We Need To Talk About The Monarch Butterfly

We need to talk about butterflies. Specifically, the monarch, Danaus plexipus. Do you realize the miraculous nature of the life of a monarch? I don’t use that term lightly. The wonder of the monarch goes beyond the familiar nature of insect’s ability to undergo metamorphosis, which in and of itself, pretty cool. We’re all familiarContinue reading “We Need To Talk About The Monarch Butterfly”


Context is Everything

I’ve had two insignificant moments this week that have reminded me of this monumentally significant fact in teaching and learning. Context matters. It’s everything when it comes to learning difficult concepts in a way that leads to enduring understanding. The first was listening to, and then joining in a conversation between a retired science educationContinue reading “Context is Everything”

First, Do No Harm

The major thrust and most utilized aspect of the Hippocratic oath taken by doctors is “primum non nocere” or “first, do no harm.” Really, it seems this should apply to everyone. At this moment I’m looking at you Virginia (the state, not the little girl asking about Santa Claus). Under governor Glenn Youngkin, new rulesContinue reading “First, Do No Harm”

Hey You! Back Off!

I teach a general methods and science methods course to prospective elementary. I’d like to share an anecdote from a recent class. During this session I was leading students through an activity in which we compare how many drops of water vs. rubbing alcohol we can fit on a penny. It’s a surprisingly large numberContinue reading “Hey You! Back Off!”


This is the week of the term when my science education students listen to a Radiolab podcast titled “From Tree to Shining Tree.” I tell them it’s utterly fascinating and they always unanimously agree after giving it the hour it takes to listen to it. It’s about how the trees in a forest are interconnected,Continue reading “One(ness)”

The Truths We Hold

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Do we? I get why the framers had to include a Creator in the first sentence. “Many philosophers and theologiansContinue reading “The Truths We Hold”


I added the extra “ness” because understanding the interconnected nature of, well, nature is becoming increasingly crucial. Sort of like our lives depend on it. Because they do. But it isn’t just the interconnected nature of nature that matters. I’ll get to that in a minute. Try this. Close your eyes. Well, not quite yet.Continue reading “Interconnectednessness”

Now is Not the Time for Safe Mode

Is it a stretch to say that the pandemic is pushing education to a crisis? There were struggles prior to the pandemic and the pandemic has both put a spotlight on the cracks and weaknesses in the system and exacerbated them. I think it is absolutely crucial we don’t lose sight of those cracks andContinue reading “Now is Not the Time for Safe Mode”

Growth vs. Fixed Mindset

I’d like to share a bit about the concept of a growth mindset developed by Carol Dweck. A person with a fixed mindset believes intelligence is simply an inborn trait. A person with a growth mindset might value challenge as an opportunity for growth. But this isn’t simply a case of how having a positiveContinue reading “Growth vs. Fixed Mindset”