November 30th, 2009 Bob
From the National Center for Science Education http://ncseweb.org
Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species was published on November 24, 1859, and the sesquicentennial festivities are everywhere! In addition to Steve Jones’s summary of the Origin for New Scientist, the British Council and the Open University’s webcast on “Darwin, the Origin, and the Future of Biology,” and the National Science Foundation’s new website on Evolution of Evolution: 150 Years of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (described below), here is a sampling of further articles and resources about the anniversary and its significance.
E. O. Wilson contributed a selection from his speech for the “Darwin, the Origin, and the Future of Biology” event to the Independent (November 24, 2009), writing, “Great scientific discoveries are like sunrises. … In fact, nothing in science as a whole has been more firmly established by interwoven factual information, or more illuminating[,] than the universal occurrence of biological evolution. Further, few natural processes have been more convincingly explained than evolution by the theory of natural selection, or as it has been popularly called, Darwinism.”
Lauri Lebo, the author of The Devil in Dover: An Insider’s Story of Dogma v. Darwin in Small-Town America (New Press, 2008) contributed “Single Greatest Idea Ever: On the 150th Anniversary of Darwin’s Origin of Species” to Religion Dispatches (November 24, 2009). “A century and a half after the publication of Darwin’s foundational work, attacks on his ideas continue—including evangelicals distributing a newly altered version. But it will take more than banana-wielding fundamentalism to undermine the validity of evolutionary theory.”
Also at Religion Dispatches (November 24, 2009), Edward J. Larson, the Pulitzer-Prize-winning author of Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America’s Continuing Debate over Science and Religion (Basic Books, 1997) contributed “’I Had No Intention to Write Atheistically’:
Darwin, God, and the 2500-Year History of the Debate.” “The argument between science and theology is as old as ancient Greece, where scientific rationalism first flourished, but it was revived with the advent of Darwinism.” Look for Larson’s pastiche of Aristophanes’ The Clouds toward the end!
In the Washington Post’s On Faith column (November 24, 2009), Deborah Heiligman, the author of Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith (Henry Holt, 2008), a 2009 National Book Award finalist, offers “A dozen reasons to celebrate Darwin”—noting both that “Charles Darwin was a genius. He had a great idea—evolution by natural selection— that has withstood the test of time” and also that “Charles Darwin was a hard worker… He took years and years to perfect his theory so that it would be as airtight as possible.” She concludes, “We should teach our children about Charles Darwin.”
In Newsweek (November 23, 2009), Mary Carmichael argues in “Nature’s Little Scientists” for teaching evolution to young children, writing, “Without evolution, biology isn’t really science—it’s just memorization—and our kids, even the littlest ones, deserve a more interesting introduction to the natural world than that. It’s time we gave it to them.” Among the innovative resources mentioned are the Charlie’s Playhouse line of evolution-focused educational toys and the Concord Consortium’s interactive, technology-driven fourth-grade curriculum called Evolution Readiness.
NCSE Supporter Sean B. Carroll inaugurated his new Remarkable Creatures column in The New York Times with “In snails and snakes, features to delight Darwin” (November 24, 2009). “Darwin’s genius was in finding great general truths among the details of humble, often obscure creatures,” he observed. Be sure also to visit the Times’s interactive version of the Origin: “As with many original sources, it is known mostly by reputation but Darwin’s writing can still offer surprises, insights and pleasures. It can be sampled here, with selections by prominent scientists of their favorite passages.”
And the Darwin Manuscripts Project at the American Museum of National History is celebrating the anniversary by uploading thousands high quality images of Darwin’s scientific manuscripts and notes to its website. David Kohn, director and general editor of the Darwin Manuscripts Project, told Live Science (November 23, 2009), “These rare manuscript leaves from Origin are the crown jewels of our project and show Darwin in the process of writing. … I’ve sat in the Cambridge University Library since 1974, touching these documents, but this is the first time that anyone can do this—online in this quantity and with this quality.”
