Archive for February 2009

What do Grades Mean?

New research, which may not shock professors, suggests that the reason students protest over their grades is that they associate good grades with simply performing tasks, not achieving particular levels of excellence. The New York Times today reports on a study that found that about one third of students expect B’s just for attending lectures, [...]

Logic, Logical Fallacies, and Fallacies: How to Argue a Point from FactCheck

The wonderful website FactCheck recently ran a piece distinguishing between fallacies and logical fallacies. It contains a link to a nice set of examples of logical fallacies and “booby traps” – great material for anyone teaching students how to construct (or destroy) arguments. This is the kind of stuff everybody should know. If we teach [...]

The Secret(?) Lives of Science Profs

I’ve been toiling all week over a post about what science professors actually do and where our salary comes from… when what do I see on the New York Times site? An article that pretty much fits the bill. In a post on the NYT “Wild Side” blog, guest columnist Steve Quake writes about how [...]

Happy 200th, Charles Darwin

There is an amazing gummy biodiversity at the Top supermarket in Tacoma. I found a gummy dimetrodon (labeled “dinosaur”), gummy whale (labeled “shark”), scallops, penguins, frogs, worms, etc. The flower-shaped things are supposed to stand for either flowers or barnacles – I think they look more like the latter. The jellybeans are meant to be [...]

Physics Lab as Exploration

I’ve been reworking some of my intro physics labs so that they are simpler and more straightforward. Personally, I feel pretty strongly that the two main types of physics lab activity – exploration and verification – are both important to a student’s education. I want to include more exploratory activities in my classes (perhaps instead [...]

Cambrian Arthropod – Stuffed!

Opabinia was a small arthropod that lived during the Cambrian. Formerly available only in stone from the Burgess Shale, it is now available in full 3D plush from WeirdBugLady on Etsy (special order required).

Hand Drawn Maps

I don’t know which surprises me more: that there is a Hand Drawn Map Association, or that they are having a contest. this is the Hand Drawn Map Association : accepting submissions of hand drawn maps via postal mail and email.

Google Earth 5.0 Press Conference

Google Earth 5.0 Launch Event It’s not just a fun demo. It’s not just a narrative. – Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google

Perhaps I am Misguided?

An insightful email from Boris Korsunsky, a high school physics teacher,  just came through the PHYSLRNR mailing list. This excerpt (emphasis is mine) gave me pause: Besides, even if the hypothetical professor is well-versed in PER [physics education research - ed.] and enthusiastic about teaching, what is important at the college level may not be [...]

Google Ocean is Here!

Google Ocean is here. Sure enough, you can dive down and see bathymetry! I’m still getting used to it, so these are just first impressions from tooling around for 10 minutes: It sure is spooky down here. The lighting is obviously unrealistic, which is good (you wouldn’t be able to see this at all if [...]