Author Archives: Paul G. Hewitt

Focus on Physics: The Delightful Catenary Curve






When teaching how tension and compression relate to geometrical structures such as bridges, arches, and domes, I show a picture of the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris (Figure 1A), completed in the 14th century. I point out the elaborate buttresses that keep the walls from pushing outward while supporting its weight. Architects of the day […]

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Commentary: Going Beyond the Textbook






It has been said that science began “whenever and wherever [people] tried to solve the innumerable problems of life” (Sarton 1952). The Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS Lead States 2013) call for the pursuit of scientific literacy for all through science instruction. This includes acknowledging the contributions to science of those whose communities have been […]

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The Green Room: How Border Walls Affect Wildlife






The proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border would significantly affect wildlife (see “On the web”). Most animals cannot get past walls that are hundreds of miles long and many meters tall. Some species along parts of the border where a wall already exists, such as jaguars and ocelots, suffer from dwindling populations and difficulty finding […]

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The Science Teacher: Call for Papers






The Science Teacher (TST) seeks manuscripts of approximately 2,000 words that describe new and creative ideas for the secondary science classroom. Manuscripts should provide practical activities related to the themes listed below. TST also encourages manuscripts outside of the listed themes. For help, see our author guidelines and annotated sample manuscript. Forensics: Solving Mysteries Through Science SUBMISSION […]

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Science 2.0: Communicating Science Creatively






We’ve been covering the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) standards in every issue since September. This month, we examine the final standard, called Creative Communicator, which requires students to communicate effectively and creatively express themselves (ISTE 2016). The science curriculum provides opportunities for students to express their understanding of concepts. Science involves more […]

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Career of the Month: Fire Protection Engineer






Fire protection engineers help protect people from fire and explosion hazards by ensuring that buildings have adequate exits, that flammable substances are controlled, and that everyone operating near such hazards takes necessary precautions. Nancy Pearce is a fire protection engineer for the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). Work overview. Many fire engineers work behind the […]

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The Green Room: How Climate Change Affects Our Diet






Last year was the warmest year on record. Consequences of a warmer world include melting glaciers, rising sea levels, droughts, flooding, heat waves, and extreme weather. But how does climate change affect our food? Time magazine describes a “climate-change diet” that may force us to give up some popular foods made scarce by warmer temperatures […]

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Focus on Physics: Teaching Physics as the Rules of Nature






We all know that to enjoy a game, you must know the rules of the game. Likewise, to appreciate—and even comprehend—your environment, you must understand the rules of nature. Physics is the study of these rules, which show how everything in nature is beautifully interconnected. Physics taught as the rules of nature can be among […]

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Science 2.0: Help Students Become Global Collaborators






One day Jared was teaching about the boiling points of common liquids. The year was 1999, and students had to take his word for it when he said those points would vary slightly in the mountains of Nepal versus coastal Miami. Imagine if those students could have investigated the phenomenon collaboratively with peers across the […]

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Career of the Month: Evolutionary Psychologist






Evolutionary psychologists analyze human behavior for traits that evolved to increase the odds of survival and reproduction. They may then apply this knowledge to redesign aspects of today’s cultural institutions and practices—such as schools, workplaces, and child rearing—in ways that better align with human nature. Peter Gray is an evolutionary psychologist affiliated with Boston College. […]

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