For the New School Year – Repost of the “Art Of Teaching” as a Personal Thank You to Teachers

 Posted by DrJeff on September 5th, 2011

 Copyright 2011  |  About this blog

 


Jordi (from Driving with Jordi fame) learning how to skate a few years ago. He could count on his dad. He showed me when I should lead, and when he needed me to get out of his way. Now they call him rocket man.

 

This is crossposted at the Huffington Post HERE.

 

This essay “The Art of Teaching” was originally published April 15, 2009. I just revised it in support of the release of the music video  ‘We’ve Got to be That Light – A Gift For America’s Teachers”, which was the subject of the last post here at Blog on the Universe.

 

Let me know what you think of this essay! Leave a comment below or send me an email at jeffgoldstein@ncesse.org

 

-dr. jeff

 

 

So here’s a thought. Track down an old teacher
that meant the world to you and tell them just that.

 

 

It’s a new school year and teachers are now back in classrooms across America. During these tough times I wanted to write something that might help inspire the new teacher, reaffirm to the seasoned professional why we went into teaching in the first place, and recognize the remarkable gift that teachers in our lives give to us all.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

 

The Final Countdown: Shuttle Atlantis Soars Heavenward for Last Time – A Teachable Moment

 Posted by DrJeff on May 12th, 2010

 Copyright 2010  |  About this blog

 

 

Photo Caption: Space Shuttle Atlantis at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida after arriving at Pad 39A on April 21, 2010, in preparation for flight STS-132. Click on the image to see Atlantis up close and personal.

 

This is a Teachable Moments in the News QuickLinks Post. It connects a news story with this Blog’s existing powerful library of Posts and Resource Pages. The cited Posts and Pages provide a deep understanding of concepts in the earth and space sciences relevant to the news story. Teachers—the Posts and Pages are also designed for use as lessons, allowing you to easily bring current science into the classroom as a teachable moment. Each cited Post is outlined in the Teachers Lesson Planner, which includes the Post’s essential questions, concepts, objectives, and math skills.


 

This is it. The moment when the reality of loss truly begins to sink in. There are three flights of the space shuttle left, one for each of the remaining orbiters—Atlantis, Discovery, and Endeavour. Currently scheduled for launch Friday, May 14, at 2:20 pm EDT, it is Atlantis’ time to soar one last time.

 

I will be posting these Teachable Moments for each of the remaining flights in the hope that parents and teachers will be able to tune in with our children, and savor the end of an era before the fleet is retired for museum display, forever standing in silent testimony to a remarkable human achievement of days gone by.

 

Follow the flight of Atlantis on NASA TV. You can also follow along with NASA”s STS-132 Launch Blog, which will begin coverage at 9:00 am EDT on May 14. Other NASA pages of interest:

 

Countdown Clock and Mission Description

 

STS-132 Image Gallery

 

STS-132 Mission Timeline

 

Here is a NASA video on the rollout of Atlantis to Pad 39-A

 

 

Below are previous posts at Blog on the Universe that powerfully address the science, history, and politics of human spaceflight—and can be used to help make the flight of Atlantis a Teachable Moment.

 

You might start with my February 6, 2010 post Shuttle Endeavour About to Blast Off on its Second to Last Mission, where I imagine what it will be like as the era of the Space Shuttle fades into history along with Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. It’s a powerful lesson for students not realizing they are living through a moment in history.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Tweetisms for the 21st Century: on Science, Education, and the Human Condition

 Posted by DrJeff on May 5th, 2010

 Copyright 2010  |  About this blog

 

Photo caption: The Eyjafjallajökull Volcano erupting in Iceland as seen from NASA’s Earth Observing-1 satellite on May 2, 2010. How dare it interrupt the lives of all those folks on business travel.

 

This is a Dr. Jeff’s Jeffisms post.

 

This is crossposted at the Huffington Post HERE.

