November 15, 2011
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Today marks the last day of this golden week so what better to end on than the golden number? It’s also quite appropriate because I feel like my day has been chocked full of numbers. We’re doing surgery on a cow for the first time since September tomorrow and we were trying to figure out how many treatments we needed, how many samples we can obtain from one surgery, and how many assays that means I need to run. The best part is, we are doing a new method which dramatically decreases the number assays I have to do, which is music to my ears. My Biology students have filled out evaluation forms about me tonight and ranked my performance in numbers. I’ll let you know how that turns out.
Yea, that's a nice round golden number
Numbers are one of those things that usually make sense to you or don’t. There is a very small gray area with math. The National Math + Science Initiative was created to address the fact that our students are falling behind in the essential courses of math and sciences. The mission of NMS is to provide the ideas, inspiration, and resources need to close the gap that exists. You may not think of it this way, but this gap is actually putting our nation’s economy at risk. Students are less prepared to take college courses in math and science and are then less prepared for their future careers in those fields. Science and math are the universal languages of the global marketplace. It’s hard to be dominant force in a field where we can’t even speak the language. NMS knows that they don’t have all the answers alone. They look to those who have already reinvented the wheel, and roll with it. They take the programs nationwide and prove that America has great students. Obviously I especially think that women are capable of leading our nation in the fields of math and science. Brain Cake is an online resource for girls ages 11-17 where they can learn that it’s fun to be smart and sweet. BC is a part of the Carnegie Science Center‘s Girls, Math, & Science Partnership. BC helps girls learn how to be confident, solve problems, and think independently. For anyone who has had a teenage daughter or known any teenage girls this task is much easier said than done. Thankfully, BC seems to be using all the right tools to make this happen. They link these girls together, help them understand how the science they are learning applies to everyday lives, help them reach their goals and dreams. BC knows that these girls can change the world, they are just the resource some of them need to get started. Plus their website is really colorful and pretty like girls like.
National Math + Science Initiative Donation
Brain Cake Donation
So here’s to you golden number! You’re the one lucky number that we are all looking for when we play Bingo or the lottery. Whenever we see you or hear you we can’t help the smile from creeping across our face. You might not be the same number every time, but you always know how to turn our day around. Thank you for making my fiftieth week go out in a glitter of glory.
See ya week 50!
November 8, 2011
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So as you all know at this point, I spend the majority of my day on Tuesdays sculpting the minds of pretty great young people. I have approached teaching as a break from my million other responsibilities and it has really helped me be extremely thankful for this experience. I knew before this semester that I liked to teach, but seeing the look on a student’s face when they finally get a difficult concept makes me smile every time. I love being the person who opens up this whole new scientific world for them. I know I had several teachers whose enthusiasm for a field of study rubbed off on me. I’m thankful I’m getting the opportunity to be that person for some other students.
Brad and his brain....great movie
What makes teaching these laboratories so special is the fact that these students are able to learn by doing. The Living Classroom Foundation has been sharing the benefits of students getting their hands dirty for more than 25 years. LCF also takes these experiences to the next level. Did you ever think you wanted to be a mechanic and then realize that you knew nothing about cars? LCF gives students the chance to get some real world experience in a field of their choice. LCF is a charity that is based out of Baltimore so they have incorporated a unique Maritime heritage aspect into their program. The visitors to the program are transformed from passive observers to active learners when they learn about the people who chartered the vessels of our nation and stood in our lighthouses. LCF also works to focus on students who are living in high-risk areas. Sometimes just showing a student what doors a great education will open for them is all the motivation they need to succeed. A little more carrot and a little less stick make a big difference. Obviously science has a big place in my life and my heart, so organizations like the Center for Excellence in Educationreally resonates with me. CEE has nurtured excellence and leadership of high school and college students who are pursuing a career in science and technology since 1983. CEE encourages and motivates students to become the next Nobel Prize winners and leaders who change how the world works. CEE help to keep students from the United States competitive on an international level, as well as promote understanding and collaborations between nations. Somebody has to figure out the cure for cancer, build the next super computer, and design the roadmap for our technological future. Hopefully that the kind of influence I’m having on my students. At the very least, they’re learning how to write complete sentences.
I couldn't agree more Miss Piggy!
