ENSIWEB HIGHLIGHTS for 2013 - 16th Year of ENSIweb
What Did We Do in 2013?


Look them over, might be something you missed, or forgot about.
All links have been checked and updated as necessary.

19 Jan:
ENSI 2012 Annual Report
Hominid Chromosomes Article (my article in Feb 2013 NABT journal The American Biology Teacher): “Chromosome Connections: Compelling Clues to Common Ancestry.” Article pulls together a few of our lessons for an integrated “multiple-lines-of-evidence” experience for students. See page 3 for details (below).

27 Jan:
New Lesson: “Born to Run: Artificial Selection Lab.” This deeply interactive lab was kindly contributed by Dr. Theodore Garland, Jr. (UC Riverside) and Dr. Tricia Radojcic (Bella Vista Middle School, Murrieta, CA). [NOTE: Article on this lesson to be published by the authors in NSTA middle school publication, Science Scope. Lesson is also suitable for high school. Link to this pre-publication version provided in the lesson. If any of you try the lesson, please give us feedback (problems, suggestions, etc.) http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/BornToRun.html

21 Feb:
Opportunity for students to engage in genomics studies: Genomics Explorers

2 June:
Two new items for teaching nature of science: [Also, look for new textbook for students on NOS becoming available soon. See notice elsewhere in this Annual Report].
Data Dilemma: Modeling Scientific Practice
The Mystery Tubes: A Black Box Activity
http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/3D NOS Lessons.html

23 June:
Students Learn Better if You Know Their Misconceptions: [Also, look for new textbook for students on NOS becoming available soon. See notice elsewhere in this Annual Report].

Teach Macroevolution: How to Win the Evolution War (by Kevin Padian). This should be a key part of any evolution unit. If it’s missing, students aren’t getting the full idea of evolution. They should be able to explain how macroevolution results from the accumulation of microevolution processes over time. http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/teach.macro.html

24 June:
Origami Birds Lesson: An Extension into its Genetic/Molecular Aspects. [NOTE: revisions of instructions, templates and handout materials still not finished. If this extension is of interest, please contact webmaster, Larry Flammer. A little push might help!]

9 July:
New Mystery Boxes Material [From article in The Science Teacher (NSTA journal for high school). The Mystery Boxes lesson was extensively updated and new material added. Check it out].
Scientific Argumentation (new lesson and revised lessons): [Also an article from TST. This is all about one of the new standards, in NGSS and CCSS, and how ENSI lessons meet those standards].

4 August:
Meeting New Science Standards (Index): [See how many of the ENSI lessons meet the standards: NGSS, Common Core, and STEM].

14 October:
Evolution: Education & Outreach: Free Access to All Articles in this excellent resource.

We saw about the same pattern of hits as we saw last year (2012), but the Average Hits per Day was a little lower (82 hits per day for 2013 vs 95 hits for 2012). These are hits just to our Home page; doesn’t include hits to other pages, by internet searches and teachers using direct links. Not too shabby. [SEE PDF VERSION FOR TABLE AND GRAPH]

hitsTable2013 hitsGraph2013

Our lesson “When Milk Makes You Sick” is still in revision (lots of new information to be integrated).
Pseudogenes Suite: Vitamin C & Common Ancestry lesson is back, except for part C. We are still looking for someone who would like to update that tutorial (for using online DNA searches).

Our Evolution Survey is still very popular. Requests for the key keep coming, total of 111 requests for 2013, that’s about 2 per week during the year, mostly in the spring months. Many teachers use this as pre/post test, comparing pre/post scores on item analysis to see degrees of change. An Excel spreadsheet is available on the ENSI site to give percent change for each item (or each student). This can reveal if misconceptions have been reduced in that class, or not, to be dealt with later, or next year. You might want to share a sampling of the pre-test items missed by most with your students, so they can see that many of them are, indeed, misinformed about the nature of science.

We are still looking for a science teacher familiar with the ENSI site and the ENSI mission. If you fit this description and have website maintenance experience, and are retired or anticipate retirement in the near future (to give you the time to work with the site), please contact webmaster Larry Flammer.

In the NABT journal, The American Biology Teacher, February 2013, you’ll find the article on “Chromosome Connections: Compelling Clues to Common Ancestry” by ENSIweb Webmaster Larry Flammer. It’s available at http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/ABT.Hom.Chromosomes.pdf
Here’s the abstract of that article:
Students compare banding patterns on hominid [human and ape] chromosomes, and see striking evidence of their common ancestry. To test this, the human #2 chromosome is matched with two shorter chimpanzee chromosomes, leading to the hypothesis that human chromosome #2 resulted from the fusion of the two shorter chromosomes.  Students test that hypothesis by looking for (and finding) DNA evidence of telomere segments at the fusion site, reinforcing the likelihood of our common ancestry with chimps, and showing us that we all carry the “molecular fossils” of telomere fusion!  Students see how multiple lines of evidence make a compelling case for common ancestry, and they experience an important element of inquiry: testing hypotheses.
The article also has a full page hi res photo of the detailed diagrams of hominid chromosomes. The figure is also available directly from the ENSI site at http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/chr.4.all.pdf

About to be published is a new booklet for students, called Science Surprises. It presents the nature of science, integrating many of the ENSI NoS lessons. It’s intended to replace or supplement chapter 1 in any science textbook, for grades 7-10. Unlike most textbooks, this booklet (with selected ENSI lessons) shows why pseudoscience is not science, how science is so often misrepresented and misunderstood, and why science is so effective in getting answers that work. It shows what science can and cannot use for explanations, and why that is, along with other important limits. An early version was field tested by about 20 teachers across the country, in middle school and high school classes. The feedback was very positive, and encouraging, with a number of constructive suggestions. The material (student book and Teacher’s Guide) were revised to reflect those suggestions. For example, the entire student booklet reading level was adjusted to 8th grade level for every paragraph. There is also a revised pre/post test, with 25 items that reflect each of the 5 chapters equally. Interested publisher NSTA Press decided not to publish it, since it’s essentially a book for direct student use, rather than a trade book for teachers (as are all their other publications).

The NEW Science Surprises unit meets virtually all of the NGS Standards for Nature of Science, plus other expectations from Common Core and STEM. Many illustrations have also been added to better engage students and emphasize key ideas. There are also new “controversial” issues added to provide practice in critical thinking skills. For more information, including the tables of contents for both the student text and the Teacher’s Guide, go to http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/lessons/New_SS_Details.pdf. Also, take a look at the 12 January announcement on the ENSI home page:

See the many ENSI lessons that already meet the standards of NGSS, Common Core, and STEM:


Larry Flammer, ENSI Webmaster

CLICK HERE for PDF Version of This Report