 

OK, so I’m a regular on Twitter, and proud of it. I guess that makes me a Tweep, and if you aren’t, I’ve got something to tell you. There are lots of folks that think Twitter is where you go when you’ve got this intense need to broadcast to the world what you had for lunch. Mostly these are folks that stay away from Twitter ’cause they either don’t understand it or its power as a social medium. But there are also a whole bunch of Tweeps out there that do think I’m interested in their lunch today—let’s call them lunchies.

 

So to Twitter avoiders, and to the lunchies, I’d like to add my two cents. Twitter is a water cooler for the 21st century. At this cooler you can meet fellow human beings from across the planet, and share thoughts about life, our world, and our children—common thoughts that bind us all, regardless of nationality. In an age when as never before humanity faces a perfect storm of global problems, it’s precisely this kind of water cooler you’d like to see, and to frequent.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

 

The Address of A Self-Important World

 Posted by DrJeff on May 3rd, 2010

 Copyright 2010  |  About this blog

 


Photo caption: Earth as seen by the MESSENGER spacecraft as it flew by our planet on August 2 2005.


This post is a Dr. Jeff Speaks Out.

 

This is crossposted at the Huffington Post HERE and at the Space Tweep Society Blog HERE.


Don’t let your seemingly vast experience as an inhabitant of this world fool you. It’s easy to be lulled into a false sense of self-importance. Let me explain.

 

You likely live in a house or apartment on a street, and in a community that’s part of some town, maybe even some major urban area. Your community is likely part of a much larger state or province of one of the nations of Earth—which are themselves nothing more than imaginary constructs of human society. Your country is also likely assigned to one of the continental masses whose sum total of land area is just 29% of the planet’s surface. You are small and the Earth is seemingly vast, as if we humans to Earth are just so many micro-organisms scurrying about each day (each rotation of Earth), and following rules of social engagement that often defy logic.

 

It’s a story that at a most fundamental level defines your address. It may be all the address you need to ship a package to your friend across the ocean. But it won’t cut it with the intergalactic post office. As I said, don’t let your experience and perception fool you. It’s the rest of the address of which most Earthlings are unaware. For so many reasons it’s also the most important part of the address.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Hero Engineers and Scientists Preparing for MESSENGER Spacecraft Orbit of Mercury

 Posted by DrJeff on April 22nd, 2010

 Copyright 2010  |  About this blog

 

Mercury Northern Limb 3rd Flyby, September 2009

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Photo Caption: Stop what you are doing for a moment, just imagine the stark contrast between the surface of this world and the vacuum of space, and click on this photo for a Zoom. Be thankful on this 40th Earth Day for the veil of atmosphere above you, slender as it may be. NASA’s MESSENGER spacecraft took this image of Mercury’s northern horizon on September 29, 2009, during its third and final flyby of Mercury, as we were covering the event live via Twitter from Mission Control in Columbia, Maryland. This image captures portions of Mercury we had never before seen—it represents history in the making. I invite you to read more about this image at the MESSENGER mission gallery.

 

This post is a Teachable Moment in the News.

 

This is crossposted at the Space Tweep Society Blog HERE.

 

FLASH: We interrupt the rhythm of your daily lives to bring you news from beyond Earth, from a tiny robot determined to take the human race to an alien world. Many of you tuned in September 2009 when Blog on the Universe provided live coverage of the MESSENGER spacecraft’s flyby of Mercury, the last gravity assist needed to get the spacecraft on course for Mercury orbital insertion in March 2011. We are now less than 11 months from that historic first—a spacecraft in orbit around the mysterious inner-most planet of our Solar System. You might want to bookmark the countdown clock.

 

Since last September 29, 7 months of our lives have been filled with a new school year, passage of seasons, and the ebb and flow of over 200 days. Meanwhile, dutifully navigating through the harsh environment of space, our little spacecraft has been steadily gaining on its rendezvous with destiny on March 18, 2011, under the watchful eyes of its extended family back on Earth—the MESSENGER Team. For this team, those 200+ days were filled with assessing data already broadcast to Earth from MESSENGER’s 3 prior flybys of the planet, and preparing for orbital insertion and on-orbit operations.

