by human activities and natural changes in the environment, 6% said that it is caused mostly by natural changes in the environment, 2% said that it is caused entirely by natural changes in the environment, and 2% said that they were not sure.

The survey was conducted by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research; 1030 people completed the survey. According to the report (PDF), “Interviews for this survey were conducted between July 17 and July 19, 2015, with adults age 18 and over from the 50 states and the District of Columbia. … The overall margin of sampling is +/- 4.4 percentage points at the 95 percentage confidence level.”

For the report of the poll (PDF), visit:

http://www.apnorc.org/PDFs/PopeGlobalWarming/July_Omnibus_Topline_Environment_FINAL.pdf

And for NCSE’s collection of polls and surveys on climate, visit:

http://ncse.com/polls/polls-climate-change

Thanks for reading. And don’t forget to visit NCSE’s website— http://ncse.com — where you can always find the latest news on evolution and climate education and threats to them.

Glenn Branch

Deputy Director

National Center for Science Education, Inc.

 

branch@ncse.com

http://ncse.com

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TiffanyGram 8.24.15

Greetings Science Educators!

It is the start of another school year and an opportunity for students across Oklahoma to experience amazing opportunities to engage in science and get to know the many outstanding science teachers in this state! I wanted to begin the science message by saying thank you to all of those that e-mailed, called, Facebook messaged and texted condolences in the past two weeks for the sudden passing of my father. They were truly appreciated and reminded me just how special the OKSci community really is. Thank you.

There are several exciting things to share in this week’s message, so let’s get started with a few updates. Science teachers around the state have been working on two projects to develop resources for teachers and districts related to the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science.

(1) The Oklahoma Science Framework Project – In Phase 1 of the project, twenty K-12 teachers have been working to develop “Framework Overviews”. The Overviews represent how a small group of teachers (Framework Writers) at a given grade-level might bundle performance expectations or standards found in the Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science. Bundling may be a new word, but it certainly isn’t a new concept as it simply implies how teachers would group performance expectations or standards for the purpose of developing instructional units of study.

Once bundled, the Framework Writers were then charged with completing four categories of information that coincided with the bundle of performance expectations or standards.

                  In – Lay Terms:

This section aims at providing a brief introduction to the goals outlined in the Performance Expectation Bundles.

                  Three Dimensional Storyline:

This section aims at providing a comprehensive storyline of how the three dimensions represented in the Performance Expectation Bundles intertwine to support students engaging in science and engineering practices, crosscutting concepts and disciplinary core ideas.

                  Lesson Level Performance Expectations:

This section aims at providing scaffolding three-dimensional learning targets that teachers can design instruction around to meet the end goals of the Performance Expectation represented in the bundles.

                  Misconceptions: 

This section aims at providing research-based misconceptions that students frequently have related to the science concepts (disciplinary core ideas) embedded in the Performance Expectation bundles.

“The vision of the Overviews is to provide a resource for teachers that encourages them to embrace the new standards and implement them effectively in their classrooms. The suggestions provided by the frameworks project do not have to be implemented exactly as they are written and are not required to be a successful teacher, but serve a guide to setting up effective lessons that will help students meet the necessary levels of success in a science classroom.” – Oklahoma Science Project Framework Writer

Keep in mind the Framework Overviews are simply a resource for teachers to assist in planning for instruction. To access the DRAFT Framework Overview Documents go to the following link. We will be publishing these documents in PDF form later this fall, but we wanted to ensure that these resources were accessible as early as possible and we also wanted to provide an opportunity for Oklahoma science teachers to provide feedback on the documents before they are published. You can provide feedback by leaving comments on the Google Documents.

We will continue efforts later this year to provide additional support in the way of instructional exemplars and formative assessments in subsequent phases of the Oklahoma Science Framework Project.

(2) The Oklahoma Open Education Resource Project – This is a project I spoke about at several of the Science Standards Regional workshops last year. This project aims to provide Oklahoma schools with Open Education Resources aligned to the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science. While, these resources will not serve as curriculum, they will serve as course text resources for students. We had hoped to have these resources available for the start of this school year, but we were not able to start the project until late last spring. Look for drafts of these resources later this fall.

