By this point in the school year, I hope that you have heard of NCSE’s Scientist in the Classroom program. But if not, please check it out!

In designing the program, we wanted to be sure that scientists and teachers were able to work together to come up with a hands-on activity that fit in with what was going on in the classroom as opposed to a prescribed activity. A really neat result of this design is that all of the pairs have a unique experience with the program.

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The path of some scientists is to do science. The path of other scientists is to help inspire people to see the beauty in science. I realized through working with the National Center for Science Education’s Science Booster Club that I am meant to be part of the latter group. And now I am.

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In a post earlier this week, I talked about the scandalous state of science education funding in one Iowa town, where we learned that teachers were working with equipment budgets of 40 cents per student per year. Well, I have an update from the teachers involved.  Apparently meeting with us and receiving our equipment donation was inspiring. Afterwards, the teachers went to their administration to discuss the budget they’d been handed. The outcome?

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My day as a "scientist in the classroom" was a fun, collaborative experience with Robin Bulleri, an energetic AP Biology teacher, and her awesome class. Once we were connected through NCSE's Scientist in the Classroom program, Robin and I discussed what aspect of evolution I would cover with her class. As a visiting scientist, we decided it made the most sense for me to talk about the tools and evidence that scientists use to study evolution.

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Natural selection is part of every state’s high school science standards, but that doesn’t mean we teachers are always successful in connecting our students with the topic. If your students are like mine, I’m sure you get some disconcerting responses when you ask them to explain how a feature of a species, like the dark color of peppered moths, could have evolved by natural selection. For example, one student wrote, “The moth most likely changed color due to the fact that its environment did as well.

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