What We're Reading

Alabama disclaimer sticker on a textbook. Image by Colin Purrington.Image copyright Colin Purrington, used with permission. A bunch of NCSE's staff spent the week reading the National Science Teachers Association conference program, since we'll be exhibiting and presenting at the national conference through the weekend. But that didn't put a crimp in our weekly reading.

  • Science Education Is Woefully Uncreative: That Has To Change” Rhett Allain, Wired 3/30/2016
    Rhett Allain argues that science classes do too little to highlight the creative parts of science, rather than the rote. He describes the textbook for his physics class for elementary education majors students. In one chapter, students "try to create a model to explain what happens when you rub a nail with a magnet (it makes the nail act like a magnet). They then look at new experiments to refine their model. Students often hate this chapter. They hate that there are no clear answers or a rigid set of procedures (there are procedures, just not for making the initial model). Although the students might not be happy, this is what happens in science—you have to create stuff."
  • Seeing Spirituality in Chimpanzees Barbara J. King, The Atlantic, March 29, 2016
    Barbara J. King digs into what, if anything, observed ritualistic behavior means for chimpanzees. Is spirituality the next distinction between us and our closest living relatives to crumble?
  • All Those New Dinosaurs May Not Be New—Or Dinosaurs, Maggie Koerth-Baker, FiveThirtyEight, March 25, 2016
    Maggie Koerth-Baker investigates the error rate in dinosaur species investigation on the popular statistics-heavy website. It makes a change from following the
  • primaries and the polls!
  • How Scientists Can Win the War on Science, Aaron Huertas, Undark, March 15, 2016
    Huertas, formerly the communications director at the Union of Concerned Scientists, reviews the debate over whether there's really a war on science, and offers suggestions for how scientists can win the war.
  • A day in the life of a young black male engineering student, Rodney Sampson, Storify, March 28, 2016
    Sampson, who runs a coding academy, describes how a student in the 13-month program was nearly arrested for simply trying to cash the stipend check that the program gave him. It's a look at the barriers to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education that students can face, barriers often ignored or hidden from view, but which hold back our communities and our nation.
  • Textbook evolution sticker hurts children's understanding of science but also their faith, Amanda Glaze, AL.com (Birmingham News/Huntsville Times/Mobile Press Register), March 31, 2016
    Amanda Glaze, an educator in Alabama, argues that the decision to retain the state's warning label stickers on textbooks harms students. She argues, "the disclaimer is a failure from the scientific point of view, a failure from the educational point of view, and—on the testimony of a distinguished biologist with a deep Christian faith—a failure from the religious point of view."