Author Archives: Glenn Branch

Commentary: It’s About Time to Teach Evolution Forthrightly

Fifty years ago, in 1967, the Tennessee legislature repealed the Butler Act, a 1925 law that made it a misdemeanor for a teacher in the state’s public schools to “teach any theory that denies the story of the Divine Creation of man as taught in the Bible, and to teach instead that man has descended […]

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Career of the Month: Television Writer

“I aspire to translate complicated ideas in science into consumable stories,” says Katherine Lingenfelter, who writes for TV shows with science or science fiction themes, such as House and Westworld, respectively. “Television is a writer’s medium.” Writers research, develop, and pitch ideas for shows, then assemble and oversee teams of other writers to create the […]

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Science 2.0: Help Students Become Innovative Designers

Our past three columns described how teachers can implement the first three Empowered Learner Standards established by the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). This month, we focus on classroom strategies to support the fourth standard: Innovative Designer. The performance indicators in the Innovative Designer standard align with the practices of scientific inquiry, which help […]

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Health Wise: Why Teens Need the HPV Vaccine

About 79 million Americans have human papillomavirus (HPV), the nation’s top sexually transmitted disease. “Nearly all sexually active men and women get it at some point in their lives,” according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC 2016a). HPV usually goes away on its own. But sometimes, HPV can cause genital warts […]

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Focus on Physics: How E = mc2 Helps Us Understand Nuclear Fission and Fusion

Nuclear physics has an undeserved reputation for being tough for students. This article may reduce this “toughness” by showing how Einstein’s familiar equation E = mc2 relates to the reductions in mass and enormous releases of energy that occur in the processes of nuclear fission and fusion. We focus not on the mass of an […]

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Health Wise: Keeping Track of Sugar

Students should consume no more than 25 g (6 tsp.) of added sugar per day, recommends the American Heart Association (AHA 2016). “Added sugars contribute to a diet that is energy dense but nutrient poor, and increase risk of developing obesity, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, obesity-related cancers, and dental [cavities],” the recommendation says (AHA 2016). The […]

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Science 2.0: Developing the Knowledge Constructor

Our past two columns focused on the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE) Empowered Learner standard and Digital Citizen standard, respectively. This month, we discuss the ISTE’s Knowledge Constructor standard. When students become a Knowledge Constructor, they should be able to synthesize science information from a variety of resources into a representation of their […]

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Health Wise: Too Many Teens Have High Cholesterol

About one in five U.S. kids and teens ages 6 to 19 has abnormal cholesterol levels, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS 2015). And among the 16-to-19 age group, the number rises to more than one in four. “[This] is concerning because high cholesterol levels are a major factor contributing to heart […]

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The Green Room: Losing Sight of Our Stars

Making Your Teaching More Environmentally Friendly The more people there are, the more lights we use. The more lights we use to illuminate our buildings and streets, the brighter the Earth becomes at night. Author David Owen discussed the increase in this light pollution over the past 50 years in a 2007 New Yorker article. […]

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Focus on Physics: The Moon Is Falling!

Sometimes it seems like everything is in free fall—the stock market, the value of your home, even your outlook for progress in the world. And now you learn this disturbing fact: The Moon is falling! And falling directly toward Earth! But you needn’t be alarmed, because it’s been falling like this for billions of years. […]

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