For E. O. Wilson’s reflections on the Origin, visit:
For Lauri Lebo’s essay, visit:
For Edward J. Larson’s essay, visit:
For Deborah Heiligman’s essay, visit:
For Mary Carmichael’s story, visit:
For Charlie’s Playhouse, visit:
For the Concord Consortium’s Evolution Readiness, visit:
For Sean B. Carroll’s column, visit:
For the Times’s interactive Origin, visit:
For the AMNH’s Darwin Manuscripts Project, visit:
For the Live Science story, visit:
November 24th, 2009 Bob
By Deborah Heiligman
author (from The Washington Post’s “On Faith” Forum, November 24, 2009)
This is Darwin’s year. We celebrated his 200th birthday in February and this month is the 150th anniversary of publication of “The Origin of the Species”. Sadly there are still misconceptions about Charles Darwin and his science, falsehoods that are spread, making people scared to teach children about him. But we most certainly should teach our children about Darwin. Here is a primer I hope will convince:
1. Charles Darwin was not an atheist. He struggled with his faith for most of his life, as do many of us. He respected faith, and people of faith. In fact, his wife Emma was deeply religious, and talked with him throughout their marriage about God.
2. You can find God in “The Origin of the Species.” Darwin put God into his great book, not in the first edition, but in the second and every one thereafter. The last sentence reads, “There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one….”
3. Charles Darwin was a loving, caring father and a very kind man. Not a meanie, as someone one said to me (“survival of the fittest and all that.”), but a softie. His children ran in and out of his study looking for rulers and scissors and tape. He hugged his children, bathed them when they were babies, and let them jump on the sofa, even though it was against the rules.
4. Charles Darwin was a genius. He had a great idea–evolution by natural selection– that has withstood the test of time. He did not get that idea in a Eureka moment in the Galapagos. It was only after he left, on his way home that he started to think about the finches and mockingbirds and their beaks.
5. Charles Darwin was a hard worker. When he was interested in something he gave it his all (as a child he wasn’t that interested in school). He was extremely organized and methodical. He took years and years to perfect his theory so that it would be as airtight as possible. He anticipated the objections and addressed them in his book in a chapter called “Difficulties with the Theory.”
6. The word THEORY in science does not mean “just a theory.” It means the analysis of a set of facts.
7. Darwin hated to offend and he hated controversy. In “The Origin of Species” you will see that in his voice. It pained him to think that he might cause anyone discomfort or hurt. That’s why he sat on his theory for decades.
8. Darwin never said that humans evolved from apes. This is a basic misunderstanding of evolution. Humans and apes have a common ancestor. Recently scientists found an early human ancestor. In the tradition of Darwin they worked for years to put together the pieces.
9. Charles and Emma Darwin had a long and close marriage even though they disagreed about religion. The marriage survived the deaths of three children. When their 10-year-old daughter Annie died, in 1851, their hearts broke, but not their marriage. Why? They talked to each other, working hard to see each other’s point of view.
10. Charles Darwin had champions among his religious colleagues and friends. Here in America Asa Gray, the botanist, championed Darwin’s theory, leaving room for God in the process. And at home Emma was his first reader and best editor. She did not seek to dilute his argument in The Origin. In fact, she cleaned up his language (and his spelling and punctuation) to make the prose stronger.
11. Charles Darwin was one of the real Good Guys in history. It’s true that he published the Origin after he found out that Alfred Russell Wallace also had the same idea. It was the thing that pushed him to finally publish, after decades of sitting on his work (because he did not want to rock the boat). But first he had his paper and Wallace’s published together. Then he wrote his book.
12. Charles Darwin is a great role model. He was a genius who worked hard. He was a loving father and husband. His kids adored him. So did his friends. He was honored by his country when he died.
We should teach our children about Charles Darwin.
Deborah Heiligman is author of the new book, “Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith,” a 2009 National Book Award finalist
November 24th, 2009 Bob
November 24, 2009 is the 150th anniversary of the publication of Origin of Species by Natural Selection and a reminder that all (or most) of Darwin’s writings are online at http://darwin-online.org.uk/. By the way, the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History’s exhibit on Darwin is still on display, including including a very rare first edition!
Online since 2002, The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online (or Darwin Online) is the largest and most widely consulted edition of the writings of Darwin ever published. More copies of Darwin’s works have been downloaded from Darwin Online than have been printed by all publishers combined.
