The Science Teacher

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

Articles from Vol. 72, No. 9, December

Aloe for Fresh Fruit
Aloe vera gel is best known for its therapeutic effect on burned or irritated skin, but in the future we could be eating the gel as a healthful additive to fruits and veggies. Researchers in Spain say they have developed a gel from the tropical plant...
A Partnership for Problem-Based Learning: Challenging Students to Consider Open-Ended Problems Involving Gene Therapy
So many demands are placed on high school teachers today. We are expected to engage students in authentic hands-on, inquiry-based learning that hooks them on the excitement of cutting-edge science fields, develops their higher-order thinking skills,...
Ask the Experts
Q What does "spin" refer to in particle physics? Why is this concept necessary? Danny, Student Scottsburg High School Scottsburg, Indiana A To answer this question, let's start with some classical mechanic concepts. Angular momentum is...
Crawling Sea Lilies
With their long stalks and feathery arms, marine animals known as sea lilies look a lot like their garden-variety namesakes. Perhaps because of that resemblance, scientists had always assumed that sea lilies stayed rooted instead of moving around....
Designing Project-Enhanced Environments: Students Investigate Waves and Sound
The concept of waves is fundamental due to its occurrence throughout the natural world (water, sound, and electromagnetic waves). Because the concept occurs in so many places, students come to the classroom with prior knowledge, as well as misconceptions,...
Faster Optical Communications?
Results from experiments conducted at the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) may lead to profound changes in optical communications. The discovery is reported in the journal Science. Physicist Mark Sherwin at UCSB explains that as information...
Historical Archaeologist
Historical archaeologists such as Mark Warner investigate through excavations and written records how people lived in the recent past. History is considered "recent" rather than "pre-historic" when written sources from that period are available. If...
How to Have a Successful Science and Ethics Discussion: Three Key Components for Effective Classroom Bioethics Experiences
Most of the secondary science teachers who shy away from incorporating ethics into their curricula are quite clear about the reasons they do so. Some teachers are uncomfortable with teaching ethics, a subject that science teachers often have very little...
Improving Science Instruction
"Most people in this country lack the basic understanding of science that they need to make informed decisions about the many scientific issues affecting their lives" (Singer, Hilton, and Schwiengruber 2005a, p. ES-1). This statement from the National...
Mosquitoes Fight off Malaria
Researchers have identified a gene in mosquitoes that helps the insects to fight off infection by the Plasmodium parasite, which causes malaria in humans. Anopheles mosquitoes transmit the malaria parasite to nearly 550 million people worldwide each...
Oobleck and Beyond
Finding innovative ways to teach 10th grade physical science students about the properties of the states of matter--as stated by in the Physical Science Standards for Levels 9-12--can be a difficult task (NRC 1996, p. 106). Most high school students...
Petroleum and the Environment: Teaching about Petroleum and the Future of Energy Resources
Your students live in a world that is powered by petroleum and other energy resources to an unsurpassed degree. But do they know where all the energy that they readily use on a daily basis comes from? Will they know where to find it tomorrow? The...
Understanding Evolution: An Evolution Website for Teachers
While many states are facing challenges to the teaching of evolution in their science classrooms, the University of California Museum of Paleontology, working with the National Center for Science Education, has developed a useful web-based resource...
Using an Authentic Radioisotope to Teach Half-Life: Students Use a Radiation Monitor, Computer, and Radioisotope Generator in This Real-Time Lab Activity
New technology and equipment needed to perform lab work has made it easier to teach nuclear science in the three levels of chemistry classes at our high school. Improved technology has, for example, replaced tossing pennies as a model for teaching...
What's Living in Your World? Building Research Partnerships for Inquiry-Based Learning
The average biotech catalog contains a dizzying array of kits offering tried-and-true protocols in molecular biology and biochemistry. Many of the most reliable have been adapted to biology teaching. Prepackaged experiences, ranging from DNA fingerprinting...
Why Is This Important?
At some point in each teaching unit I try to remind myself to ask the big questions: "Why should we care about this? Why is this topic important?" Perhaps this is just my way of avoiding that nagging student question, "Why do we have to know this?"...
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