March for Science Educator Resources

Educators and parents looking to help provide resources to enrich their discussions regarding the March for Science might want to consider the following:

Yale News: Truth in the Internet Age-Science Under Siege While the title is quite stark, this link takes you to a brief (about 3 minutes) video highlighting a series of symposia Yale has been offering regarding the issues related to science in our “post-truth” climate.

University of Michigan News: Stand Up for Science-Teach Out UMich wants to extend the conversation beyond today’s march. They are offering a free online “teach-out” on May 5 on the edX platform to help provide additional information. This link features a video and information about their intentions to help scientists and science supporters engage in effective communication and dialogue about science and its fundamental importance in a civil society.

March for Science Principles and Goals: The website for the organization has a list of their principles and goals, with a special emphasis on diversity and inclusion.

Harvard Gazette: Harvard Gazette features an interview with the European Union Science Commissioner regarding the role that scientists can play in being vocal about science, telling the story about the myriad ways in which our lives are enhanced by science and technology.

University of Alabama- Adam Jones wrote an informative article about how University of Alabama engineering students created a car for a child with special needs. The video is inspiring and at a great inspiration and reminder of why we believe in education and science.

Your Brain On Learning-University of Alabama Research

What if everything we “know” as educators is wrong?

Thanks to advances in neuroscience, we are likely to be exposed to revolutionary new ideas about how the brain actually learns that will fundamentally alter the way we do our jobs each day.

Sigh.

And I was just getting used to the new curriculum….

The good news is in University of Alabama writer David Miller’s article on neuroscience research on learning. According to researchers at the University of Alabama is that it will probably take ten years for the research to make its way to the classroom level, according to assistant professor, Dr. Firat Soylu- so don’t delete those slide shows just yet!

The even better news, is that much of this research will hopefully take the guess work out of how we think students learn and make differentiated instruction seem quaint, as we hopefully will be able to truly individualize instruction, so each student can learn the way they learn best.

In an ideal world, this will allow computers to handle the basic knowledge acquisition of memorization, solving basic formulas, understanding vocabulary and allow teachers to focus on developing research literacy through critical thinking, project based learning, labs, and other more cognitively complex classroom activities.

Now is a great time to introduce your students to the basics of neuroscience and the fMRI gear that are the tools of the trade.

Who knows, maybe your principal will get you that EEG machine after all?

For additional information on Dr. Soylu’s work, which includes an insightful review of educational neuroscience research and discusses several lesson designs which can likely enhance student learning, please see the article The Thinking Hand:Embodiment of Tool Use, Social Cognition, and Metaphorical Thinking and Implications for Learning Design.  The learning design method of perspective taking as exemplified in the section “Being the Sensor” as great utility for a wide variety of classroom settings.

Questions for Discussion

  1. What does fMRI stand for?
  2. How does it work?
  3. How is it different than a traditional MRI?
  4. How much does it cost?
  5. What is tDCS?
  6. Are you a skeptic- does this seem like just another research “fad?” What evidence do you base your skepticism on?
  7. What teaching practices are you doing now, that are likely a bit behind the times?
  8. What do you want to know about neuroscience to help you be a better educator?
  9. How can you use this information to inspire your students?