Thursday, November 09, 2006

SW Minnesota Science and Math Teachers

Thanks to all of you math and science teachers who gave up your evening for Monday's meeting. I was honored by the attention you gave me during my talk, and I look forward to fielding your comments and requests for further information.

Make sure to check out the links to the side for some of the information I mentioned:

For "Rising Above the Gathering Storm" and "The World is Flat", go to the Evidence 4 Inquiry link. Look there also if you want to go deeper regarding why inquiry should be used in our classrooms.

I mentioned several times the NSF curricula that has already been field-tested so that it works with students. To see those, use the Inquiry Resources link. Remember, don't make the mistake I did of trying to develop your own inquiry curriculum. Wow, that was hard!

For number talks, try Googling "number talks". (Use the quotation marks in your search string.) You should find a lot of good ideas that way.

I am very interested in any comments you want to post, and anonymous comments are absolutely fine. If you have any trouble making a comment, feel free to e-mail by clicking my picture to take you to my e-mail link.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Hoover AL Science & Math Reforms

On October 9, I presented a reform proposal to the Board of Education of Hoover City Schools. Ron Dodson helped me develop it. Click the link to see the proposal. If you're a Hoover community member, I'd especially like to hear your comments on the proposal.

The hyperlinks within the proposal probably don't work. If you'll shoot me a quick e-mail request, I'll send you the original Word document with working links.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Evidence 4 site back up

Don't know if you noticed that portions of the Evidence 4 Inquiry site were down. I just fixed the problem, and everything looks to be working again.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Alabama Science Teachers Association

It was great being with my home town crowd at ASTA. Unlucky spot for me--the dreaded 8:00 a.m. presentation, but I had a few noble souls fighting off the sleepies. I gave the Evidence 4 Inquiry talk, and I think it was helpful. If you attended, please let me know your feedback by posting a comment here. Also, see the link for information on "The World is Flat," the book I mentioned. I think all other resources are on the Evidence 4 Inquiry site.

Monday, October 02, 2006

ASTA Follow-up

Check back here later this week for follow-up from the Evidence 4 Inquiry session.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Revised Evidence4 Site

When you have a moment, please check out the revised Evidence 4 Inquiry site. I've updated the format significantly, and I've added content. Please let me know any comments that you have.

Monday, July 24, 2006

NAEP itself

Just had a chance to look through the 2005 NAEP results. They're laid out really nicely on the site (see link). You can really drill down into the data and see what's going on.

Washington State's NAEP Results: Me Too!

I wonder what's going on with NAEP and these LASER states! Check the link to see Washington State's strong showing on NAEP.

SC leads NAEP Gains

I was very interested to see my friends in South Carolina leading the nation in improvements on NAEP (see link). The most interesting thing to me was the SC is a LASER state. Most students in the state have access to learning via hands-on inquiry using NSF-developed curricula. To me, this may be the first national data showing how inquiry really does work.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Inquiry for College Prep

Thanks to my buddy Ron Dodson of Hoover City Schools for pointing out how the ACT has shifted so that it focuses squarely on inquiry. For those of you who teach in states where colleges accept the ACT (as the do throughout the South where I am) teaching by inquiry will help boost ACT scores. This means that inquiry will help some kids will get into college who wouldn't have via traditional science instruction. Inquiry will also help some students get into better colleges and earn scholarship money.

Check out the ACT science standards at the following site: (or use the link below).

Friday, May 12, 2006

PD resources for inquiry!

At NSTA, I had the pleasure of meeting Lynn Rankin from the Institute for Inquiry at San Francisco's Exploratorium. She made me aware of a new resource they have published that looks really impressive. It's a website of some of their key resources for those of you who provide PD on inquiry:

Check it out when you have a chance. Please comment back with your thoughts about the resources you find there.

Friday, April 14, 2006

NSTA reflections

Thanks to those of you who came to my NSTA presentation in Anaheim. I was pleased with how it went, and I appreciated the comments that some of you said afterwards. This was a first run for me on this presentation about the evidence for inquiry (and against traditional instruction), and I wasn't sure how people would respond. Actually, I expected resistance and push back. There didn't seem to be any.

Are we beginning to turn the corner toward inquiry in this country? Someone I talked with at NSTA said that about half the presentations looked to be on inquiry. Maybe the momentum is beginning to build. I hope so. I'm really convinced now that it's the best things for kids.

Please see the following site for resources from my presentation. It's a quick webpage that I've thrown together for those of you who want to dig deeper on the evidence I reviewed. Let me know your thoughts via a comment to this post.

Monday, April 03, 2006

See you in Anaheim (NSTA)?

I hope to see you in Anaheim at NSTA this week. I'll be presenting, but I have been given probably the worst presentation slot possible! I'll be presenting at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning in room 211B of the convention center. My topic will be the research base for traditional teaching vs. Inquiry. I'm going to have us look at the evidence from personal experience, from national and international comparisons, and from cognitive science. This presentation is part of an effort I'm making to try to line out how clear the research is that traditional instruction is bad for kids.

I have to attend NARST earlier in the week; so, I'll be at NSTA only on Friday and Saturday. Let me know if you want to try to get together.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Evidence for Evolution

In the back of my mind, I'm always pondering how we can teach evolution in such a way that deeply religious students are engaged, but not threatened. I don't know if it's possible, but I know that it's important that we struggle with the issue, especially due to my experiences of growing up in Christian fundamentalism. I experienced a lot of conflict there, as did many of my friends.

I'm trying to find time to build on previous research I've done on this topic with David Jackson of UGA, and I'm just now trying to get a handle on the evidence for evolution. Bob Angus of UAB got my started with a great set of web-sites he had collected, and one of them might be really interesting to many of you. It's resources for evolution from the National Academies, and almost all of the resources are open-books. You can read them for free! You can find the site at the following URL:

Friday, March 03, 2006

DeMystifying Link

Just posted the link to DeMystifying Inquiry to the left. Here's the URL, just in case:

Saturday, February 04, 2006


My first blog post. I've been looking forward to this for a while, savoring the day when I would be able to get my thoughts out there in such a way that others could react and we could start a conversation. I'm first going to try developing this kind of community with CHEERS. We'll see how that works. Then, I want to start gathering my science ed friends from around the country in a conversation about high school inquiry. What will be really interesting is if my CHEERS friends start reading my science ed post and vice-versa.