Science education

When does a little artistic license go a little too far? i-b1e041868f26a9b705c4fa3f58d6a63f-jellyfish_green.jpgWe don't always expect the truth in science journalism imagery. We've all seen the newspaper pictures of the famous scientist wearing a lab coat and gazing intently at a gel, looking through a microscope, or contemplating an agar plate streaked with lovely ... Read more
No one in a life science-related industry or research lab, in Western Washington, is safe at this time of year. Surely, you're joking! No, seriously, there are teachers and science enthusiasts everywhere looking to sign you up! And don't call me "Shirley." Sign me up? That's right, it's time to prepare for the BIOTECH EXPO This is the Western Washington version of the science Olympics! Those science enthusiasts are out scouting for anyone who does something related to science or a life-science industry to act as an advisor (sort a ... Read more
Why is an eye, an eye and a nose, a nose? Why do different cells create different kinds of tissues when all the cells in a single organism start out with the same set of instructions (aka DNA)? Head, Shoulders, Knees, and Toes is a learning activity that helps students discover, for themselves, that certain genes are expressed in some tissues but not in others. My goal here, as part of our NSF-funded project, is to show how students can learn biology by doing science with bioinformatics tools. If ... Read more
How can you extend a blood typing activity with an active learning approach? The blood typing lab, part I. What went wrong? and why? Blood typing part II. Can this laboratory be saved? The learning objective: To understand the inheritance of blood type. In this activity students: 1. Identify which blood type a person would have based on their alleles, 2. Observe the alleles that an offspring would have and identify the blood types of the ... Read more
The blood typing lab, part I. What went wrong? and why? Blood typing part II. Can this laboratory be saved? Those wacky non-major Zoo students are at it again! And this time they drew blood! Mike's undergraduate students learned about blood typing, a common tool of detectives and real crime TV. They did the classic blood typing lab, and by golly, they refused to parrot the correct answer on the test! The nerve ... Read more
Many science experiments are carefully thought out. Often, the procedures we follow have been thoroughly tested. We measure everything we can at every point that we can, so that we can determine if a procedure, like isolating DNA, is working properly and if the procedure doesn't work, we can determine what went wrong. When the procedure is done, we analyze our data to determine if our experiments really gave us an answer. Then, we present our data to others, in venues like lab meetings and conferences, subjecting our work to review to the toughest critics we can find. ... Read more
Many of you might take this for granted, and I know it seems amazing today, but I when first started teaching, our access to scientific literature was pretty limited. I could go to the UW and use Grateful Med to search Medline, but we didn't have anything like it at my college and web browsers, like Mosaic, had yet to be invented. So, when I first started giving workshops for teachers on biotechnology and the world of the web, many were quite surprised to find out about the PubMed database. Since PubMed is (to me) one of the best resources to ever come along, I think we ... Read more
Over the summer, a few ScienceBloggers were pondering the question of why students disappear from science courses, never to return. James Hrynshyn wrote that we're teaching youngsters the wrong thing. Zuska boldy pointed out the things that many of us think but don't say out loud. Chad Orzel noted that science is hard and shared his thoughts ... Read more

Razib inspired me to share some of the story behind why white people are considered derivatives.

No red herrings, here! Lamason et. al. found a single gene that controls human skin color while studying pigmentation in zebra fish (1). These zebra fish had an unusual golden color that turned out to be an important clue. Lamason and collaborators found that the golden zebra fish lost their normal color because of a mutation in the slc24a5 gene. When the zebra fish have the mutant form, they produce fewer melanosomes.

A short language lesson Fewer ... Read more

and what is the volume of the sea? This sounds a bit like the beginning of a poem but it's really the answer to the question we posed last week on a Digital Biology Friday. i-3faa77de2c8e6cc50b5fa2cbca9c38b0-rainbow_direction.pngWe can see, in the sequence window, that two strands are both labeled 5' on the left ... Read more

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