The Science Teacher

The monthly magazine of the National Science Teachers Association. Articles cover innovations in science and science teaching methods.

Articles from Vol. 78, No. 5, Summer

A Better Mouse Model
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh (Pitt) School of Medicine have developed a mouse model of major depressive disorder (MDD) based on a rare genetic mutation that appears to cause MDD. The findings, which appear...
A Scientific World in a Grain of Sand: Investigating Local Sand Samples on a Shoestring Budget
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] To see a world in a grain of sand, And a heaven in a wild flower, Hold infinity in the palm of your hand, And eternity in an hour. --William Blake, Auguries of Innocence At first glance, sand is ubiquitous! It's found...
A Sense of Place
"We cannot win this battle to save species and environments without forging an emotional bond between ourselves and nature, as well--for we will not fight to save what we do not love." --Gould 1994 To protect a place, you have to love it. To...
Center of Gravity
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] 1. Bend two paper clips as shown. Tape them, front and back, to a pin to make a spinner. 2. Balance your spinner on the "bump" on a battery by hanging a paper clip on each arm. [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] TIP: If it tilts,...
Chromonoodles: Jump into the Gene Pool: Using Pool "Noodles" to Model Chromosomes in the Biology Classroom
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Chromosomes, alleles, chromatids, genotype, phenotype, mitosis, meiosis, fertilization--this vocabulary can be overwhelming, confusing, and difficult for students to tie together. However, these terms are commonplace in the...
Environmental Advocate
An environmental advocate works to make changes that protect our natural world and its inhabitants. Anyone who feels strongly about the environment can choose a cause, become an advocate, and help safeguard nature's resources. But some inspired individuals...
Frozen Helium
When helium is cooled to around 4[degrees]K above absolute zero, it becomes liquid. Make it a couple of degrees cooler, and it becomes a "superfluid" that flows without resistance from its container, just as electrons flow without resistance in a superconductor....
Gearing Up for Summer
Congratulations! Whether this was your 1st year or your 31st, it's over. There's a renewing quality to our profession, and I found this to be quite forgiving my first few years. You know what I mean if you had that one particularly challenging class...
Gene Packaging
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Scientists at Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) have achieved a major milestone in the attempt to assemble entire chromosomes from their component parts in a test tube. The achievement reveals the process a cell...
Giant Kelp
Scientists at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) have developed new methods for studying how environmental factors and climate affect giant kelp forest ecosystems at unprecedented spatial and temporal scales. The scientists merged...
High-Protein Breakfast
A University of Missouri (MU) researcher has found that eating a healthy breakfast--especially one high in protein--increases satiety and reduces hunger throughout the day. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), she also found that eating...
Hydrogel Beads: The New Slime Lab? an Inexpensive Inquiry Activity on Chemical Bonding, Properties, and Replacement Reactions
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Creating slime fascinates students. Unfortunately, though intrigue is at its peak, the educational aspect of this activity is often minimal. This article describes a chemistry lab that closely relates to the slime lab and...
Interactive Teaching Methods
Interactive teaching methods significantly improved attendance and doubled both engagement and learning in a large physics class, according to a University of British Columbia (UBC) study published in the journal Science. Led by Louis Deslauriers,...
It's Elemental! Using the Periodic Table Live! to Teach Students about the Elements
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] An understanding of the periodic table is central to the study of chemistry. So it's no surprise that it's included in the National Science Education Standards (Physical Science Content Standard B; NRC 1996, p. 176). But how...
Know Your Responsibility
Picture this: You're a new high school science teacher. You've been hired to teach general science and charged with making the course a full-blown laboratory science. Unfortunately, the principal failed to mention that all of your classes would be...
Nature as a Learning Tool
As summer days cool and students venture back to the classroom, they often return with stories of family trips to new and exciting places. Many go to the beach or local, state, or national parks--all of which provide great learning opportunities. Whether...
New Class of Planets
University of Notre Dame astronomer David Bennett is coauthor of a paper describing the discovery of a new class of planets--dark, isolated, Jupiter-mass bodies floating alone in space, far from any host star. Bennett and the team of astronomers involved...
PD on a Shoestring
The web is chock-full of resources you can use to brush up on your content knowledge, keep up with advances in science, and sharpen your pedagogical skills. The best part is that many of these professional development (PD) opportunities are free! The...
Sikuliaq Science Possibilities
Sam VanLaningham can't wait to take the RV Sikuliaq (pronounced see-KOO-lee-auk) for a spin. When it's ready for science operations in 2014, the 261 ft. (80 m) research vessel will be capable of drilling seafloor cores in the Bering Strait year-round....
Simulating Science: Manipulative Models and Small-Scale Simulations That Promote Learning of Complex Biological Concepts
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] It's no secret that hands-on science experiences can increase students' interest in science and science-related careers. And labs can help them master scientific subject matter and develop scientific reasoning skills (NRC...
Summer Reading, Dawn to Dusk: Fill Your Days with Books Suggested by NSTA Recommends Reviewers
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Summer days seem to go on forever. The Sun rises early, and daylight lasts long into the evening hours. Perhaps it's the lack of bells to define our schedules, or maybe it's metabolic--but our perception of time is very different...
Tough Times for Teachers
These are tough times for science teachers. The economic recession has slashed budgets and jobs, and ongoing state financial crises jeopardize educational programs, materials funding, and even collective bargaining rights. Surveys show that teachers...
Virtual Workout Partners
Can't find an exercise buddy? Don't worry: New research from Michigan State University (MSU) reveals working out with a virtual partner improves motivation during exercise. The study--led by Deborah Feltz, chairperson of MSU's Department of Kinesiology--is...