ENSIWEB ANNUAL REPORT for 2016 - 19th Year of ENSIweb
What Did We Do in 2016?
Click here for pdf copy to print


Description: nsiweb logoThe Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) are being adopted by more and more states (16 as of 4 Nov. 2016), and teachers in many other states are adapting their courses to meet those new standards. An important part of the NGSS is the mandate to explicitly teach the nature of science (NOS). Indeed, it has been described as the "silent" 4th dimension of the 3D structure of the NGSS. NOS is an often overlooked topic in science classes. Most science textbooks do little to make NOS explicit and engaging, and where they do, the information is often inaccurate or misleading. As a result, many teachers (and/or their students) hold many misconceptions about NOS.

The several NOS lessons on the ENSI site do much to correct this problem, but there has been little structured material to guide students (and teachers) in the coherent use of those lessons. Therefore, a student text was written in concert with selected NOS ENSI lessons to help students in their efforts to learn about NOS. That student book: Science Surprises: Exploring the Nature of Science, was published in January, 2014, along with a teaching guide called Teach. They are both available as e-texts. The e-text is written for 8th grade reading level, but with scaffolding as needed, the material can be used to effectively introduce NOS in any secondary science class, replacing or supplementing the usual Chapter 1. The primary focus is on repairing many of the common misconceptions about NOS by providing engaging and interactive experiences for the students. If the entire text (and selected ENSI lessons) are used, students will satisfy all of the many NOS elements listed in the NGSS (26 for middle school, 32 for high school), including strategies for critical thinking.

During 2016, there was continuing interest in these materials. Requests from teachers across the country (and other countries) requested the e-text and e-teaching guide to use with their students. If you haven't reviewed the material yet, you should take a look. Click here for more details and access information.

ANNOUNCEMENTS POSTED DURING 2016:
Look them over, might be something you missed, or forgot about.
All links have been checked and updated as necessary.

14 January:.
Sixth Annual Evolution Video Competition. Not yet announced for 2017.
Second Annual Avida-ED Active LENS Workshop. Not yet announced for 2017.

29 January:
ENSI Annual Report for 2015 is also available. Take a look at ENSI Progress over the past year.
HHMI BioInteractive new lesson: Human Feet Are Strange (based on ENSI's "Footsteps in Time" lesson).
Smithsonian's Traveling Exhibit: Exploring Human Origins (coming to a site near you?)

31 March:
TIES (Teacher Institute for Evolutionary Science) Calls for Science Teachers who are passionate about teaching evolution.

5 April:
Developing Inquiry-Based Lesson Plans for HS Evolutionary Biology (PG at UC Riverside, CA)

10 April
Think Evolution VIII Summer Institute at UCMP, Berkeley, CA

21 April
Gold Medal Film on Evolution: "Ten Questions Everyone Should Ask About Evolution" (DVD and Teacher Guide); highly rated in ABT.

27 May
Teacher Guide for "Ten Questions..." DVD (available from NSTA)
Evolution as Fact AND Theory (spinoff from "Ten Questions..." teaching guide).
Evidence of Evolution (links to many examples of evolution)
Special Notice - Urgent: Evo 101 Workshop in Austin, Texas, 17 June 2016

23 July
Evolutionary Medicine: Information and appeal to include in biology courses.

19 November
Astrology Update article from Skeptical Inquirer to include with NOS lesson on pseudoscience
Science Denial: A Skeptical Response: article from Skeptical Inquirer

VISITS TO THE ENSI WEBSITE in 2016:
Hits for each of the first four months were not recorded, so used average/month over the 4-month period. We saw about the same pattern of hits as we saw last year (2015), but with a 24% drop in average hits per month overall. The Average Hits per Day was also about 24% lower. These are hits just to our Home page; they do not include hits to other pages, by internet searches and teachers using direct links.

2016

MONTH

HITS

 

ensi.2016.hits

JAN

2183

FEB

2183

MAR

2183

APR

2183

MAY

1821

JUN

1161

JUL

2244

AUG

2284

SEP

2311

OCT

1201

NOV

1562

DEC

791

Total hits

22107

Avg/mo

1842.25

Hi

2311

Lo

791

Avg Hits/day

60.56712329

 

TEACHERS REQUESTING THE EVOLUTION SURVEY QUIZ AND KEY (2016): 141 (mostly in April: 30)
This test is most often used as a pre/post test (for introduction to evolution) to reveal the extent of common misconceptions in the classes, to which the teacher can focus on repairing.

TEACHERS REQUESTING TO BE ADDED TO THE FENSI LISTSERVE (2016): 56 (mostly Feb-Mar-Apr)

TOTAL TEACHERS ON OUR LISTSERVES: 809: 43 ENSI, 22 SENSI, 744 FENSI

LESSONS STILL NEEDING SOME HELP:
Our lesson “When Milk Makes You Sick” still needs revision (lots of new information to be integrated).
We are also still looking for someone who would like to update Pseudogenes Suite: Vitamin C & Common Ancestry (part C) for doing online DNA searches.

As time allows, I am re-formatting ENSI lessons to be placed on the Understanding Science and Understanding Evolution (two excellent Berkeley sites). That will assure a long-term accessibility on two well-maintained websites. Several other projects are also waiting in the wings to be finished.

STILL LOOKING FOR ENSI WEBSITE CO-MANAGER
We are still looking for a biology teacher familiar with the ENSI site and the ENSI mission. If you have enjoyed using many (or at least some) of the ENSI lessons, are fairly comfortable with computers (especially website management), please contact webmaster Larry Flammer, especially if you live in the San Francisco Bay Area. But you can do this from any location where you live.

Common Core, STEM, NGSS (Next Generation Science Stanards):
See the many ENSI lessons that already meet the standards of Common Core, STEM, and NGSS:
http://www.indiana.edu/~ensiweb/ENSI.Les.Standards.html

HAVE AN EXCITING and PRODUCTIVE 2017
IN YOUR CLASSROOMS
Larry Flammer ENSI Webmaster
flammer4@gmail.com