Monday, July 26, 2010

Ten Cool Sites - Monthly Exploratorium

Website: Ten Cool Sites, Monthly
Posted on July 20th, 2010 by ASEE
Check out the Ten Cool Sites page of San Francisco’s Exploratorium Museum, posted each month to showcase “a collection of cool, interactive sites from the Web,” focusing on science subjects.

The site provides an archive of past editions, those that have been most recommended, a “random cool” selection, and an alphabetized list of categories.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Adopting the New National Standards in MA - Debate

Keep the Old or Change for New?

"Chi lascia la strada vecchia per la nuova, sa quel che lascia ma non sa quel che trova!" goes the old Italian adage, (similar to the English version 'do not change the horse in half stream'.) It is true, that he who quits the old way for a new one, knows what he leaves, but does not know what he finds. So, it seems to be the case of MA legislators in adopting the New NAtional Standards for teaching Matha nd Science in EL/MS levels. However, I am tryingto work as devil's advocate with the following reflection, invited to the discussion by Rocco, Rob, Rick.

As an outsider, I think that making a move toward positive change will be helpful: (if) A) Standards are to be viewed as a common "floor" (Christos Z.) upon which you build accordingly knowledge. {MA teacher must not fear it if they always strive for excellence. Established practice demonstrated successful must not change per se: keep doing the same good job and teaching the same core values... B) Why fear if the new Standards are based in good (%) on MA frameworks, (as we are so told!) Just to consider the opposite side (of public educationl,) sometimes, is beneficial to thinking the end results: - cum grano salis - students that in El/MS do not go through testing do perform as well; outperform at best (using full potential), or fail (when not using full potential) in compaison to their public peers. Eventually, teaching FOR testing (MCAS) has many benefits, but creates a culture of learning that (I observe and perceive) is under scrutiny by many educators. C) Federal budget is not to be neglected, if schools suffer fundings; so many schools may benefit in this regard. To use a metaphor inspired from the geneticist, Dr. Erin Cram, this is not a step backward per se, but a tentative to find a cure of abnormal gene behavior in a system of education (math & sciences) that is affecting nation's science and math delivery to young generations.

The question still remains: is it the answer to be found in the delivery system, or in a wider, distracted, socio-economical and cultural background ?

My two cents, Ardian

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Monday, July 12, 2010

"Cancer and the Green Chemistry" - by Heinz Kerry, et al.


The Latin saying "mens sana in corpore sano' could be easily interpreted as (a) healthy living - in a healthy environment!
This is the real problem: how to prevent things from happening and being so harmful to Americans' health. My RET research with Prof. Akram Alshawabkeh, deals specifically with DNPLAs (pollutants) in Soil and Groundwater in the main island of Puerto Rico. High concentration levels of TCE/PCE (tetra/polychloroeathane) contaminants permeate local aquifers causing premature births at a rate of 20%, the highest in American states and territories. So, the article on "Green Chemistry" hits the nail right on the head, which is the environmental protection.
Prevention is better than remediation.
The article reinforced my concern addressed to a friend of mine, the economist Marco Beatrice, that remediation is necessary, but it isn't the final solution. Prevention is. As an economist, he summoned upon the markets as regulators of everything. So, the next question is if we cannot regulate the markets, at what extent human behavior can affect the change we all are looking for? "Green Chemistry" is definitely one of the long term solutions. The fact that this phenomenon is tackled by politically influential exponents, scientist and well established entrepreneurs has a relevant significance.
As in everything else that involve humane actions, peace or war, health or sickness, protection or destruction, If we ignore the cause, how can we prevent the phenomenon and really win the race? I believe that it will be possible by educating the people and especially the young generations by enabling them to be actively engaged in the process, by adequately gaining scientific literacy and being politically involved in their lives. The approach that NEU, BU and other university centers have taken by training the teachers at all levels, and involving the young scholars with direct field research experiences is the true, unique everlasting remediation. Ardian Mici RET-2010

(To read the entire article, go to:

RET "In the Labs"

RET participants get their hands dirty collaborating with Northeastern University Investigators this summer.  Throughout the program, teachers are sharpening their scientific toolkit and refining their classroom connections, so that, ultimately, their students will experience a rich, exciting, and broad set of up-to-date curricular materials in the upcoming school year.  Here are some photos of the RET-PLUS teacher participants this summer.

Participants Nora Linksey from Middlesex Community College and Harriet Page from Marblehead High School demonstrate the creation of a composite mixture.

Ardian Mici of the Andover School of Montessori and Margaret Farrar from Cambridge Rindge and Lation are documenting pH readings a liquid taken from a soil sample modeling apparatus.

Monday Morning PD

RET-PLUS 2010 participants gather at Northeastern University for a group photo.