Saturday, November 05, 2005

Adult Science Fair Project

As we head into the Science Fair project season, I thought you'd like this link, which might be useful to contemplate after you've come home, late in the evening, after the final judging. You might actually conduct the experiment, if you're really fried.

Update - amost forgot to mention where I got the link. The Vodkapundit, of course.

Even Einstein agrees!

This is S-O-O-O cool! You click on the link, and you can write whatever message you want on the blackboard. The picture is then saved, and you can use is to give the Ultimate Nerd Imprimatur to your favorite person.

How cool is that?

 Posted by Picasa

In my excitement about finding this new toy, I totally forgot to credit the blogger who directed me to the site - Kevin McGehee. Sorry, Kev.

Friday, November 04, 2005

Another update on the SCSC

This is the last day of the South Carolina Science Council conference. As usual, I'm tired and just about ready to get home and get back to my regular life, and yet...

This was a very productive conference. I came with my department head, and another teacher in the building. Together, we planned out our days to maximize our time. We made sure that no workshop went uncovered if we needed to find out more about the topic. We were at workshops on content, labs, and the new science standards from the state. We also took time to check out the exhibits, and find out what's new in the technology.

I had new responsibilities, as I will be issued my certification soon for Chemistry & Physics, and need to touch base with the professional organizations, expand my knowledge base, and, frankly, get all the help that I can before I start teaching those subjects next year.

Last night, as you can see from the photos below, we also took the time to relax and enjoy the local sights. While I was there, I had an interesting conversation with Dr. Jeff Goldstein, the Center Director, National Center for Space, Earth, and Flight Science Education. He and I discussed Bill Nye's Keynote address, which touched on the need to teach students the difference between science, which is testable, and theories in religion and philosophy, which are not. We spent some time wrestling with how to approach the subject, and the role of the professional organizations in addressing the issue, admittedly a touchy and polarizing subject in many communities.

Dr. Goldstein will be the featured speaker today at the closing meeting of the conference. I'll take some notes, and post when I return home.

Thursday, November 03, 2005

A blurry Bill Nye cutting cake. His talk was riveting, and he spent considerable time after posing for pictures. Posted by Picasa
Some of the past presidents of the Council. Behind the woman in red is Bill Nye. Posted by Picasa
The Diamond Jubilee cake. Posted by Picasa
Believe it or not, this is a type of seahorse. Posted by Picasa
Jellyfish are so beautiful. Just don't touch them. Posted by Picasa
A hands-on experience with one of the critters at the Aquarium. Posted by Picasa
Bill Nye, the Keynote Speaker at the South Carolina Science Council conference. Posted by Picasa
A lighthearted moment outside the Myrtle Beach Aquarium Posted by Picasa

New Link on the Blogroll

I've a new link, WulfTheTeacher, a thoughtful Physics teacher with some interesting observations on the practice of teaching. He's another southern teacher, from Richmond, VA. I've heard about the Standards of Learning in VA (sometimes the teachers use the abbreviation a little ironically) from workshop participants in the PTRA program.

Welcome to the list, Wulf.

By the sea, by the sea...

I'm in sunny Myrtle Beach right now. There's a state science convention being held here, and, you know me, if there's fun, I'm there. I'll be there through Friday.

I was smart enough to take my laptop with me, and there's wireless access in the hotel, so I'll have some time to catch up on posting. I'll have more time in the future at home, since...


Honestly, after the mix-up with the test booklet and the answer booklet, I was increasingly sure I failed. It took about 2 weeks longer than usual to get the scores to me. Now, mind you, I passed, barely! But, as many a coach will tell the team, even an ugly win is a win. I'll take it.

I'm looking forward to getting to know the science teachers in this state, and learning more about the issues that they are facing. In SC, we have an End of Course Test in Physical Science, which is, by state mandate, 20% of the students' final grade. Unless they have a fairly high grade, a failing grade on that test means they fail the course, which means they get no credit for the course. So, this is indeed a high-stakes test.

I've volunteered to help with the Science Club, and we've decided to enter the science Olympiad. If anyone has any experience with that, could you email me? I could use some guidance on how to prepare a team.

Now, I'm off to eat, and register for the conference. I'll post later, hopefully with lots of pictures.