Tag Archives: science teachers

Tougher Science Requirements Do Not Guarantee Higher Science Knowledge

More Does Not Mean Better

A new report from the Consortium on Chicago School Research shows the act of increasing graduation requirements in science for high school students does not necessarily help them grow their science knowledge.

In 1997, the Chicago Public School District increased the science requirement to graduate from one year of science to three.

The policy change was in response to CPS graduates not taking enough courses to prepare them for college and to respond to the overall concern in America that students fall behind other nations in math and science.

The new policy did increase students’ science coursework. Before the change, less than half passed three or more college-prep science courses.  After the change, almost all graduates passed at least three full-year science classes.

Students headed to college and earning B averages or higher, were more likely to take three years of science and succeed in them, but only 19 percent of students were in this category.  That left 5 out of 6 students earning C’s or lower and graduation rates also declined after the new policy went into effect.

Although more science classes were being taken, students were suffering.  The types of science classes taken were also affected. More students took entry-level science classes like environmental science while fewer took higher-level classes like physics and chemistry.

The policy change also had no effect on the number of students going to college. The change gave more students the courses necessary to attend college, but college enrollment did not increase.

The study shows where work needs to be done to bring up science knowledge and grades in America’s high schools. Students do not just need more science or more math, they need to be prepared in the lower grades of K-8 and help becoming motivated and engaged in their course work to really gain the benefits of their education.

If students are engaged and excited about science as well as other subjects in their elementary school years, they will likely carry that enthusiasm with them into high school and beyond. It is important that children from preschool and up are not only taught the subjects but also how to be engaged, motivated and active in their own education.

Download the entire report >

Dry Ice Fun – How to Use Dry Ice at Your Halloween Party

There’s just something amazing about dry ice – the solid that turns into a gas. Science teachers call it sublimation… kids call it amazing. Over the years I’ve presented a number of television segments about using dry ice to make Halloween even more fun – Screaming Ice, Bursting Smoke Bubbles, Spooky Apple Juice, the Crystal Bubble. This segment featured on the NBC affiliate in Denver is one of my favorites… probably because of the three little helpers.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLO5SJ2uxEE[/youtube]

A Look Inside Our Lab on Modern Marvels

moderndeepfreeze.pngThe crew from Modern Marvels on the History Channel visited our science lab back in July to play with some really cold science experiments. In other words, the liquid nitrogen was flowing and the onions were exploding! Mark your calendars… Modern Marvels: Deep Freeze will officially be airing on the History Channel on Tuesday, September 25th at 8pm EST.

Exploding Watermelons

7607-watermelon.jpgI love Halloween. One of my favorite activities is to “carve” pumpkins using a simple reation inside the fruit. First, you carve the face then carefully replace pieces. After creating a reaction by generating a gas inside and igniting it (ask your local chemistry teacher for the details) the face pieces are blown off with a small explosion.

Halloween is more than 100 days away and I just couldn’t wait. So I initiated the new weather anchor at the local Denver television station by introducing her to carving watermelons. The problem was, we didn’t really carve the watermelon, it exploded. Watch the Video to see how we skipped right over the carving and went straight to exploding.

Young Magicians Take Center Stage

Okay, it’s not science… but I’m so proud that I just had to share it. Mark and Scott are our twin 5 year old boys who have both taken a liking to magic. It probably doesn’t hurt to see their brother Jack (who is now 8 years old) performing his magic tricks on stage. I was recently invited to be a featured speaker at the SPLASH Summer Conference presented by Frog Street Press in Dallas, Texas. Mark and Scott performed this trick on stage in front of almost 1,700 teachers and they had a ball. The boys couldn’t understand why everyone was getting up to leave at the end of their trick. You’ll see why.