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NCSE Roundup: This Week in Climate Change & Evolution

NCSE Round-Up: This Week in Climate Change & Evolution

This week, the National Center for Science Education provides educators with evolution resources for the elementary classroom, a different take on teaching climate change amidst cynics, and a big evolution misconception to be wary of.

Evolution in the Elementary Classroom

NCSE intern Nikita Daryanani looked at what resources are available for K-5 teachers to discuss evolution in their elementary school classrooms.

"The detailed specifics of evolution are generally not taught in K-5 (usually this is saved for the middle and high school years), but that doesn’t mean that the foundations for understanding evolutionary processes can’t be laid out," she said.

She provides educators with several resources she found including useful animations, lesson plans and activities.

Check out the resources she found here.

Teacher Reflects on Climate Change Education

Jana Dean, a middle school teacher in Washington for more than 20 years, sat down with Minda Berbeco to discuss re-thinking teaching climate change.

Dean recommends teachers emphasize the science behind the carbon cycle when teaching about climate change to focus on the facts, which can help with avoiding push-back against instruction.

"By shifting from talking about climate change to the carbon cycle, [students] learned more science and then when we came back around to the actions they could take—they knew more about their options," Dean said.

To be best prepared in the classroom, teachers should also conduct a quick survey before beginning to teach about climate change to detect what the students think beforehand and to anticipate push-back.

"To not teach about climate change is absurd—you just need to be prepared. That is probably the best advice I can give," she said.

Read the full post here

The Most Common Misconception of Evolution

NCSE team member Stephanie Keep, responsible for exposing popular misconceptions concerning evolution in her Misconception Mondays, analyzes one of the biggest misconceptions of all—that one living organism is more evolved than the other.

"...all living organisms are exactly as evolved as each other. Any two living species or groups can extend their lineages back through exactly the same amount of time to a common ancestor. The danger with thinking about groups as more or less evolved is that it’s only a small hop to thinking about them as more or less advanced," she said.

She is specifically referring to an NBC article titled "Chimps Might Have More Evolved Hands Than Humans," where the article looks at a recently published study on the evolution of chimp hands.

"[T]he point is that there are ways of describing the researchers’ findings accurately and without feeding the misconception beast. 'Chimp Hands Less Plesiomorphic Than Human Hand,' is not a great headline, I grant you. Neither, really, is 'More Evolutionary Changes Have Occurred In Chimp Hands Than Human Hands.' But both are accurate and specific."

Read the full post here

 

Compiled by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

07/17/2015

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