This website contains over 87,000 pages of searchable text and 207,000 electronic images, at least one exemplar of all known Darwin publications, reproduced to the highest scholarly standards, both as searchable text and electronic images of the originals. The majority of these have been edited and annotated for the first time with thousands of original editorial notes.
Darwin’s unpublished letters are the focus of the Correspondence of Charles Darwin (1985-).
The works reproduced here were lent by helpful institutions and individuals. Some of the books are worth over £100,000 ($200,000), which means that few libraries can afford to collect all of Darwin’s works.
The site also provides the largest collection of Darwin’s private papers ever published: c. 20,000 items in c. 100,000 images, thanks to the kind permission of Cambridge University Library. Thus Darwin Online makes available not only Darwin’s published science, but the notes and data collected to create it.
The pilot website, The writings of Charles Darwin on the web (2002-6), was replaced in October 2006 with the launch of this website. The launch became an international media sensation—reported on television, radio, newspapers, magazines and the internet, reaching an estimated 400 million people. The site was swamped with millions of hits in the first 48 hours. Since then the site has been accessed by tens of millions of readers and from every country in the world.
All of Darwin’s unpublished manuscripts are being scanned, transcribed or both, if reproduction permission can be obtained. All previously published manuscript transcriptions are included (except where reproduction permission could not be obtained). Overall the site provides the world’s largest collection of material on and by Darwin- almost all of it online only here.
The distinguishing features and innovations on Darwin Online are outlined below:
• The first complete collection of all Darwin’s publications. Many have never been reproduced and almost all appear online for the first time, including many newly discovered items. See Publications.
• Each text is absolutely complete, nothing is omitted (as so often with online texts). The digitizations on Darwin Online begin with the spine of the book and include every page without exception, including end pages and publishers’ advertizements.
• Both fully formatted electronic text and images of the original document are provided. These can be viewed side-by-side.Example. Darwin’s works are also provided in PDF format for downloading and printing.
• The most comprehensive bibliography of works written by Darwin ever published (building on the work of R. B. Freeman): theFreeman bibliographical database. See also the separate bibliography of works cited on Darwin Online which is the first bibliography of the works cited in Darwin’s shorter publications.
• Translations. Darwin’s works are also available in Danish, Dutch, French, German, Greek, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, and Swedish. More languages forthcoming – donations welcome. See translations.
• Many of the books are signed by Darwin or belonged to his family: Francis Darwin’s annotated copy of Origin, Origin, Life of Erasmus Darwin, Coral reefs or Flowers.
• The largest collection of Darwin’s manuscripts and private papers ever published. Click here. Many never before published transcriptions, such as the field notebook used on the Galapagos islands or his Beagle animal notes and his student bills from Christ’s College, Cambridge.
• The largest union catalogue of Darwin’s many handwritten manuscripts and private papers ever assembled (based primarily on theCambridge University Library catalogue by Nick Gill) – but including twenty cooperative institutions around the world. Manuscript catalogue.
An extract from Darwin’s barnacle notes.
• Added value: Supplementary Works by others which are relevant to studying and understanding Darwin and his context are also provided, such as contemporary reviews of his books (the largest collection ever published) or obituaries and recollections of Darwin (again the largest collection ever published).
Darwin Online also contains the most complete list ever published of scientific descriptions of Darwin’s Beagle specimens by other scientists. See specimens.
• New editorial introductions are being written to help readers understand Darwin’s work and context. All of Darwin’s shorter publications, the majority of his published items, have been edited and annotated here for the first time.
• New items are still being discovered and added to the site as well as further editions and translations when copies of the originals become available. These and other newly added materials are listed on the what’s new page — the site is updated almost daily.
• Although Darwin Online is a scholarly resource, jargon and unhelpful abbreviations have been avoided and a major works page provides an accessible overview.
• Audio Darwin: Darwin’s works available as free mp3 downloads for the blind, vision impaired and audio book readers.
• The historical works and database are fully searchable. Searches can be limited by name, date, title and so forth, in addition to a powerful battery of advanced search options. See Search and Search help.
• Page counters on every page. Every document in Darwin Online displays its own hit counter, allowing one to see how often each has been accessed.
• It’s completely free of charge!