 

These engineers and scientists are the current generation of explorers on the frontiers of human exploration, and ought to be held up to our children as heroes and role models in the age of high technology—and at a time when America needs to step to the plate in science and technology education if we are to compete in the 21st century (you might want to read my related essay at Huffington Post.) So meet these heroes and role models—the Core Team, the Science Team, the Instrument Team, the Engineering Team, and the Mission Operations Team. Have a conversation with your kids, or if you are a teacher, have a conversation with your class about this remarkable group of folks. And to really get up close and personal, read how cool operations engineer Ray Espiritu got from his dream in middle school to being part of the MESSENGER mission. Read highlights on the lives of other MESSENGER Team members using the button at the bottom of the Highlights Page.

 

So now for some really exciting news sent to the entire MESSENGER Team via email on April 18, 2010, by Eric J. Finnegan, MESSENGER Mission Systems Engineer. I have provided the text of Eric’s email without modification to give you a sense of the behind-the-scenes communication and spirit of teamwork that a group of folks like you and me is undertaking on behalf of humanity. We are now fully engaged in preparations for an encounter with another world—

 

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Space Shuttle Discovery Lands This Morning – Make it a Teachable Moment

 Posted by DrJeff on April 20th, 2010

 Copyright 2010  |  About this blog

 

Photo Caption: Space Shuttle Discovery docked at the International Space Station on April 16,2010. The Leonardo Multi-Purpose Logistics Module is visible in Discovery’s payload bay. More at the NASA image library for STS-131.

 

This is a Teachable Moments in the News QuickLinks Post. It connects a news story with this Blog’s existing powerful library of Posts and Resource Pages. The cited Posts and Pages provide a deep understanding of concepts in the earth and space sciences relevant to the news story. Teachers—the Posts and Pages are also designed for use as lessons, allowing you to easily bring current science into the classroom as a teachable moment. Each cited Post is outlined in the Teachers Lesson Planner, which includes the Post’s essential questions, concepts, objectives, and math skills.



 

Space Shuttle Discovery (STS-131) is landing today. There are only 3 more flights of the Shuttle through September 2010 before retirement of the fleet. Watch Discovery’s landing on NASA TV with your class this morning.

 

Make this a teachable moment! Below are previous posts at Blog on the Universe that powerfully address the science, history, and politics of human spaceflight—and all of them embrace the notion that science education is about conceptual understanding at an emotional level.

 

I suggest you start with my February 6, 2010 post Shuttle Endeavour About to Blast Off on its Second to Last Mission, where I talk about what it will be like for all of us when the Space Shuttle stops flying, and the era of this remarkable machine fades into history. This is a very powerful lesson for students that may not realize they are living through a moment in history.

 

Finally, if you have memories of the Space Shuttle you’d like to share with other readers of this Blog, you’re invited to leave a comment below.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Shuttle Endeavour About to Blast Off on its Second to Last Mission, Make it a Teachable Moment

 Posted by DrJeff on February 6th, 2010

 Copyright 2010  |  About this blog

 

Photo Caption: Endeavour in orbit on flight STS-118, August 15, 2007. Click on the image for a breathtaking close up view. Read more about the image, and visit the STS-118 image gallery at NASA.

 

This is a Teachable Moments in the News QuickLinks Post. It connects a news story with this Blog’s existing powerful library of Posts and Resource Pages. The cited Posts and Pages provide a deep understanding of concepts in the earth and space sciences relevant to the news story. Teachers—the Posts and Pages are also designed for use as lessons, allowing you to easily bring current science into the classroom as a teachable moment. Each cited Post is outlined in the Teachers Lesson Planner, which includes the Post’s essential questions, concepts, objectives, and math skills.


This is crossposted at the Huffington Post HERE.

 

Follow the flight of Endeavour (STS-130) with liftoff currently scheduled for Monday, Feb. 8, 2010, 4:14 a.m. EST, at NASA’s Space Shuttle website.

