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NEWS FOR MAY 2011

Evolution Education Opportunities this Summer:
1.
The Society for the Study of Evolution will be offering EVO101 Workshop again this year, in Norman Oklahoma, June 17-18. Here's the link to registration:
http://www.evolution2011.ou.edu/EVO-101_workshop.html

2. NCSE's Ed Director Louise Mead is joining with Jim Costa and Kefyn Cately to offer a course at Highlands Biological Station "Evolution in the Blue Ridge: A Field and Lab Course for Science Educators" - June 20-July 2, at Western Carolina University and Highlands Biological Station. Here is more information and links to the course: http://www.wcu.edu/hbs/currentyrcourses.htm

J3. udy Scotchmoor and Louise Mead will be offering the Think Evolution Summer Institute again, inviting middle school, high school, and community college biology and science educators. The summer institute will run August 1-5 at the University of California Berkeley and feature conversations with scientists and hands-on activities. Details can be seen at http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/about/institute11.php

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New Assessment Tool for Misconceptions
An excellent new tool has been developed by the AAAS: the AAAS Science Assessment Website at http://assessment.aaas.org/
Here you will find free access to more than 600 items. The items:
* Are appropriate for middle and early high school students.
* Test student understanding in the earth, life, physical sciences, and the nature of science.
* Test for common misconceptions as well as correct ideas.

Probably most valuable is the "My Item Bank" where you can select ready-to-use test items to use for your own pre/post-tests. You can select items missed by the highest percentage in previous studies (grouped by middle school and high school) - pre-test your students, point them out to your class clearly as misconceptions, then provide interactive experiences for your students to work with the current scientific understanding to see that it works - and to see that their misconceptions do not work, or do not fit what we observe.

The challenge for teachers is to bring a focus to common misconceptions - and why they are misconceptions - then provide those experiences that will repair those ideas, while still addressing the required state standards. Many of those misunderstood topics are addressed in the standards, but some may not. If nothing else, the lists of commonly misunderstood topics will help teachers to recognize some of their own misconceptions, so they don't pass them on to their students. In addition, it alerts teachers (and their students) to those ideas so they will make a special effort - and spend extra time - to get them right!

You may find misconceptions (and questions based on them) that you could add to (or replace some of...) the statements in the ENSI surveys intended to expose those mistaken ideas: our Science Knowledge Survey (focusing on common Nature of Science misconceptions, and our Evolution Survey that probes commonly misunderstood ideas about Evolution. See http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/sci.tst.html
and http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/unt.ev.f.html

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New Laetoli Trackway Files
High Definition files Available now as PDF files to assure proper scale. Scroll down to the "NEW DIGITAL TOPO FILES".

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Do-It-Yourself DNA Kit files revised
One file (DNA "Ladder") not to proper scale - corrected.
All files are now posted as low-memory files (still sharp).

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Whale Evolution PowerPoint program
for Becoming Whales and Whale Ankles and DNA. This is a big one, so may not download to some systems. If any problems, contact webmaster for program divided into smaller portions.

This PowerPoint was developed for presentations at science teacher conventions. I discourage its use in place of students doing the interactive lessons directly, but parts could be shown for introduction, and other parts as review or wrap-up.
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