Assessment Update:

The Office of Assessments has been working hard all summer with OKSci teachers to develop new Blueprints and Item Specification Documents for the assessments that will be aligned to the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science in 2016-2017. As a reminder, for school year 2015-2016 the science assessments for 5th, 8th, and Biology 1 will continue to be aligned to the PASS standards for Science.

Educator Opportunities:

Brett Moulding PD Series Coming to OKC Public Schools:

Exciting free professional development opportunity to support teachers in transitioning to the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science. Brett Moulding, one of the authors of The Framework for K-12 Science Education, will be coming to Oklahoma City public schools to deliver a series of professional development around transitioning to the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science. OKC public schools is offering a few spots to other districts and teachers in the state. This unique opportunity provides teaches with a total of eight days of intense professional development (see dates below). Did I mention it’s FREE? Substitute and  travel costs for teachers who wish to attend will be up to the sending district.

Contact Lesa Rohrer at llrohrer@okcps.org if you are interested in participating in the series of professional development being offered. Spaces are limited, so contact Lesa today if your are interested!

First PD Date:

August 27th or 28th – Choose from one of the dates

8:30 – 4:30

OKC Metro – Tech Spring Lake Campus

            Remaining PD Dates in the Series:

October 22nd -23rd – Two-day session

December 3rd or 4th – Choose from one of the dates

March 17h – 18th: Two-day session

June 2nd and 3rd: Two-day session

 

More! Rocks in Your Head!

One-day workshop Saturday, October 3rd in Tulsa.

8:30-3:30

Grade 3-8

See  More! Rocks in Your Head! flyer  for details.

 

Project Wet Workshops

Project Wet Workshops are being offered around the state again this year.

See the attached Project_Wet_Workshops flyer for details.

Botball Grants

The Oklahoma State Department of Education is happy to announce our wonderful partners in the world of Robotics are now accepting applications for funding to launch or sustain robotics programs in your school! See Details below:

Botball & Junior Botball (due Sept 30) http://www.ok.gov/sde/oksde-botball-grant

NSTA Free Journal Articles

Science and Children: Dig Into Fossils

Science and Children: Ring! Ring! Science is Calling

Science Scope: Exploring Sound: Using Tablets in Middle School Science

The Science Teacher: Making Molecular Movies

Stay Connected:

Social Media:

Twitter: @tiffanyneill

Facebook: #OKSci

Hashtags: #oksde #OKSci #OKSTEM

Sign Up for a Twitter account: https://twitter.com/

Accessing Archived Science Messages:

You can access Archived Science Messages I’ve sent out since March via the Oklahoma Science Teachers Association (OSTA) website. Scroll down to see previous posts.

Science Listserv:

Please encourage others to register for the science listserv and pass along the following registration link. If you would like to be removed from the listserv you can also do that via the link below.

Register for Science Listserv

As always, please feel free to contact me with any questions you may have!

– Tiffany

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Explore Entomology in Oklahoma!

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Don’t miss the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology’s OSU Insect Adventure!

Meet live insects and their relatives up close and personal! Get answers to all those questions that have been “bugging” you about the world’s largest group of animals from a professional entomologist. A hands-on activity you’ll be sure to remember and talk about for a long time.

Presentations

presentations

The Insect Adventure is extremely flexible when it comes to presentations; if you can dream it, we can bug it.  Festivals, fairs, 4-H, schools, Scouts, birthdays, Halloween events, and so much more are perfect for the Insect Adventure!

Presentations may be held at the Insect Adventure facility or scheduled at any location across Oklahoma.

The Insect Adventure schedule fills up very quickly–especially April-September–so we recommend booking early!

For all sit-down events (classroom-sized presentations and birthday parties) we suggest ages 4+. Children must be able to sit quietly for at least 30 minutes during presentations. Presentations involve live animals and to insure their safety and protection we do not allow free-roaming around the room during presentations. If children cannot remain seated during presentations, the live animals must be put away, but activities and crafts will be brought out instead.

