Common Core and Informational Text
As of 2019, 46 states are using the Common Core English Language Arts (ELA) Standards. Compared to previous standards, Common Core places increased emphasis on informational text, recommending that 50% of the text read in elementary school, 55% of the text read in middle school, and 70% of the text read in high school be informational. Informational … Continue reading "Common Core and Informational Text"
What is Three-Dimensional Learning? An overview of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
As of 2019 Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) have been adopted by 19 states and the District of Columbia. In developing these standards, the National Research Council created a framework that identifies key scientific concepts all students should learn by the end of high school. These concepts are divided into three dimensions, which I briefly … Continue reading "What is Three-Dimensional Learning? An overview of Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)"
An Overview of Learning Standards
All humans have the ability to learn, and some of this learning takes place without outside intervention. A baby, for example, can learn to crawl without anyone showing her how. But humans learn best through a process of facilitated learning called education. Formal education is facilitated learning that occurs in a structured environment, such as … Continue reading "An Overview of Learning Standards"
What is a Science Educational Writing?
“I am a science educational writer.” This, my standard response to the inevitable cocktail party question, “What is it that you do?” always elicits a blank look, so I’ll begin by explaining what a science educational writer does. According to the Oxford dictionary an education is an enlightening experience. A science educational writer then, produces … Continue reading "What is a Science Educational Writing?"
Attack of the Killer Water Molecule (AKA hydrolysis)
Water fills our oceans, lakes, rivers and streams. It comes out of our taps. We swim in the stuff, and we drink it. For these reasons we tend to think of water as being inert. It isn’t. Water is an aggressively reactive molecule. Consider what happens when you stir salt into water: the water destroys the … Continue reading "Attack of the Killer Water Molecule (AKA hydrolysis)"
What is a Greenhouse Gas?
These lambs, bathed in the reddish glow of an infrared lamp, are taking advantage of a property of infrared light: it causes electrons to vibrate. When electrons vibrate the molecules they hold together move as well. And we are quite adept at noticing this increase in molecular movement: we call it an increase in temperature. … Continue reading "What is a Greenhouse Gas?"
Arsenic: The King of Poisons
Many arsenic compounds are colorless, odorless, and tasteless, and before the mid-eighteen hundreds arsenic could not be easily detected in the body. For these reasons arsenic was the poison of choice in the Middle Ages. In fact, so many aristocrats were offed by arsenic that it became known as “the king of poisons, and the … Continue reading "Arsenic: The King of Poisons"
How stinky socks launched the biotech revolution
Actually, there were two biotech revolutions. I will only argue that the second biotech revolution, which took place in the twentieth century, was launched by stinky socks. The first biotech revolution, which took place some 6,000 years before in the neolithic period, was arguably launched by beer.  Biotechnology is, quite simply, the manipulation of living … Continue reading "How stinky socks launched the biotech revolution"