Archive for the ‘education’ Category
I just finished up a week in Montana and Wyoming with a group of ninth graders, studying the history of wolf reintroduction in Yellowstone, learning a bit more about the wildlife while we were here. We booked part of our program with the Yellowstone Association, the education arm of the park, and I would highly recommend them for educational groups or for any visitors looking for informative and helpful guides. They were like classroom/field trip teachers for three days; they got to know our students, and they really knew their stuff when it came to natural history, archaeology, geology, and ecology of the region. They also provided transportation in short tour vans, binoculars, and spotting scopes. As our students had been studying wolf reintroduction, the Association arranged for us to meet with two ranchers up in the Gardiner Valley, Martin Davis and Bruce Malcolm. The conversations with these gentlemen helped us all to gain some perspective on the complexity of the issues surrounding wolves, hunting, ranching, ecology, and economics; the students and teachers alike were moved by their equanimity, common sense, and insight. The ranching life is not one that too many of our students are familiar with, and it was eye opening for them (and me).
The week started out snowy and in the 20s, but got a bit warmer and sunnier each day. It is April in Northern Wyoming!
It was a pretty incredible trip.
I just found this video/tutorial series from bozemanbiology as I was looking for a visual way to introduce cells, other than looking at the diagrams in the book (or using CellsAlive, which I also find incredibly useful). So we watched this video today in class with both my biology sections. Now, Andersen FLIES through this stuff, faster than kids can take notes on, but I think his explanations are really clear (and students can always watch the video again. That could be useful for them after they’ve learned more about organelles, as a way to tie it all together for review). I also love the podcast style and how he uses graphics and “smart pen” notes on the screen. It’s like listening to and watching Alton Brown explain animal cell structures. I’d like to make some of these tutorials myself, or have the kids make them to show what they know for assessments.
Paul Andersen is a high school biology teacher in Bozeman, MT, and he’s got a few hundred videos on his YouTube channel, most on topics on biology, but some in physics, chemistry, and scientific method. It’s like Khan Academy with more visual aids.
We finished the field component of the predator-prey ecology class this week in the Daly Creek drainage, Montana, Yellowstone National Park. We worked to collect information on how elk browsing habits related to physical barriers in aspen stands affects recruitment of aspen saplings. Here’s a bit of what we saw.
This is a nostalgic post.
I walked into Lewis Hall this morning for the classroom portion of my predator-prey ecology class, and was instantly transported back to undergrad, to that great typical old-school biology building: long halls, worn stone steps, stairs on either end of the building, glass display cases with taxidermied birds and mammals, frosted glass on the top half of the wooden doors, labs with those long black tables, microscopes in cabinets. Now part of the nostalgia included the fact that the building isn’t air conditioned, and it does have that special biology lab smell. If you spent any significant time in Arey, before they built Olin, you know what I’m talking about. It really brought me right back.
Tomorrow’s classroom is in the Daly Creek drainage, which is in the section of Yellowstone National Park that extends along the Continental Divide into Montana, the most northwestern section of the park. We’ll be looking at predator-prey interactions between wolves and elk, to see what effects those interactions have on aspen growth in the area. The big question relates to whether the observable positive effects on aspen growth (since wolf reintroduction in 1996/97) are due to behavioral changes in the elk (the so-called “ecology of fear”), or whether it’s strictly a density-mediated change, related to the reduced population of elk (which were at an historic high before wolf reintroduction, at numbers upwards of 20,000!). Time to collect some data…
I’m in Bozeman this week for an MSSE class on predator-prey ecology, which I’m really psyched about. Two (long) days in the classroom, and three days out in the field in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley. I walked around campus this afternoon, got my bearings, and I’m looking forward to a good burger before I settle in for some light reading on trophic cascades, carrying capacities, isoclines, and the paradox of enrichment. I haven’t seen any elk or wolves yet, but when I do I’ll post some pictures.
A quick post to say that the Learning & the Brain conference (Web-Connected Minds) last weekend in Arlington VA was terrific. A whole lot to think about. And in order for me to process all the information, I’m going to start working through my notes and get some stuff out here over the next week.
First, I was happy to meet some new colleagues in the field. Conversations and emails swapped during individual sessions, new connections made through the Twitter (search hashtag #LB32 for the stream of tweets from the conference), and a face-to-face “tweet up” on Saturday night made the experience all the richer. A tangible benefit of the workshops, keynotes, and conversations is that my stack of books-to-read has grown tremendously. I started an open Google Doc to get all the recommendations down in one place, and I got plenty of input from presenters and other teachers at the conference. Please take a look, add your own suggestions, or comment on the ones that are there (or write in the Comments section below). I haven’t read all of these books, but I’ll try to work through some of them this summer. I’m going to start with Play by Stuart Brown, and Brain Rules by John Medina. I’m also interested to read Cathy Davidson’s Now You See It after her fascinating talk on Sunday morning.
Thanks to @fitzwits, @plugusin, @reyjunco, @tobyfischer, @kjongtech, @henesss, @bradfountain, @mSchlemko, @raviniareading, @jennifercottle, @snbeach, @CathyNDavidson, @tkraz, @AVIDbrian, @lottascales, @rfmoll, and @learningandtheb for book recs, thought provoking tweets, talks, and great ideas.
So, what’s on your reading list?
A colleague (and fellow football coach) alerted me to this story today, and it’s worth watching if you coach youth sports, or if you have children that are involved in contact sports.
Hard Hits, Hard Numbers is a segment by Stone Phillips that covers a study done by researchers from Virginia Tech on impact and the brain in youth tackle football. It follows one team of 7-8 year olds over the course of an entire season, looking at impact data from hits in practice and games by fitting several players’ helmets with accelerometers (which measure force and direction of impact). Although this study deals with hits to the head in football, the research would apply by extension to any contact sport played with a helmet, such as hockey or lacrosse.
Stone Phillips on PBSNewsHour: Pint-sized Football Players Take Big-League Hits
The full article from the study was published last month in the Annals of Biomedical Engineering.
It’s something we should continue to think about as coaches as we work to ensure safety for the children that we work with in youth sports.