Typically, presentations fall into 4 categories:

  1. Classroom-sized groups. Recommended group size is 20 to 40 individuals. This type of presentation can last from 30 minutes to 2 hours, depending on the size and age of the group. The group sits and insects are passed around from person to person. Questions and touching are encouraged. A large amount of information is given on each insect presented. This presentation can be held at either the Insect Adventure facility in Stillwater or on location. Several presentations may be scheduled sequentially.
  2. Large Events. This type of presentation may last for as long as the organizer chooses. Three to six tables are set up with the insects and labels on display and people pass by at their own speed.  Insects may be touched, but will not be brought out of the display containers. Such events usually include County Fairs, State Fairs, Festivals, etc. Group size may be unlimited.
  3. Birthday Parties. Birthday Parties usually take place on Saturdays and last for 2 hours. During these parties, a live Insect Petting Zoo Presentation will be included along with time for the party-goers to explore exhibits, ask questions about our bugs, and play outside. Tables for gifts and treats are provided.
  4. Open Hours. 1st and 3rd Saturdays of every month (except State Holidays), The Insect Adventure will have open hours to the general public from 10 am to 2 pm. The usual $2 charge will be applied; however appointments are not necessary, as the format is come-and-go at your own pace.

Scheduling a visit to the Insect Adventure facility in Stillwater:

  • By appointment only
  • Approximately 1 hour
  • 20-40 people per group
  • $2 per person

Scheduling a visit from the Insect Adventure at your event anywhere in Oklahoma: 

  • $200 for up to 4 hour block of presentations (if your presentations are at multiple locations, travel between locations and set up time must be included in the block)
  • Additional $100 for more than 4 hours (2-hr increments)
  • Additional $50 travel charge outside of Payne County up to 100 miles
  • Additional $100 travel charge for over 100 miles
  • $200 for Birthday Parties off-site (we will bring a craft or activity too!)

EXAMPLE: If you are a teacher in Oklahoma City or Tulsa, having the Zoo come to your classroom for a whole day of 50-minute presentations (7 presentations from 8 am-2 pm) would cost $350.

Scheduling a Birthday Party at the Insect Adventure:

  • By appointment only
  • 2-hour duration
  • $100 per party
  • Normally on Saturdays

**A pre-paid deposit is NOT required.

To schedule with the Insect Adventure:


** Please keep in mind that the Insect Adventure depends on presentation income, donations, and grants to function. There are many ways to raise the funds required to get the bug zoo to your event! If you need help, please explore the options below:

You can request funding from organizations such as: Local banks, Local businesses, PTA Associations, Educational Field Trip Grants,and County Extension Offices.

If you need help writing a grant, Dr. Shufran (andrine@okstate.edu) would be happy to provide you a short write-up of why the Insect Adventure would be a great opportunity to benefit your event.

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Oklahoma’s Outstanding Biology Teacher Awardee for 2015

Owasso Mid High School Teacher Peggy Alexander

Congratulations to Oklahoma’s 2015 Outstanding Biology Teacher Award recipient, Owasso Mid High School teacher, Peggy Alexander. She began her teaching career in 1988; and has taught at Lomega High School and Watonga High School before moving to Owasso in 2008 where she presently teaches Pre-AP Biology and Biology I. Peggy Alexandergraduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University with a BS in Medical Technology in 1977 and a Masters in Secondary Education in 1991. She worked for a few years in as a medical technologist before getting certified to teach in 1987. She became a Nationally Board Certified Teacher of AYA Science in 2000 and recertified in 2010. Her list of accomplishments, workshops attended and facilitated, and committees served on and lead, make one think she has done very little sleeping since she became a teacher.

