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NCSE Roundup: This Week in Evolution and Climate Change

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

This week in evolution and climate change, the National Center for Science Education continues to inspire young learners, help dedicated teachers, and remind us of the importance of science and the persistence of its denial.

Young Learners & Booster Clubs

This week, Emily Schoerning talks about how the Iowa City Science Booster Club held its first public event with its booster club to much community success and excitement from young learners.

"People like science. People want more opportunities to do science in their lives; to have access to the processes of science. At this event, I saw even more clearly that people want this at a very young age," Shoerning said.

Besides the enthusiasm from young learners, Shoerning was also surprised by another thing-a lack of knowledge about the abysmal resources and supplies available to science teachers.

"All across our country, there are science teachers teaching out of decades-old books, whose only supply budget comes from their own pockets. Science teachers who are giving it their all, but who lack basic support and equipment. And people don’t know about it," she said.

And so, she says, as she continues working with science clubs and communities, she will make it her initiative to ensure that others are aware of how much help is needed.

Read the full story here

Teachers Reflect on NCSE Grand Canyon Trip

The NCSE makes it its mission to look out for science teachers around the country. One of the ways it does this is by honoring them with awards and consequential recognition. Most recently, the NCSE honored two science teachers with a trip to the Grand Canyon.

One of those teachers, Alyson Miller, described her experience this week.

Miller defines her experience centered around the olivine she saw while exploring the Canyon- "the olivine-rich peridotite [that] had probably come all the way from the Earth’s mantle."

"As far as I was concerned, that olivine was a terrifying reminder that we are all riding helpless aboard a shard of Earth's crust. That shard floats on the furiously hot conveyor belt of the mantle as it builds mountains, erupts, and rips apart landmasses—and the continuity of life is not a sure thing," she said.

But as she continued to explore the Canyon- the abounding sights of dead mixed with living calmed her unease.

"The fossils showed me how fragile and random life can be, the olivine reminded me of the power and heat beneath our feet, but the abundance of plants and animals along the river—cicadas, speckled dace minnows, red-spotted toads, Chuckwalla lizards, California condors, bighorn sheep—showed me that life really is resilient," she said.

All in all, Miller thanked the NCSE for what she described as an amazing experience and is more than excited to share her experiences with her class.

Read her full post here.

The Role of Both Science & Science Denial in Blood Segregation

This week, Josh Rosenau discusses the inspiring story of how science helped end the segregation of blood banks around the early 1940s.

Initially, the Red Cross prohibited blood donations from African Americans until deciding to collect donations but segregating the blood.

While many mocked the practice, it was science education that helped end it.

One creative group of students took aim at the policy as well. A group from New York...arranged a meeting between themselves and the school’s science teachers and staff from a large blood testing laboratory. Bernice Berthea, president of the school’s Youthbuilders club (a program from the City Board of Education aiming “to educate children for responsible citizenship in a democracy”), and Fred Stern, one of its members, donated blood (hers to represent African Americans, his to represent whites). The tests showed no differences due to race."

From there, the students recorded their research formally. The YMCA produced a play surrounding the findings called: , “Blood Doesn’t Tell: A Play About Blood Plasma and Blood Donors.”What this all led to was a change.

"Medical and scientific societies joined with civil rights groups in protesting the policy. It was lifted after the war, and after the military itself was finally desegregated," Rosenau said.

Rosenau discusses the major implications from such an occurrence: the first being that science denial is a real and oppressive thing and the second being that it serves as a "reminder of what we lose when we shut people out of science and medicine."

Read his full post here

Compiled by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor

08/06/2015

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