Archive for September, 2006
Science slid from the back burner to the front Friday at Hallmark Elementary School as students, faculty and volunteers gathered for the grand opening of a new science lab.
Principal Shereé Cagle said the idea to create a lab came after the school’s poor showing on the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test.
“Last year, only 3 percent of our students passed the science portion of the FCAT,” Cagle said. “The scores didn’t count against us then, but this year, they do. We had to get on the ball.”
Learning about outer space is cool. Eating popcorn also is cool.
Put them together, and you have a science experiment Eastway Elementary fourth-grader Micha Jordan called Friday “really cool.”
Micha and other Eastway students in Cindy Spraggins’ second-grade class and Ellen Austin’s third-grade class last year waited six months for this day.
Their “Effect of Space Conditions on Popcorn” experiment was among the 20 U.S. student proposals NASA selected in March. But it wasn’t until Aug. 26 when the eight vials of 161-177 Thrifty Maid popcorn kernels finally made it to New Mexico, where NASA loaded them on a high-altitude balloon that soared 122,000 feet — about 20,000 feet into outer space.
Skip Pierce, a professor of biology and former chairman of the University of South Florida biology department, says intelligent design is a religious doctrine that has no place in the science curriculums of public schools and universities because it has no basis in science.
“You can believe whatever religion you want,” he said. “Just don’t do science from it.”
Pierce also challenged the premise of those behind tonight’s forum.
“It’s a special interest group,” he said. “They have only one thing in mind: to prove that intelligent design has credibility.”
I am currently enrolled in college at night and creeping toward my goal of one day becoming a science teacher. Throughout the next few years I will be doing all sorts of projects, of course, and I thought it would be fun to share with you some of my science-related projects as they come up.
One of my first assigments was to find a science teacher in my community and interview him/her. I was supposed to ask specific questions and then write a short paper explaining what I found out during the interview.
What follows is that paper I turned in. I am trying to keep my science teacher subject anonymous, and, fortunately, he’s plenty interesting enough that not knowing certain specifics doesn’t detract from the end product. Enjoy!
The following statement was released to area media today:
Florida Citizens for Science Statement Denouncing “Darwin or Design” Publicity Event
A creationism event to be hosted at the Sun Dome Sept. 29, called “Darwin or Design? Resolving the Conflict,” is a great example of a slick public relations campaign attacking the scientific theory of evolution. It’s also an example of what science very clearly isn’t: narrow, negative ideological thought that doesn’t contribute to our understanding of this world in which we live.
Florida Citizens for Science denounces the intrusion into our state of the anti-science rally put on by Physicians and Surgeons for Scientific Integrity. Simply stated: this so-called conflict they want to resolve was manufactured as a deceptive publicity tool. Strong public statements opposing the intelligent design creationism charade by the National Academies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Science Teachers Association and many other scientific and educational organizations make it clear that there is no doubt about the theory of evolution in the scientific community. There is no scientific controversy. Intelligent design creationists are merely baiting real scientists into sham debates.
We welcome research that pushes through the boundaries of our current understanding. But that research takes years of dedicated effort in the field or in the lab objectively examining evidence. Intelligent design creationists have never done this in support of their intelligent design ideas. Rather than shake the foundations of the scientific community by presenting real results and evidence, they try to shortcut the process by appealing directly to the public.
Science is about discovery and exploration. The scientific method is the tool that allows us to learn more about black holes, knock out disease and track hurricanes. Science changes as new discoveries are made: consider the new definition of a planet that was prompted by newly found celestial bodies in our solar system. Mistakes are made, but the very nature of science is self-correcting. Science is a positive, driving force of advancement. Intelligent design creationism doesn’t fit anywhere within this framework.
Florida Citizens for Science is actively working on positive projects with the ultimate goal of improving science education and general science understanding. “Darwin or Design” is in direct conflict with our mission. Florida Citizens for Science members are available to discuss the intelligent design creationism con game and how it is detrimental to Florida’s future in science and education. Please visit www.flascience.org.
Science education in U.S. elementary and middle schools is overly broad and superficial, according to a government report issued Thursday that also faults science curricula for assuming children are simplistic thinkers.
Other countries such as Japan have students explore a core set of ideas, with increasing depth as they get older, it said.
“Comparisons of science standards and curricula in the United States with that of countries that perform well on international science tests reveal overly broad and superficial coverage of science topics in U.S. classrooms,” said the report by 15 education specialists from across the country.