Peggy is a frequent attendee at both NABT and NSTA conferences since 1995 and encouraged others to attend. She has an impressively long list of accomplishments and experiences as a teacher. To list a few, she presented at several of national conferences and is often a presenter at OSTA Fall Conferences. She has traveled to Cold Spring Harbor to take part in the “DNA Bootcamp” and has spent several weeks doing research at OMRF and at Princeton with the Woodrow Wilson Leadership Foundation as a teacher/scholar. She has literally changed the way students learn by incorporating computer and wireless technology at her rural school and is changing the way other teachers teach as one of the Oklahoma’s five STEM master teachers.

Ms. Alexander is a valuable asset to the State of Oklahoma as she seldom allows any opportunity to pass when she can help others; be it her students or mentoring other teachers. “It feels great to have made a difference in the lives of many student, teachers and community members by having been in the right places at the right times, doing the right thing!” Her philosophy of teaching centers on getting students engaged in science and training them to become critical thinkers by practicing the skills and learning to gather evidence. She uses discrepant events and peer review to hone each student’s ability to understand scientific thought. She makes sure no one is left out of class discussions by using fun classroom strategies to include all students and tackles student misconceptions by encouraging them to continually collect and assess evidence.

“My goal has always been to use my training and zest for life to influence students to be the very best individuals and citizens that they can possibly be!” Because of Peggy Alexander’s incredible teaching career and the example of excellence she sets for her students and colleagues she is a very worthy recipient of Oklahoma’s Outstanding Biology Teacher Award.

Every year, the Outstanding Biology Teacher Award (OBTA) program attempts to recognize an outstanding biology educator (grades 7-12 only) in each of the 50 states; Washington, DC; Canada; Puerto Rico; and overseas territories. Candidates for this award do not have to be NABT members, but they must have at least three years of public, private, or parochial school teaching experience. A major portion of the nominee’s career must have been devoted to the teaching of biology/life science, and candidates are judged on their teaching ability and experience, cooperativeness in the school and community, inventiveness, initiative, and student-teacher relationships. OBTA recipients are special guests of Carolina Biology Supply Company at the Honors Luncheon held at the NABT Professional Development Conference, receive gift certificates from Carolina Biological Supply Company, resources from other sponsors, and award certificates and complimentary one-year membership from NABT.

If you know an outstanding biology teacher you would like to nominate, please contact Oklahoma’s OBTA Director, Kay Gamble at kaygamble@gmail.com to nominate them. Self-nominations are encouraged!

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NCSE Weekly Update – 7.24.15: NO SENATE RESOLUTION ON CLIMATE EDUCATION

logo_new_final_medDear friends of NCSE,

A proposed resolution on climate science education fails to reach the Senate floor.

When the United States Senate passed the Every Child Achieves Act of 2015 on July 16, 2015, a proposed resolution acknowledging the scientific evidence for climate change and affirming the importance of climate science education was not included.

The resolution (SA 2175), proposed by Edward Markey (D-Massachussetts), described the scientific evidence for human-induced climate change as “overwhelming and undeniable” and affirmed that “instruction in climate science is important for all students and should not be prohibited by any unit of State or local government.”

The resolution never reached the Senate floor. Two further amendments concerning climate change education were proposed, but as NCSE previously reported, one (SA 2176) was rejected on a floor vote and one (SA 2144) was withdrawn without a vote.

For the three amendments, visit:

https://www.congress.gov/amendment/114th-congress/senate-amendment/2175

https://www.congress.gov/amendment/114th-congress/senate-amendment/2176

https://www.congress.gov/amendment/114th-congress/senate-amendment/2144

And for NCSE’s previous coverage of events at the national level, visit:

http://ncse.com/news/national

Thanks for reading. And don’t forget to visit NCSE’s website— http://ncse.com — where you can always find the latest news on evolution and climate education and threats to them.

Sincerely,

Glenn Branch

Deputy Director

National Center for Science Education, Inc.

420 40th Street, Suite 2

Oakland, CA 94609-2509

510-601-7203 x303

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Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching Program

Announcing the launch of the 2016-2017 Fulbright Distinguished Awards in Teaching (DA) Program Online Application for K-12 teachers! dafy11sachristieblick

Are you a U.S.:

  • Primary and/or secondary classroom teacher?
  • Guidance counselor?
  • Curriculum specialist?
  • Curriculum head?
  • Talented and Gifted coordinator?
  • Special Education coordinator?
  • Media specialist/librarian?

