We welcomed our first eight NCSEteach Teacher Ambassadors in February through the Turning Misinformation into Educational Opportunities (TMEO) Workshop at George Mason University. This group of teachers developed a unit of 5 hands-on lessons on climate change and field tested them throughout this past semester.

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One of the hardest lessons I have had to learn is that facts are not all powerful. As a scientist, I love facts. A paleontologist tells me that there is a 365-million-year-old fishlike thing with eight fingers that is an ancient cousin to tetrapods? Amazing! Where can we find more like it?

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In a new exciting venture with several partners, I have come to greatly appreciate the many science-based resources for teachers housed at the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

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The opportunity to directly engage with people in Iowa about climate change and evolution just got a whole lot easier with a $270,000 three-year grant from the Carver Charitable Trust.

The great success of the Science Booster Club Program and the new grant are strong testaments to the power of creating deep partnerships between academic institutions and nonprofit organizations.

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The violet filter on the Imaging Science System aboard Voyager 1 and 2Many years ago, I said to a colleague, “What a beautiful shirt! Royal blue is a good color on you.” She replied, “What do you mean blue? This shirt is purple!” After some experimenting, we discovered that we consistently differed on the line between blue and purple. In extending our experiments to co-workers, we found that I was the outlier—most people saw blue and purple more like my colleague. It turns out that such differences are real; the proteins that detect light in our eyes can be tuned to slightly different wavelengths, and we can each have slightly different ratios of the three proteins that allow us to distinguish colors. I really do see blue where most people see purple. (Do you? Here’s a Buzzfeed quiz.)

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In part 1, I observed that there are two obstacles that might seem to face teachers wanting to use recent extreme weather, like Hurricane Harvey, in teaching about climate change: the complexities and uncertainties involved in attributing specific weather events to global climate change on the one hand, and the tendency of the opponents of teaching climate change to portray those complexities and uncertainties as admissions of ignorance and error.

from the Texas Water Development Board

 

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Extreme weather events are occurring across the country and around the world. Just to name a few recent events in the U.S., 2017 has seen a record swing from drought conditions to the wettest winter in California history; the earliest tornadoes in Massachusetts and Minnesota history; hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria in rapid succession; and record wildfires, again in California. Surely something is screwy, right? 

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The other week I got to see something really amazing: a community where teachers have all the support they need to teach climate change and evolution.

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Nate Chisholm on the Colorado

NCSEteach is a unique resource for science teachers. The monthly NCSEteach newsletter goes out to over 6,000 teachers nationwide and the Scientist in the Classroom program fosters collaborations between professional scientists and educators. This year, three teachers were awarded a rafting trip down the Grand Canyon in 2017, and shared their experience through the NCSE blog (Marie Story, Nate Chisholm, and Robyn Witty).

We are proud of our teachers, and the work they are doing!

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My advice of the day?

Never pass up a chance to hang out with science teachers!

The occasion was the 2017 awards luncheon of the California Science Teachers Association (CSTA). The National Center for Science Education was being honored with the 2017 Distinguished Contributions Award, for our work supporting the California Science Framework review process, and our help in providing teachers with guidance about how to respond to the Heartland Institute’s mailing of misleading climate propaganda to California teachers. It was awfully nice of CSTA to recognize NCSE since in my view, it’s teachers who deserve the accolades.

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