Ruxz_M-rbu5hJUPoenSULdy6Wzk The Science of My Life: December 2013

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Skywatch: Super Moon or Super Tiny Moon: Can You Tell the Difference?

Tis the season for many to remember that a star in the heavens announced a global event.  We still have lots of discoveries out there to make, and I am glad I have Chris Anderson to help me be more aware of the sky throughout the year!

Skywatch: Super Moon or Super Tiny Moon: Can You Tell the Difference?

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Girls and Computer Science

This is a great article about the abilities and opportunities for all children, but it emphasizes once again the challenge we have getting girls engaged in STEM fields.  No pun intended.  I remember years ago I attended a challenging 2 week computer science camp while still in high school, and we were all exposed to a new world of languages and programming.  This was in the late 80's, so I came back to my school with skills that served me well, along with college credit in COMP 143.   I would sit in our basic computer class as a Senior and write code for all the other students...good ol' Pascal.

I love that this article mentions the CSI effect.  My school is famous!  :)  I met a girl today who has a double major from UI in fire ecology and forestry management, and is still taking classes for fun and further training.   In my visit with her, I was immediately impressed with her.  Probably because my friend Bill told me she is awesome so she must be!  Girls, get out there and find your passion!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Science Literacy article

Please, whoever is out there reading this blog that I never have time to write for anymore, take 10 minutes to read this great article.

A few years ago, I read "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks."  I really responded to the whole experience from the author's point of view.  It was very difficult to imagine what it would have been like for the Lacks's family, then and now.  I assigned the book to my college students who are on a path to biology majors, and I recommended it to my nonmajor students who are just as capable of understanding the relevance of this story.

I love teaching students of all ages.  But I am drawn to the adult population because the lessons I teach them can be immediately passed to other family members around the dinner table.  It can immediately impact their choices and knowledge base as they try to understand their medical histories and futures.  And I love it when a random comment or example in class turns on light bulbs in their heads.

Now, I recognized that this subject is important to me.  Others are just as passionate about history and politics, math literacy, economics, civil responsibilities and law, arts and philosophy, and all the wonderful areas of knowledge that exist.  Good for them.  May I be as willing to be literate in those subjects as I am asking my friends, family, and students to be in science.  It really does all matter.

Here are a few images from an activity I do in Biology class called Iron Scientist.  The groups are given a topic and a secret ingredient to use as they demonstrate and teach the rest of the class.  For instance, balloons become the frame of a Punnett Square and they teach us a genetics cross.  By far one of my favorite days in class.