You may be eligible to participate in a unique international professional development opportunity for 3-6 months through the Fulbright Program!

By conducting educational research abroad, U.S. teachers gain new skills, learn new instructional methods and assessment methodologies and share best practices with international colleagues and students. Teachers also have the opportunity to expand their understanding of other cultures and international education systems that will enrich their U.S. schools and local communities with global perspectives.

Teachers may travel to:

Botswana, Chile, Finland, India, Israel, Mexico, Morocco, the Netherlands, New Zealand, the Palestinian Territories, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, the United Kingdom, and Vietnam

*Countries are still pending and may change. Please visit the program website for updates.

CLICK HERE TO START YOUR APPLICATION TODAY!

Application deadline: November 4, 2015

Eligibility Requirements: www.fulbrightteacherexchange.org

This program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and is administered by the Institute of International Education.

 

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Evolution and Climate Change Update – 7.17.2015

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UPDATE FROM THE SENATE

Two of the three amendments concerning climate change education under consideration are out of commission as the United States Senate continues to discuss a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

A proposed amendment (SA 2176) to establish the Climate Change Education Act, which would have instituted a competitive grant program aimed in part at developing and improving educational material and teacher training on the topic of climate change, was rejected on a 44-53 vote on July 15, 2015.

The amendment was proposed by Edward Markey (D-Massachussetts), who was quoted by the Washington Post (July 15, 2015) as saying, “The children of our country deserve the best scientific education they can get on this topic … They are the future leaders of this country and the world. They must be equipped.”

Lamar Alexander (R-Tennessee), however, argued against the federal government’s involvement in curriculum and instruction, warning, “Just imagine what the curriculum on climate change would be if we shifted from President Obama to President Cruz and then back to President Sanders and then to President Trump.”

Meanwhile, a proposed amendment (SA 2144) that would have directed the administrators of EPA and NOAA to provide state and local educational agencies with “balanced, objective resources on climate theory,” proposed by Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi), was withdrawn without a vote on July 15, 2015. Wicker was the sole dissenter to a resolution “that climate change is real and not a hoax” that was before the Senate in 2015, as National Public Radio (January 23, 2015) reported, and among dozens of senators that dissented from a similar amendment that acknowledged human influence on climate change.

Still under consideration is a resolution (SA 2175) that refers to the scientific evidence for human-induced climate change as “overwhelming and undeniable” and holds that “instruction in climate science is important for all students and should not be prohibited by any unit of State or local government.”

“Passage of SA 2175 would put the Senate on record as firmly supporting climate change education,” NCSE’s executive director Ann Reid commented. “I urge you to get in touch with your senators and express your support for the resolution.”

For the three amendments, visit:

https://www.congress.gov/amendment/114th-congress/senate-amendment/2176

https://www.congress.gov/amendment/114th-congress/senate-amendment/2144

https://www.congress.gov/amendment/114th-congress/senate-amendment/2175

For the story in the Washington Post, visit:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/education/the-specter-of-president-trump-dooms-climate-change-ed-grants/2015/07/15/8a969df2-2b28-11e5-a5ea-cf74396e59ec_story.html

For the story from National Public Radio, visit:

http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/01/23/379242432/senate-says-climate-change-real-but-not-really-our-fault

And for NCSE’s action alert, visit:

http://ncse.com/taking-action/tell-your-senators-support-climate-change-education

DAVID M. RAUP DIES

The paleontologist David M. Raup died on July 9, 2015, at the age of 82, according to a press release from the University of Chicago (July 14, 2015). The press release explains, “Raup was widely known for the new approaches he brought repeatedly to paleontology, such as extensive computation, modern evolutionary biology, theoretical ecology, and mathematical modeling.” Raup was also a pedagogical innovator: Principles of Paleontology (1971, 1978), his textbook coauthored with Steven M. Stanley, focused on paleontological methods rather than adopting a systematic or historical approach. To the public, he was famous for his popular books explaining his views on periodicities in mass extinctions: The Nemesis Affair (1985) and Extinction: Bad Genes or Bad Luck? (1991).

