The Science Teacher

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

Articles from Vol. 79, No. 2, February

Ancient Galaxy Stars
Astronomers, including the University of California, Riverside's Bahram Mobasher and graduate student Hooshang Nayyeri, have discovered that one of the most distant galaxies known is churning out stars at a shockingly high rate. The researchers made...
A Winning Competition: Using ExploraVision to Engage High School Physics Students
As a high school physics teacher, I (Kim Geddes) am constantly searching for new experiences to challenge, motivate, and engage students. Last year, I incorporated ExploraVision into the energy unit of my school's physics curriculum with the help of...
Bacteria and the Gulf Oil Spill
When University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) geochemist David Valentine and colleagues published a study in early 2011 documenting how bacteria blooms had consumed almost all of the deepwater methane plumes following the Deepwater Horizon oil...
Brucellosis in Old Bones
Two teams of Michigan State University (MSU) researchers--one working at a medieval burial site in Albania, the other at a DNA lab in East Lansing, Michigan--have shown how modern science can unlock the mysteries of the past. The scientists are...
Call for Papers: The Science Teacher (TST) Is Seeking Manuscripts That Describe New and Creative Ideas for the Secondary Science Classroom. Manuscripts Should Provide Worthwhile Ideas and Practical Help for Teachers as They Relate to the Themes Listed below. TST Also Always Encourages Manuscripts outside of the Listed Themes
Systems Thinking SUBMISSION DEADLINE: MARCH 1, 2012 Deep understanding of an increasingly complex world requires new skills and different ways of thinking. Many of today's important problems--from traffic congestion and economics to global climate...
Career of the Month
February 2012, Based on Interviews With Professionals Using Science in the Workplace Bioacoustician If you love music and nature, step outside. The songs of the world's first orchestra--wildlife--are all around you. Every living organism creates...
Chimeric Monkeys
Newly published research by scientists at Oregon Health and Science University (OHSU) provides significant new information about how early embryonic stem cells develop and take part in formation of the primate species. The research, which took place...
Controversies in the Classroom
Regardless of what subject I'm teaching, some of my most memorable and lively classroom discussions have centered around rather controversial topics. When I started teaching, I was afraid to discuss controversial science issues--I didn't want to invite...
Cool Electronics
A University of California (UC), Riverside, engineering professor and a team of researchers have made a breakthrough discovery with graphene, a material that could play a major role in keeping laptops and other electronic devices from overheating....
Designing Design Challenges: Getting the Details Right
Using engineering problems to enact inquiry learning The National Science Education Standards advocate for inquiry as a central feature of science instruction (NRC 1996). This emphasis is likely to continue given the prominent inclusion of science...
Detecting Breast Cancer Early
Despite advances in both the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, the disease remains a leading worldwide health concern. Now, a new imaging technology under investigation at the Biodesign Institute at Arizona State University (ASU) may help...
Earth-Size Planets
Astronomers have discovered two Earth-size planets that survived getting caught in the red-giant expansion of their host star. Steve Kawaler, an Iowa State University professor of physics and astronomy and a leader of the Kepler Asteroseismic Investigation,...
Engineering Excellence
"E" is the sometimes forgotten vowel in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. But this may soon change, due in part to the central role that engineering practices play in both the recent A Framework for K-12 Science Education...
Engineering, Modeling, and Computational Thinking
The Next Generation Science Standards will include new emphasis on scientific and engineering practices that are basic to understanding science. One such practice, as described in A Framework for K-12 Science Education, is "Developing and Using Models"...
Flatworms Don't Need Centrosomes
A tiny, freshwater flatworm found in ponds and rivers around the world has long intrigued scientists for its remarkable ability to regenerate and has now added a new wrinkle to biology. Reporting in the journal Science, researchers at the University...
Green School Buildings
School buildings and grounds present an opportunity to educate students about environmental sustainability--and help move your school toward sustainable building practices. As a teacher, you may not be involved in decisions about the new roof or HVAC...
Intersections, Molecules, and Homeless Shelters: Motivating Science Students with Drama and Imagination
Drama and imagination have a place in every class-room, not just in the English teacher's. In fact, nowhere are they more critical to students' motivation than in bringing to life the often arcane equations of science. By inventing curiosity-provoking...
Mendel's Modern Legacy: How to Incorporate Engineering in the Biology Classroom
Ask science teachers if engineering concepts should be taught in the science classroom, and most will say yes. But even though teachers may agree with guidelines for engineering education, such as those of the National Science Education Standards and...
Safety in the Eye of the Beholder
Launching rockets, mixing chemical solutions, working with glassware or plasticware, measuring with metersticks--how are these activities similar? Some (but unfortunately not all) science teachers would say: "Eye protection is needed in all cases."...
Students, Start Your Engines!
February 2012, Tips and Techniques for Creative Teaching Practically every high school student wants to drive a car, but few can explain how an internal combustion engine works. To demystify pistons, cylinders, and compression ratios, we developed...
Targeting Drug Delivery
In images of fruit flies, clusters of neurons are all lit up, forming a brightly glowing network of highways within the brain. This is exactly what University at Buffalo (UB) researcher Shermali Gunawardena was hoping to see: It means that ORMOSIL,...
The Friendship Detector: An Electrical Circuit Hardwired to Make Decisions
Acircle of students watches closely while one of them flips the switches on the "Friendship Detector." Phillies fan? Yes. Video gamer? No. Hangs out at the mall? Yes. They watch in anticipation, wondering whether this combination of answers will complete...
The Second Dimension-Crosscutting Concepts: Understanding a Framework for K-12 Science Education
For the last half century educators have struggled with the question, "What do we want students to know and what do they need to do to know it?" An alternative perspective for planning and framing science instruction asks "What do we want students...
Tiny Wires for Quantum Computers
The smallest wires ever developed in silicon--just one atom tall and four atoms wide--have been shown by a team of researchers from the University of New South Wales, Melbourne University, and Purdue University to have the same current-carrying capability...
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