Science education

Would you like to win a cash prize and maybe an expense paid trip to New York City? i-a9fbb9d884d39f01d6771b25afc87a7c-shrimp.jpg If you're in grades 7-12 and like research, you might be interested in the 2009 Young Naturalist contest from the American Museum of Natural History. Winners (2 from each grade) will receive cash awards, from $500 to $2,500, and an all-expense paid trip to New York City to attend the awards ceremony at the ... Read more
The National Girls Collaborative Project, as you might guess from the title, focuses on helping girls and engaging girls in science, technology, engineering, and math (aka "STEM"). i-b03850690dea3c33d059de360d9523b7-110.jpg

photos used with permission from NGCP

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Wow! One of my commenters, Ms. Baker, suggested an entirely new way that scientists can help with science education. The only requirement is that a science class have their own blog. So, if your science class has a blog, let me know, so I can share the URL and maybe recruit some scientists or at least graduate students, to take a look. I think this idea is so great! It doesn't involve any kind of traveling and many, many different scientists can participate, thus minimizing volunteer burn out. It also gives students a way to practice writing about what they do and interacting ... Read more
Part I. The back story from the genome record Together, these five posts describe the discovery of a novel paramyxovirus in the Aedes aegyptii genome and a new method for finding interesting anomalies in GenBank. I. The back story from the genome record II. What do the mumps proteins do? And how do we find out? III. Serendipity strikes when we Blink. IV. ... Read more
What do you do if you're a scientist and want to volunteer in a classroom? How do you find the right place to go and right kind of activity that suites your talents? One of my commenters asked about this a few weeks ago. With the new school year up and running, it seems like a good time to tackle this question. What kinds of volunteer activities do scientists do? Your effort can be big or small. Small efforts can involve speaking in a classroom, mentoring students via ea-mail, judging science fair projects, or assisting with homework questions. Larger efforts can ... Read more
Hey high school teachers! Are your students interested in the brain? Who isn't? Three winners will win all-expense-paid trips to present their work in a poster session in Seattle at the 2009 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology. Their teachers get to come too! I can tell you, Seattle is a fun place to visit.
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PubMed is an on-line database at the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) that contains information from scientific literature. Most of the information is related to medical research. To search PubMed, you use a program called Entrez. You go to the NCBI, select PubMed from the menu, type words into the text box, and start the search. Sometimes that's all you need to do. Sometimes you get several million results and need to use more specific words to limit the results the ones that you really want. Many scientists use PubMed on a ... Read more
Last night we went to a pub to hear about some new technology for diagnostic testing. A wonderful speaker, Karen Hedine from Micronics came and told us about the work that her company is doing. She brought along a demonstration machine and passed the machine and several plastic test chambers around the pub so we could all take a look. The technology, microfluidics, is fascinating stuff. I've written about it a little before( "From Louis Pasteur to "Lab on ... Read more
A few days ago, I wrote about a cool project that some high school students did where they used DNA sequencing to identify seafood. One question that came up from one of my commenters was how a school would start a project like this. I'm totally biased, but I think DNA sequencing (well, actually the data analysis) is one of the most interesting things that a class can do as part of a research project. These days, getting started with this kind of project, wouldn't be so hard. Here's are ... Read more
Two teenagers, Kate Stoeckle and Louisa Strauss, carried out their own science project over the past year. They visited 4 restaurants and 10 grocery stores and gathered 60 samples of fish and sent them off to the University of Guelph to get sequenced. I like this story. One of my former students did a project like this for the FDA years ago, sampling fish from the Pike Place Market and identifying them with PCR. He was an intern, though. Here we have students identifying sushi on their own! Quoting the ... Read more

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