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.

 

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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.

 

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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—

 

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Shuttle Atlantis Home! Prompts Me to Look to America’s Future … and I’m Troubled

 Posted by DrJeff on November 27th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

153212main_129_landing_better_1_425

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

I just watched space shuttle Atlantis land at Kennedy. I had lots and lots of mixed emotions. The shuttle is just a remarkable technological achievement, and watching it land can be a pretty emotional experience.


But the space shuttle was never supposed to be more than a space truck to low Earth orbit. I was left reflecting on my childhood when I watched Apollo astronauts walking on the Moon, and dreamed of what awaited us in the 21st century in terms of human spaceflight. It has definitely not come to pass. In fact, approaching 2010 we are now at a crossroads. Shuttle has just 5 more flights, and then the U.S. will need to rely on the Russians for years just to have astronaut access to the International Space Station. And that’s just keeping the status quo with humans continuing to travel no farther from the surface of Earth than a couple hundred miles. I drive farther than that visiting my mom just north of New York City from my home near Washington, DC. It’s called low Earth orbit, and we’ve been stuck here now for 37 YEARS. Is this the grand vision for human spaceflight we embraced 40 years ago when we saw Armstrong and Aldrin walking on the Moon?


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A Doctor Jeff Myth Buster: Carbon Dioxide is Just a Trace Gas – BIG DEAL!

 Posted by DrJeff on October 24th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

testPhoto caption: CO2 concentration in the atmosphere in parts per million over the last 400,000 years. Credit: NOAA.

 

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

This is crossposted at the Huffington Post HERE.

 

Here’s how the argument goes—and do it justice by reading it out loud, and kinda yelling whenever you see words in CAPS.

 

“Hey, you’re worried about CO2 concentration in the atmosphere going up because of human activity and causing an increase in global temperature?! GIVE ME A BREAK! It’s only a TRACE gas, currently making up only 0.038% of the atmosphere, or 380 parts per MILLION!!  SO WHAT if we increase it to a WHOPPING 1,000 parts per million (ppm) by 2100. Then it would ONLY comprise 0.1% of the atmosphere. BIG DEAL!! There is NO CONCEIVABLE WAY that changes in such a miniscule amount of CO2 could have any significant impact on the global environment. You’re preaching the sky is falling, and ANYONE WITH HALF A BRAIN can see that this is just SILLY! YOU must be part of some Scientists-in-Need-of-Federal-Funds—Green Business—Government (SiNoFF-GB-G) conspiracy that’s bent on destroying everything that is good. TAKE A WALK YOU ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVIST IN NEED OF A CAUSE. Why … you’re likely a paid operative of the SINoFF-GB-G machine!”

 

Ummm.. has anybody else heard this argument, or is it just me? Here’s my rebuttal (and you’re still using the CAPS-means-shouting thing.)

 

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TMN QuickLinks: Five Powerful Climate Change Lessons for A Very Important Earth Science Week October 11-17, 2009

 Posted by DrJeff on October 11th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

EarthFromSpace_2560x1024Photo Caption: The Sun setting over the Pacific and a towering thundercloud, July 21, 2003 as seen from the International Space Station (Expedition 7). Click on the image and explore your world close-up using the scroll bars. The time to protect it is at hand.


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.

 

 

Earth Science Week takes on a rather unique importance in 2009. This year’s theme is Understanding Climate. On December 7-18. 2009, the entire world will meet in Copenhagen for the United Nations Climate Change Conference, to hammer out the next international agreement on climate change and put in place new targets for greenhouse gas emissions. It may be humanity’s last opportunity to craft an agreement—AND get it ratified by the world’s nations—before the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 (and in force in 2005) expires in 2012. This seems to me to be a very big deal for the future of this planet, particularly in light of the latest projections for the impact of global warming—which indicate we need to act NOW or face irreversible consequences (see CNN, March 12, 2009)—and Copenhagen is the venue for that action.

 

The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has now issued 4 Reports, the last issued February 2, 2007:

 

On Feb. 2, 2007, the United Nations scientific panel studying climate change declared that the evidence of a warming trend is “unequivocal,” and that human activity has “very likely” been the driving force in that change over the last 50 years.

New York Times, October 11, 2009

 

If we allow things to continue unchanged and we don’t take action today, it would destabilize human society.