November 24th, 2009 Bob
Just a reminder that the deadline for our EE License Tag Grant applications is coming up in one week. It is really not that difficult to write … just follow the instructions on the RFP (request for proposals) here: http://www.deq.state.ok.us/pubs/lpd/eegrant09.pdf
$20,000 will be distributed in 2010, with each grant amount between $200 and $1,000.
Grant categories are:
* Environmental Club Project
* Edible Gardens
* EE Projects
* Outdoor Classroom Revitalization
* Green Schools
November 23rd, 2009 Bob
On Monday, President Obama announced the establishment of National Lab Day, a new science education initiative aimed at improving labs and inquiry-based science experiences for students in grades 612.
Designed to increase community-based collaborations between scientists, engineers, teachers and students, National Lab Day emerged from collaboration earlier this year among NSTA, the American Chemical Society (ACS), the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Jack D. Hidary Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation.
National Lab Day will bring together stakeholders in communities of support where science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professionals and teachers can work together to assess current labs, update or refurbish lab equipment, conduct equipment and materials inventory, clean and repair equipment, and provide technology support. Projects can also center on computer or outdoor labsanywhere where hands-on lessons in the STEM subjects can come alive.
The first National Lab Day is tentatively scheduled for early May 2010. For more information about National Lab Day, visit the official website at www.nationallabday.org.
New York Times article on National Lab Day
About National Lab Day (PDF)
NSTA’s official statement regarding the President’s announcement
November 20th, 2009 Bob
Date: Thursday January 28th, 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m.
Location: OKC Zoo & Botanical Gardens, 2101 NE 50thOKC, OK 73111
RSVP to: email@example.com (512.934.4760)
A Nurtured World Inc., a non-profit organization, has been funded by the USEPA to provide training for Oklahoma teachers on our Consumer Conservation curricula that has been correlated in detail to Oklahoma State Standards for 6th – 8th grade science, math, and English language arts. The workshop provides teachers with curricula for teaching students about their personal behavior and the environment (i.e. consumer conservation). The curriculum is completely transferable to other age groups and has been taught throughout the United States to children, teenagers, and adults. Participants of this workshop have reported saving thousands of dollars and reducing their environmental impacts including:
• Average savings of $2,000 and up to $9,800 in savings per person
• Average carbon dioxide reductions of 2.1 tons per person
• Total reported savings from all participants of over $302,000; 3,261 MM Btu conserved; 597,000 gallons of water conserved; 631,000 pounds of solid waste reduced or recycled; 13,105 pounds of air pollutants eliminated (not including CO2), and 334 tons of carbon dioxide reduced.
What other teachers have said:
• “The course changed my life. I wish every teacher could go through this course”
• “Best in-service I’ve ever taken. Coverage of physical and chemical changes is best I’ve ever seen”
• “Great lessons, I can start these lessons right away”
• “Wonderful real world personal applications for a variety of ages.”
Teachers will be provided with a Teacher Guide, Student Guide, and a CD-ROM with the entire six lesson curricula including optional Power Point slides that can be used in the classroom. These guides contain reading passages for the students, discussion questions for classroom use, activities for the students including math, science, and English activities, and evaluation instruments for each lesson. Furthermore, the course will provide Action Bags that can be used in the classroom to teach the curricula, reduce environmental impacts, and save money.
• Lesson 1 – Consumer versus Industrial Environmental Impacts
• Lesson 2 – Values and the Environment
• Lesson 3 – Money and the Environment
• Lesson 4 – How The Earth Works and How You Affect the Earth
• Lesson 5 -How to Create Change
• Lesson 6 -Actions You Can Take
TULSA OK DATE COMING SOON! Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
November 20th, 2009 Bob
McDonald Observatory is happy to announce it’s Teacher Professional Development Workshops for the summer of 2010 are now online!
Most of the workshops have scholarships available for teachers, making this a very worthwhile one-of-a-kind and inexpensive experience!
Each multi-day workshop is presented onsite at McDonald Observatory under dark West Texas skies. McDonald Observatory is an active major astronomical research institution. An integral part of all programs are daily hands-on activities in a classroom setting, interaction with astronomy professionals and researchers, tours of research telescopes, night-time telescope observations (weather permitting), and lodging in the nearby Davis Mountains State Park.
