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Veterans' Day Science

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What they should learn.

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Veterans' Day Science
Nov 14, 2007 // // What they should learn.
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Last evening I had the pleasure of having dinner with my father. He is forward thinker and a decorated WWII veteran. Early in my life, he was the one who instilled in me a love of science. As he recounted several gripping and horrifying memories of combat, I was reminded of how the accoutrements of war have changed in the last 60 years. They have, indeed, changed the methods of fighting, although the nature of war itself still remains the same. What is responsible for this? Science. Our soldiers can protect and defend us better. Thank goodness, as we all know that freedom is never free. We can attack and dispose of our enemies quicker, more efficiently; sometimes even remotely. I am amazed and horrified at the same time. And how we have benefited from the byproducts of war time science: surgical reconstructions techniques from WWI, the elite German scientists that aided our burgeoning space program, nuclear medicine, GPS services…the list is literally endless. So after dinner with my father, I am aware again that in our world, war has become necessary and am grateful for the heroes that survived and the science that developed.
Sunspots
Dec 20, 2006 // // What they should learn.
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During the past two weeks, 6A has been tracking the progress of sunspot 930 across the solar disc. On a whim, we checked spaceweather.com as the spot was making her (they must be female) appearence. The students were very interested. For the next two weeks, we tracked, plotted, and made journal entries about the activity of sunspot 930. We watched CMEs expel matter and flares errupt, all from the comfort of the classroom. Thanks to the unbelievable images from SOHO, we were able to see what happens on our Sun. We contacted one photographer, Gary Palmer, with our comments about his fabulous photograph; he answered us with enthusiam. We surfed spaceweather.com for information about sunspots. We contacted our solar icon, Steele Hill, at GSFC, with numerous question. What an exciting time! Getting to know our Sun a little more and being real scientists great way to spend a class peroid.
What they should learn.
Sep 25, 2006 // // What they should learn.
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I’ve been teaching science for almost 20 years. At the beginning of each new school year, most teachers ask themselves how they can make class more interesting. I never have to ask myself that question; all I have to do is look at the newspaper or check my email alerts and the information that makes science class interesting presents itself…Pluto, new planets, dark matter – is it in or out, shuttles going up, shuttles not going up. How can you not be fascinated by this? How can you not want to learn more?
I’ve been teaching science for almost 20 years. At the end of each school year, I ask myself the same question: Did I inspire them to want to learn more? How many times did I hear some one mumble, “Wow, that is so cool.”? The wow factor…it is something that memorizing numbers and laws can’t compete with.




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