A vivid and candid writer, Raup was often misleadingly quoted by creationists. For example, a supposedly antievolutionary phrase from a 1979 essay of his—“we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transitions than we had in Darwin’s time”—is still in circulation, although in context it is clear that Raup was talking about such evolutionary transitions as driven by natural selection alone; in the same article, he writes, “This record of change pretty clearly demonstrates that evolution has occurred if we define evolution simply as change; but it does not tell us how this change took place, and that is really the question.” Raup contributed a chapter on “The Geological and Paleontological Arguments of Creationism” to Laurie R. Godfrey’s Scientists Confront Creationism (1984), in which he commented, “[Duane] Gish … has popularized the notion that the rocks and the fossils say NO to evolution. As I will show here, the rocks and the fossils say YES to evolution!” Later in his life, Raup was apparently intrigued by the “intelligent design” movement, reportedly having a better opinion of Phillip Johnson’s scholarship than did his colleague Stephen Jay Gould.

Raup was born in Boston on April 24, 1933. He received his B.S. from the University of Chicago in 1953 and his M.A. and Ph.D. in geology from Harvard University in 1955 and 1957. He taught at Caltech and the John Hopkins University before becoming a professor of geology at the University of Rochester from 1966 to 1978. Returning to Chicago, he was curator of geology from 1978 to 1980 and dean of science from 1980 to 1982 at the Field Museum of Natural History. He also joined the Department of the Geophysical Sciences at the University of Chicago in 1980, becoming emeritus in 1995. His honors included the Paleontological Society’s Charles Schuchert Award in 1973, election to the National Academy of Sciences in 1979, and the Paleontological Society Medal in 1995.

For the University of Chicago’s press release, visit:

http://news.uchicago.edu/article/2015/07/14/david-raup-paleontologist-who-transformed-his-discipline-1933-2015

A PREVIEW OF DIRE PREDICTIONS

NCSE is pleased to offer a free preview of Michael E. Mann and Lee R. Kump’s Dire Predictions: Understanding Climate Change (second edition, DK Publishing, 2015). The preview includes brief chapters on “Taking action in the face of uncertainty,” “Greenhouse gases on the rise,” “How does modern warming differ from past warming trends?” “How to build a climate model,” “How sensitive is the climate?” “The highway to extinction?” “Where do all those emissions come from?” “Geoengineering,” “But what can I do about it?” and “The known unknowns & unknown unknowns.”

The publisher writes, “Dire Predictions is a must-read for anyone interested in understanding global warming and climate change … Updated to include the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Dire Predictions dives into the information documented by the IPCC in an illustrated, visually-stunning, and undeniably powerful way.” A member of NCSE’s Advisory Council and a recipient of NCSE’s Friend of the Planet award in 2014, Mann is Distinguished Professor of Meteorology at Pennsylvania State University; Kump is Professor of Geosciences at Pennsylvania State University.

For the preview of Dire Predictions (PDF), visit:

http://ncse.com/book-excerpt

For information about the book from its publisher, visit:

http://www.dk.com/us/9781465433640-dire-predictions/

Thanks for reading. And don’t forget to visit NCSE’s website— http://ncse.com — where you can always find the latest news on evolution and climate education and threats to them.

Sincerely,

 

Glenn Branch

Deputy Director

National Center for Science Education, Inc.

 

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NCSE Evolution and Climate Change Update – 7.10.15

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CLIMATE CHANGE EDUCATION IN THE SENATE

Climate change education is suddenly under discussion in the United States Senate, the National Journal (July 9, 2015) reports, with the introduction of dueling amendments to a bill to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965.

A proposed amendment (SA 2144) from Roger Wicker (R-Mississippi) would direct the administrators of EPA and NOAA to provide state and local educational agencies with “balanced, objective resources on climate theory,” including material on “the natural causes and cycles of climate change … the uncertainties inherent in climate modeling … and … the myriad factors that influence the climate of the Earth.”