All classroom activities are presented by experienced astronomy educators and are aligned with National Science Education Standards and Texas standards (TEKS). Continuing Education Credit hours are awarded to all participants.
Additionally, 2009 was designated the International Year of Astronomy (IYA) by the United Nations and UNESCO, marking the 400th anniversary of the first astronomical use of the telescope by Galileo. McDonald Observatory has been celebrating this event by offering K-12 teachers IYA content in teacher workshops as part of the international Galileo Teacher Training Program. We will continue to offer this same programming and other IYA materials throughout the 2010 workshops.
Six of the eight open-registry workshops in 2010 are aimed at middle and/or high school teachers, with topics ranging from extra-solar planets, to stellar evolution, to observing with remote telescopes, and more! Five of these six workshops have teacher scholarships available that cover instruction, materials, meals, and lodging (i.e. almost everything is paid for!). Teachers accepted into these workshops will only be financially responsible for their travel to and from the observatory. These scholarships are provided by generous funding from NASA, the National Science Foundation, The Cynthia and George Mitchell Foundation Education Endowment, The Carolyn Keenan and Charlie Gaines Endowment for McDonald Observatory Education and Outreach, and The Hugh Gragg Educational Endowment.
We have two open-registry workshop available for elementary and middle school teachers – Explore Our Solar System 1 June 25-27, 2010, and Explore Our Solar System 2 July 11-13, 2010. The fee for either of these workshops is $550, which covers all expenses (except travel). No funded scholarships are available for elementary level workshops this year. Please visit the website above for recommendations for raising funds for professional development.
Visit http://mcdonaldobservatory.org/teachers/profdev/ and follow the link to the application form. The application deadline is February 8, 2010. There is usually competition for the limited number of teacher spaces available, but there is plenty of room available right now. We also maintain waitlists for every workshop in the event that a registered teacher must cancel. Since participants are elected on the basis of merit, please fill out your application carefully, especially the essay portion. Make sure you mention your current teaching duties, and check for completeness before submitting the application.
November 18th, 2009 Bob
The 2010 Summer Session marks the 61st year since the founding of the University of Oklahoma Biological Station on Lake Texoma. Students continue to come to UOBS to experience a truly unique opportunity in field-based study while earning three hours of upper-division or graduate level lecture/lab credit during one or both of our Summer Sessions.
UOBS will host seven field-oriented courses and a lab-based molecular course during its Summer Session 2010. These courses encompass the following areas: bird ecology, forensic entomology, herpetology, mammalogy, molecular methods, reservoir fi h ecology, stream ecology and wetlands ecology.
The University of Oklahoma Biological Station is an OU campus, established in 1949. The Biological Station promotes research, teaching and educational opportunities. Download the sessions brochure here.
Summer Session 2010
May Session: May 23 — June 5
August Session: Aug. 1 — Aug. 13
Web site: ou.edu/uobs
November 18th, 2009 Bob
The new JanaGram for November is here. There are several pages of information in this month’s edition and some of it is time-sensitive. Download it today!
By the way… did you see Jana at the recent OSTA Fall Staff Development Conference? Here she is at her presentation. Look for another JanaShow from OSDE State Science Director Jana Rowland at the next OSTA Staff Development event coming this Spring!
November 17th, 2009 Bob
Need convenient and accessible professional development?
Northeastern State University is now offering online Professional Development Science Courses. These online courses are inquiry-based. Teachers do the hands-on inquiry portion in their own school science labs and discuss results online. Online lectures and activities are available as well. It is not too late to register for these online courses for the spring:
SCI 5313 Inquiry into Physical Science I (aka the Joy of Chemistry)
SCI 5413 Inquiry into Space Science
Want an M.Ed. in Science Education? Want money to pay for the degree?
These courses are part of our M.Ed. in Science Education Program. Right now all of the hours except for 9 hours of Education Courses and the Capstone Project which is completed at your school site are available online. We also have a federal TEACH Grant that will provide up to $4,000 per semester to complete the program. If you teach science in a high-need school district for at least 4 years after completing the program, you do not need to repay any of the grant.
Contact Dr. April Adams, email@example.com
or go to the program web site at: http://arapaho.nsuok.edu/~adams001/MEd%20web.htm