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. 2, February

Antigenic Shift and Drift: Modeling the Evolution of the Influenza Virus
It's that time of year again, when avoiding the flu is on everyone's mind. As we brace ourselves for possible flu outbreaks, the need to understand biological issues related to this virus becomes clear. Through modeling, the lesson presented in this...
A Tale of Four Electrons: Using Creative Writing to Learn about Chemical Bonding
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] One sweltering summer afternoon, four electrons sat on a river bank, restless and with nothing to do. On the left was Crystal, a sodium electron. Crystal [was] often ... lonely because she was the only electron in her atom's...
Electronic BeeSpace
Recent press coverage of the decrease in worldwide honeybee population (Kaplan 2010) has significantly increased public awareness of its ecological and economic importance. Honeybees' social nature, novel method of gender determination, distinctive...
Equipment Safety: UL Ratings and More
Smart consumers look to buy appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers, and washing machines with the familiar UL, or Underwriters Laboratories, label. Why? The UL label signifies that the appliance has been safety-tested in accordance with a specific...
"Flipping" Your Classroom
"I got stuck." "It wasn't like the problems you showed us in class." "I didn't get it." How often do you hear these responses when asking students about their homework? How many times have you wished you could help confused students as they were doing...
Ice-Age Reptile Extinctions
A wave of reptile extinctions on the Greek islands over the last 15,000 years may offer a preview of the way plants and animals will respond as the world warms due to human-caused climate change, according to a University of Michigan (U-M) ecologist...
Living Lung Imaging
Fast-moving objects create blurry images in photography, and the same challenge exists when scientists observe cellular interactions within tissues constantly in motion, such as the breathing lung. In a recent University of California, San Francisco...
Making the Most of "Lost Days"
In a given school year, one or two weeks of class time are inevitably eaten up by the calendar. There are the days before Thanksgiving, winter break, and spring break--when some students have left for early vacations, those left behind seem off the...
Massive Star Formation
New observations by University of Michigan (U-M) astronomers add weight to the idea that the most massive stars in the universe could form essentially anywhere, including in near isolation; they do not need a large stellar cluster nursery. This...
Model Biology
Models are at the core of the scientific enterprise. They help us make predictions, understand complex systems, generate new ideas, and visualize both the very large and the very small. Examples include physical models, mathematical models, computer...
Modeling Natural Selection: Using Model-Based Inquiry and Wikis to Learn about Evolution
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] In response to national calls for more inquiry-based learning (AAAS 1989; NRC 1996), science teachers often include inquiry activities that require students to use, generate, and analyze models (Bogiages and Hitt 2008; Grosslight...
One Fish Two Fish Redfish You Fish! A Biological and Mathematical Exploration of Human Impacts on a Recreational Fishery
Many students fish recreationally, but how many consider the impact this has on the fishery? Fisheries science is a broad topic that can be difficult to cover in high school classrooms, where time and curriculum constraints are felt by most teachers....
Protein-Protein Interfaces
Interactions between proteins are at the heart of cellular processes, and those interactions depend on the interfaces where the direct physical contact occurs. A paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences suggests that there...
Student Sustainability Conferences
The path to sustainability is a long and winding one for any teacher or school. You may be incorporating environmental topics into your curriculum, but still using a disposable coffee cup every day. Your school might be recycling or composting 75%...
Teaching Forward: Using Case-Based Instruction to Foster Critical Thinking
[ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] Every day, we face challenges that require new and innovative solutions. At a time when the complexity of these challenges is growing exponentially, educators must prepare students to make sense of complicated facts, think...
Unlocking Compulsion
Researchers have shed new light on dopamine's role in the brain's reward system, which could provide insight into impulse control problems associated with addiction and a number of psychiatric disorders. A joint study by the University of Michigan...
Wet-Dog Physics
If you have ever bathed a dog, you know firsthand how quickly a drenched pup can shake water off. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology are studying the physics of the wet-dog shake to improve the efficiency of washing machines, dryers,...
Will Iron Burn?
... adapted oxidation #11 by TOPS Learning Systems. 1. Clamp a nail in a clothespin. Hold it in a burning candle. Will the iron oxidize (burn)? [ILLUSTRATION OMITTED] 2. Repeat with steel wool. Try ... ... a tightly rolled "snake" ... .. a...
Yoga Therapist
In recent years, many individuals have looked to yoga to improve their well-being and many health care practitioners have encouraged it to complement healing. Recent studies demonstrate the beneficial effects of yoga for health (Chacko et al. 2005;...