There is a particular feeling that arises when you see something very grand and beautiful in the natural world. Or, at least, I thought there was a particular feeling, but in the past week I have had an opportunity to see many people have this kind of striking encounter, and I noticed some more variation than I expected.

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Three months ago, NCSE launched a national expansion of our Science Booster Club (SBC) program. Many of the new clubs have already started holding events, and more are scheduled through the spring and summer. We estimate that in just the first three months of operation, around 3,000 people have participated in SBC events held by volunteer-led clubs in California, West Virginia, Ohio, Texas, Nebraska, and Indiana. Events are also scheduled in Kentucky, Virginia, and Oklahoma.

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I spent Saturday wet, cold, but exhilarated nonetheless, on the National Mall, with some 40,000 other participants in the March for Science. NCSE was one of the earliest partners of the march, and our logo was prominently displayed on the big stage. There were dozens of speakers with stories that spanned generations and disciplines. NCSE didn't have a speaking role, but I found myself wondering what I would have said if we did.

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Happy New Year from NCSEteach, NCSE’s teacher outreach program! We are excited to be back in action for another year packed with climate change and evolution education.

Thirty-six scientist-teacher pairs across the country participated last semester in NCSEteach’s Scientist in the Classroom program, reaching several hundred students in all. As you know, after a first introductory visit, the scientist returns for a visit to work with the teacher to implement a hands-on activity.

There was a great diversity in the activities last semester! For example:

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This fall, I had a problem. Our Iowa City club was invited back to a large Halloween event, The University of Iowa’s Creepy Campus Crawl. But, we were under probation—in trouble for being too much fun the last time around. Our activities in 2015 generated “excessive audience interest,” leading to “extensive bottlenecks” before and around our exhibits, which caused a variety of difficulties for the crowd and the venue.

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Let me begin by saying that while I’m not a Luddite, I’m also not a technology whiz. I’m one of those less-than-cool people who still use Facebook, have no idea what WhatsApp is, and don’t know which expresses approval—swiping left or swiping right. I recently asked my way-cooler-than-me au pair to show me SnapChat and I didn’t really get it. So it should come as no surprise that while most of the rest of the world was playing Pokémon GO, I remained happy in a cocoon of ignorance.

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In my previous installment in this series on NCSE’s first evolution summer camp, I described working with creationist campers. If you are just tuning in, yes, NCSE ran a summer camp on evolution!  And yes, we had creationist campers! After an open conflict, which group leaders responded to calmly and by deescalating the situation, our creationist campers actually began to show signs of accepting evolution.

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Theodosius Dobzhansky’s “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” is my favorite science quote, as it sums up perfectly how important evolution is to our understanding of biology. Unfortunately, in far too many schools evolution is not taught all, or not taught to its full extent. When it comes to human evolution in particular, the statistics are even more depressing.

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David Baum, a biologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, corresponded with NCSE staff about a challenge he and his colleagues faced. He shared this account of his experience trying to publish research which, in part, attempted to put certain creationist claims to the test.

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