Wicker was the sole dissenter to a sense-of-the-Senate amendment “that climate change is real and not a hoax” that was before the Senate in 2015, as National Public Radio (January 23, 2015) reported, and among dozens of senators that dissented from a similar amendment that acknowledged human influence on climate change. Human influence is conspicuously unmentioned in SA 2144, the new amendment.

“It would be marvelous for educational materials from these agencies to be more widely used in our schools, because those materials of course reflect the scientific consensus that humans are largely responsible for recent climate change,” commented NCSE’s executive director Ann Reid. “But I’m concerned that Senator Wicker’s amendment is intended to hijack the federal government’s scientific expertise in the service of climate denial.”

Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) introduced two amendments seemingly to counter Wicker’s. The first (SA 2175) is a sense-of-the-Senate amendment that refers to the scientific evidence for human-induced climate change as “overwhelming and undeniable” and holds that “instruction in climate science is important for all students and should not be prohibited by any unit of State or local government.”

The second of Markey’s proposed amendments (SA 2176) would establish the Climate Change Education Act. Acknowledging the importance of education about climate change “to ensure the future generation of leaders is well-informed about the challenges facing our planet,” the amendment would institute a competitive grant program aimed in part at developing and improving educational material and teacher training on the topic of climate change.

NCSE’s Reid applauded both amendments. “Senator Markey’s sense-of-the-Senate amendment puts the Senate in line with the best science available, which is laudable. But the Climate Change Education Act is simply splendid. It puts the federal government’s money where its mouth is—and where, in a time when the effects of human-induced climate change are becoming more visible and more disruptive, it ought to be.”

According to the National Journal, referring to Wicker’s amendment and Markey’s pair of amendments alike, “It is unclear whether the amendments will see a vote. They are not slated to be taken up when the Senate votes on a series of amendments to the education bill Thursday [i.e., July 9, 2015], but votes will continue next week and the provisions could come up then.” NCSE is monitoring their progress.

“Everyone who cares about the integrity of science education in the United States needs to get in touch with their senators, expressing their opposition to SA 2144 and their support for SA 2175 and SA 2176,” Reid urged.

For the story in the National Journal, visit:

http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/climate-change-no-child-left-behind-20150709

For the text of the three amendments, visit:

https://www.congress.gov/congressional-record/2015/07/08/senate-section/article/S4845-1

For the story from National Public Radio, visit:

http://www.npr.org/sections/itsallpolitics/2015/01/23/379242432/senate-says-climate-change-real-but-not-really-our-fault

And for NCSE’s action alert, visit:

http://ncse.com/taking-action/tell-your-senators-support-climate-change-education

 

Thanks for reading. And don’t forget to visit NCSE’s website— http://ncse.com — where you can always find the latest news on evolution and climate education and threats to them.

Glenn Branch

Deputy Director

National Center for Science Education, Inc.

420 40th Street, Suite 2

Oakland, CA 94609-2509

510-601-7203 x303

fax: 510-601-7204

800-290-6006

branch@ncse.com

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OSTA Meet-ups

Calling all Science Educators! The Oklahoma Science Teachers Association (OSTA) is coming to town near you to pilot a new approach to outreach. OSTA Meet-Ups are a great opportunity to collaborate with OSTA members and other science educators from your area to develop resources and gain strategies for science teaching and learning. OSTA Meet-Ups are intended for all teachers K-12.

This year the OSTA Meet-Ups will focus on supporting science educators with implementation of the new Oklahoma Academic Standards for Science.

In addition to the support provided by OSTA members and fellow science educators, Tiffany Neill, the Director of Science Education from the Oklahoma State Department of Education will be in attendance to support topic groups with their work.

You won’t want to miss this exciting opportunity to connect and collaborate with science educators in Oklahoma!

Sign-up here:  https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1GH14xt9KkDU2Y6zGAN0GZAZiLPiwYXF3MJ63RjUzNZo/viewform?usp=send_form

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