Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Mississippi River Preview

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Water & Watersheds
Mississippi River
Edward Hessler

You are invited to a showing of The Mighty Mississippi TPT Broadcast Preview Collection on December 12 from 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm. 

This event also marks the occasion of the 30th year of the Center for Global Environmental Education (CGEE).  In addition to the preview there will be presentations by the program's stellar on-camera hosts, an optional studio tour, plus great appetizers and a cash bar. The event is free.

You can find the full details here as well as the link to RSVP.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Approximations

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Mathematics Education
Maths
History of Science
Edward Hessler

Here is a great cartoon from XQCD on Types of Approximations made by physicists, engineers and cosmologists.

While much different, you may recall the so-called Indiana Pi Bill (Bill #246, 1897) introduced in the General Assembly, an attempt to declare truth by legislative fiat. This Wiki entry tells you what it was all about. It never became law by the way.







Saturday, November 9, 2019

What Toddlers Teach Us About Doing Science

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
History of Science
Nature of Science
Philosophy of Science
Children
Early Childhood
Edward Hessler

In this 10-minute video, from the PBS series Closer to the Truth,  Robert Lawrence Kuhn interviews cognitive psychologist and philosopher Alison Gopnik. In a way this conversation is about how humans have become so good at our capacity to do contemporary science in such a short period of time--just a few hundred years. 

Gopnik's  approach is to question babies, toddlers and young children to study this fascinating question. 

Gopnik is perhaps best known for advocating the 'theory theory,' "the idea that children develop and change intuitive theories of the world in much the same way that scientists do." Children and scientists are model builders and testers. She puts it this way in the video, ‘"It’s not that children are little scientists, it’s actually that scientists are big children."

h/t AEON

Friday, November 8, 2019

Friday Poem


Image result for forest

Environmental & Science Education
Poetry
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

Today's poem is by Cathy Fagan.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Credit When And Where It Is Due

Image result for taxonomyEnvironmental & Science Education
STEM
Nature of Science
History of Science
Edward Hessler


Wikipedia describes PLOS One as a "peer-reviewed open access scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science since 2006. The journal covers primary research from any discipline within science and medicine."

The submission guidelines for PLOS One includes this statement: Provide at minimum one contribution for each author in the submission system. Use the CRediT taxonomy to describe each contribution.

The CRediT taxonomy (Contributor Roles Taxonomy) may be new to you. In recent years two features of scientific publication have become apparent. One is the range of contributions scientists may make in a publication. More and more papers require very specialized talents and scholarship. The other is to make those contributions evident. 

The CRediT taxonomy describes 14 roles, e.g., conceptualization, methodology software, writing, that describe a range of contributions to publishing a scientific paper. It standardizes those roles.




Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Sesame Street Launches a New Story Line


Image result for sesame street

Environmental & Science Education
Health
Medicine
Children
Education
Edward Hessler

Seasame Street's muppets now include story lines on parental addiction. Videos launched in early October "feature muppet Karli, whose mother is struggling with addiction and show how she copes with the situation with support from Elmo and other friends."

The materials"include seven new videos, a storybook, a coloring activity, and articles that parents, educators, and health care providers can use to talk to children about addiction and help answer common questions that kids tend to have including what addiction is and how adults get treated." These are available in both English and Spanish.

STAT's Shraddja Chakradhar talked with Dr. Jeanette Betancourt of Sesame Workshop. The interview included the inspiration for this, the approach chosen to explain this, the tools Sesame Workshop is making available, how the tools are supposed to help, how the tools were developed, the reaction so far, and how Sesame Workshop responds to those who have concerns about whether such material is age-appropriate. Chakradhar's essay and interview may be found here. There is a link to two videos, one for parents; the other for providers.

I can't close without re-posting a short video, the response of baby Ariel to Andrea Bocelli's Lullaby to Elmo-- "Time to Say Goodnight."

Tuesday, November 5, 2019

Blowing in the Wind (and Electric Fields)

Image result for spider ballooningEnvironmental & Science Education
STEM
Behavior
Nature of Science
Edward Hessler


Ballooning or kiting is a flight mechanism that spiderlings and adult spiders use to disperse. What a chancy event this is. A spider turns its abdomen skyward, releases since spider silk and the air then takes over, a kind of "Look Ma, no hands."

The young naturalist Charles Darwin reported on it while he was on the HMS Beagle. Writing for The Telegraph, Sarah Knapton includes a diary entry. "Baffled by the sight, Darwin wrote in his HMS Beagle diary: 'Inundated by ballooning spiders on a relatively, calm, clear day,' later noting that the spiders took off again with 'unaccountable speed'".

Both air currents and electricity have been suspected as triggers for this behavior. In their paper, "Electric Fields Elicit Ballooning in Spiders" published July 2018 in Current Biology, Erica Morley and Daniel Robert report on an experiment to "test the hypothesis that electric fields can be detected and are sufficient to stimulate ballooning."

Spoiler alert: they are. But please read on because you can see the experiment.

Their paper includes the standard summary plus highlights (a useful addition) PLUS a short video (~ 3 minutes +) of the research (scroll down to the bottom) which gives you an idea of what and how they did this investigation.

Monday, November 4, 2019

One Concept: 5 Levels of Difficulty


Image result for dimension

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Maths
Mathematics Education
Cosmology
Children
Edward Hessler

Sean Carroll is a theoretical physicist at Cal Tech.

Carroll was challenged to explain the concept of dimensions at five levels of difficulty: to a child, a teen, a college student, a grad student and an expert.

The video is about 28 minutes long.

Saturday, November 2, 2019

A New Exhibit in Paris: The Blob


Image result for slime mold

Environmental & Science Education
STEM
Behavior
Nature
Biodiversity
History of Science
Nature of Science
Edward Hessler

The Paris Zoological Park has a new display which they have dubbed the "blob." The organism has no mouth or gut or eyes or legs/arms/wings but it can detect food, digest it and is sensitive to light. It is a slime mold (Physarum polycephalum).

When I think of slime molds I think of John Tyler Bonner who spent his research career studying one of the slime mold groups (Dictyostellium discoideuma). He died earlier this year at the age of 98 and was remarkably active until his death. The Princeton University press release announcing his death describes his career and his contributions to organismal biology and evolutionary biology.

If you are interested in learning more about Bonner and his work, Life Cycles: Reflections of an Evolutionary Biologist, is a remarkable read. It gives you an idea of what a life in science is like. His take on biology as a science is that it is a study of life cycles.

Here is a short videoof the blob which interweaves footage (naturally) from the original drive-in favorite, The Blob, starring Steve McQueen and Aneta Corseaut.




Friday, November 1, 2019

Friday Poem


Image result for oak tree

Environmental & Science Education
Poetry
Art and Environment
Edward Hessler

In Death & Rebirth in Forests, Khrisetem Bellows, a teacher/college professor, and Barken Plotkin, manager of Harvard Forest, discuss a poem by Mary Oliver--The Oak Tree at the Entrance to Blackwater Pond. The poem, a verse in video feature read by Plotkin who gives an overview of her work and interests, and an essay.

Lots to like here.