 

 

A different kind of countdown has begun. It is now 2010. Before the next New Year’s celebration, the U.S. Space Shuttle program will be just a memory. Those that took pride in following along as this remarkable vehicle broke the surly bonds of Earth will surely feel they’ve lost a friend, and the pain of a very personal page turned forever will linger for quite some time. Those of you that follow news of the day as daily ritual, every so often hearing about a Space Shuttle blasting off or returning to Earth, will no longer experience that quick smile acknowledging pride in American leadership and technological prowess—at least not when it comes to human spaceflight.

 

Read the rest of this entry »

 

Happy New Year and Some Fun Facts

 Posted by DrJeff on January 1st, 2010

 Copyright 2010  |  About this blog

 

This post is a Teachable Moment in the News and a Dr. Jeff’s Jeffism.

 

It’s been a wonderful year for me here at Blog on the Universe. We launched in May 2009, not knowing if the concept would catch on. It did, and in just 7 months I’ve had the good fortune of reaching and conversing with tens of thousands of educators, science and space enthusiasts, science writers, environmentalists, homeschool moms and dads, ed techs, and scifi fans. The Blog now has a pretty eclectic following … which is very cool.

 

To all of you that follow the ol’ blog, may you and your families have a healthy, joyous, and prosperous 2010! And my advice is live in the moment.

 

Now for something completely different (Monty Python?) While I was tweeting to my PLN earlier today I came up with some New Years fun facts and Jeffisms of sorts. Thought I’d collect them all and share them here with you. Teachers and parents, you might want to discuss these with your kids!

 

Ponder this: From the moment the New Year began to the end of the first day in 2010, YOU on Earth have traveled a whopping 1.6 MILLION miles (2.6 MILLION km) along Earth’s orbit around the Sun.


Read the rest of this entry »

 

Let’s Ban English in School …. Except in English Class

 Posted by DrJeff on December 18th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

a.k.a.

Dr. Jeff on Mathematics Education

Mathematics

This is a Dr. Jeff’s Jeffism and a Dr. Jeff Speaks Out.

 

 

Math is the language of nature. If you yearn to know

how she operates, you must speak her language.

—Dr. Jeff

 

I wrote this essay because I needed to get something off my chest. It first appeared as a foreword to a Dr. Jeff’s Weekly Challenge posted on June 15, 2009, but I think it’s so important that I decided to commit it to a formal Resource Page here at Blog on the Universe. My Resource Pages are all found in the right navigation column under the section titled “Pages” and under the subsection titled “Dr. Jeff on Stuff – The BotU Resource Pages” (take a look at right.) I dedicate the Resource Pages to essays on important topics like: the Nature of Our Existence, the Art of Teaching, Scientists and Engineers as Heros and Role Models, and the Crisis in Science and Technology Education. I felt that an important essay on mathematics and mathematics education should be a dedicated Resource Page.

 

So here now is my sure to be viewed as an outrageous essay:

 

Dr. Jeff on Mathematics Education


Let me know what you think by leaving a comment on that page. Also—you can read more about this Blog’s Resource Pages HERE.


 

Firestorm in the Arctic: Al Gore Vindicated on Comments in Copenhagen

 Posted by DrJeff on December 16th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

Al_Gore

This is a Teachable Moment in the News and a Dr. Jeff Speaks Out.

 

This is crossposted at the Huffington Post HERE.


I had a day of meetings yesterday, with no connection to the outside world. When I got home a good friend stopped over and asked if I heard what Al Gore had said in Copenhagen, and the firestorm it created in the world media. I had not. So I made a beeline for the computer and sought out the circus-sphere passing for journalism these days. Here is what I found.

 

A Timesonline story titled “Inconvenient truth for Al Gore as his north pole sums don’t add up”, may have been the focal point. Apparently Mr. Gore said, as reported by the Timesonline—

 

Read the rest of this entry »