Living Classroom Foundation Donation
Center for Excellence in Education Donation
So here’s to the brain on Brad! Here is also to it getting bigger and more powerful each year, even when school is out. Learning is a life-long process, which I obviously enjoy because it feels like I’m never going to finish school. I’m totally cool with that though, because I know the lessons I’m learning are being passed down. Brains are a beautiful thing.
August 30, 2011
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Yes kitty it has!
I was literally at school today from 8am until 9pm. Yes you read that right. 13 hours. It’s a good thing I like my job. The best part of my day was explaining a new concept to my budding freshman and seeing the lights come on as they finally grasp what I’m talking about. I am partially responsible for building the foundation of their collegiate career. Plus I’m pretty sure they like me which makes all of our lives a little easier. Even though Tuesday are by far the longest day of my week, they are the most rewarding, and I come home with a smile on my face. Thanks Tuesdays for kicking my butt and making me like it.
Maybe I should join the National Science Teachers Association so I can have some fellow Bill Nye the science guy colleagues to bond with. Founded back in 1944, NSTA is the largest organization in the US that is devoted to making science not only informative but also fun to teach and learn. With over 60,000 members from kindergarten all the way to college professors can connect with each other through three regional conferences a year and one national conference every spring. NSTA’s guiding principles are to be an example for excellence; embrace diversity, equity, and respect; and use research to enhance teaching and learning. I mean think about how much more boring the world would be without science teachers. Who else would teach your kids how to blow things up with household items? I’ve figured out over just the past two weeks that sometimes teaching is all about getting your hands a little dirty. Resource Area for Teaching is the place to go to figure out way to have your students learn their objectives in a hands-on fashion. RAFT provides teachers and community leaders with tools professional development classes, workshops, continuing education units, and informal gatherings where members can share their ideas. You are probably wondering where all those cool things like computers and fancy markers that teachers needs to prove their creative points. Thousands of local businesses donate their old items or manufacturing by-products to RAFT to provided fuel for the creative juices that flow during RAFT programs. One man’s by-product is another man’s science project.
National Science Teachers Association Donation
Resource Area for Teaching Donation
So here’s to you looooong Tuesday. I can barely keep my eyes open as I type this, but that smile is still on my face. Somebody once told me, “If everything worth doing was easy, everybody would do it.” You are a challenge my motivation, dedication, and endurance every week. Instead of resenting you, I’ve decided that I’m going to kill you with kindness and embrace you. Thanks for reminding me that what doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger.
August 23, 2011
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I had a serious case of the Mondays, but after some great encouragement via Facebook and text messages from some great people I had a terrific Tuesday! I didn’t lose my coffee cup, I taught my first two labs in the Biology department of WVU, and I wore my new jeans that I’m in now in love with. Teaching those two lab sections was definitely the highlight of my day though. It’s always a little scary when you’re giving a presentation to a group of people, but so far the kids seem eager and I love watching them learn. Some people say that those can’t do, teach, but anybody who has ever taught knows that those who teach, do make a difference.
Laboratories all over the country are where the nitty-gritty research to end serious diseases happens. The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory was found in 1890 and they lead the way in efforts in molecular biology and genetics to generate new information that will yield better way to diagnose and treat cancers, neurological diseases and other major human health issues. CSHL was first founded as a teacher-training laboratory for biologist, but has evolved into a highly respected molecular biology and genetics research facility. Thousands of scientists come to CSHL every year to participate in their renowned Meeting and Courses program. Discovery and education go hand in hand for CSHL, which is something I can definitely appreciate. The students in my class will learn all about genes this semester during lab, but they probably don’t know about Jeans For Genes Day in October. JFG is all about raising funds and awareness for children who are born with genetic disorders. One way they accomplish their mission is by giving schools educational resources to share with all of their students. It is hard enough on these children to learn to live and thrive with their individual diseases, the last thing they need are other insensitive kids making them more uncomfortable in their own skin. Plus this gives me one more excuse to wear my jeans to teach.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Donation
Jeans For Genes Donation
So here’s to you laboratories! You have been a part of my life since high school, and you’ve only gotten better with age. It doesn’t matter if you are Biology, Animal Science, Microbiology, or Biochemistry because just learning from you is enough to make my day. I mean you’re the place where we get to dissect, replicate, grow, and experiment in brand new ways. Thank you for giving us a place to be a kid again.