—Rajendra Pachaurihead, Head of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), “Climate chief warns against ‘Tragic’ inaction”, CNN, August 21, 2008


Here are some relevant links:

Findings of the UN IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, see Union of Concerned Scientists, February 16, 2007

 

June 16, 2009 White  House Report Global Climate Change Impacts the United States: coverage by USAToday (‘Game Changer’),  CBS (White House Sounds Alarm), CNN (Report Warns of Cimate Change Effects), ABC (US Climate Report Dire)

 

Assessment by U.S. Department of Defense on U.S. National Security, and on the grave scenarios that can play out from global warming: New York Times (August 8, 2009)

 

My point is that over the next few months, the world faces a unique and seminally important moment in time, and Earth Science Week 2009 should serve as a timely catalyst for education in the US. HERE is the countdown clock to Copenhagen.

 

To date I’ve created 5 Posts at Blog on the Universe—5 powerful lessons—on climate change and global warming that I’d like to share with you as resources to use in classrooms and in discussions at home this coming week.

 

First, what is Earth Science Week?

 

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September 8 and September 11: Joy, Pain, and Hope

 Posted by DrJeff on September 11th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

This post is a Teachable Moment in the News.

This is crossposted at the Huffington Post HERE.

 

12:01 am, September 11, 2009

 

I’ll remember Tuesday September 8, 2009 for quite a long time. My Jordi turned 7. How can that be? It seems like only yesterday I took my wife Kathy to the hospital, both of us thankful that he wasn’t going to be born on September 11. And now he’s 7! —looking for experiences under every rock, challenging his mom and dad to keep up. He is just a joy to behold. He inspired this blog.

 

Last Tuesday, it wasn’t just his birthday, it was his first day back at school. He was giddy with excitement when I drove him to school. He was going to see all his classmates he’d missed all summer. I walked him to class and he was bouncing off the walls. He also was given a gift that day. He sat down with his school and listened to the President of the United States, who spoke of the power of education.  He spoke of a student’s obligation to themselves, to their family, and to their country. He spoke to Jordi and his generation, and challenged them to reach within themselves and aspire to do great things. I believe deeply in those words. I also believe in those that tirelessly and patiently nurture our children so they can indeed aspire to great things. I believe in teachers. I am so very thankful for Jordi’s teachers, and my daughter Jada’s (an important future post for me). And I remember my own teachers that long ago invited me on a journey of a lifetime. So I did what I could do as well. I’m not sure how (it wasn’t planned that way), but an hour after the President spoke, my essay appeared at Huffington Post, titled The Art of Teaching – In Tough Times, a Thank You to Teachers Everywhere. It was my way of saying thanks.

 

There are threads through moments of time.

 

Today is September 11, 2009. It was 8 years ago that I watched President Bush talking to an elementary school class in Florida at the beginning of their school year. I remember that moment when he was interrupted with news beyond comprehension.

 

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Commentary on Blue-Ribbon Panel Exploring NASA’s Strategic Options for Human Space Flight

 Posted by DrJeff on August 13th, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

sciencegoal4_400_041014190552

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

This is crossposted at the Huffington Post HERE.

 

Should humans next travel to Moon, Mars, or …

 

The blue-ribbon panel tasked by the White House with reviewing NASA’s current strategic plans for human space flight, and exploring other options, wraps up deliberations this week. They’ve been at it just 2 months, and this Friday (August 14) Norman Augustine, the panel’s chair, presents the list of options to new NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden and WH science and technology advisor John Holdren. I thought I’d weigh in.

 

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Apples and You

 Posted by DrJeff on May 21st, 2009

 Copyright 2009  |  About this blog

 

apple-earth

This post is a Jeffism’ by Dr. Jeff and a Dr. Jeff Speaks Out.


Last time on the blog, I used astronaut John Grunsfeld’s recent Business Trip to the Hubble Space Telescope to show you that the perceived limitless ocean of air under which we live is really not limitless. At an altitude of 62 miles (100 km) above Earth’s surface, you’re effectively at the top of the atmosphere (since 99.99% of it is beneath you.) So let’s really put this in perspective with a Dr. Jeff Jeffism:

 

Earth’s atmosphere compared to Earth is thinner than

the skin of an apple compared to an apple.

 

I truly hope that makes an impression on you. Read it again and let it sink in. Then take a moment and reflect on what you’re thinking.

 

Now … for the rest of the story—


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