flightless hag

A chronicle of the adventures of birdwoman: a lonely, talentless freak who wanders the internet in search of entertainment.

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Location: Philly

I'm a 40-something married white female, survivor of weight watchers, avid reader of pulp. Dogs (not cats), extreme right (handed, not politics), ENTJ, alto, wanna-be knitter.

March 12, 2011

Change the name, please

UPDATE - I passed. By a wide margin. Go figure.

This morning, I got up bright and early to take a certification test for Environmental Education. Between teaching the course and studying (albeit not very much) independently, I was hoping to get the real credentials to teach the class.

I have no idea if I passed.

With a good 10% of the questions things like: what is the proper way to change the beliefs of your students? what is the most effective way to change your local environmental policies from the classroom? what age are children most able to be molded to the right environmental beliefs? etc., I was just ticked by the time I left the test. I ended up writing all sorts of notes in the booklet, just because I couldn't be silent.

I believe the course name should be changed. It's not Environmental Science, it's Environmental Indoctrination. (They even had a question about how to deal with materials that have bias in them, because most environmental materials do.)

When did the role of education change from teaching a child facts and helping them to form their own, INFORMED opinions to telling a child what to believe? The "science" here is founded in equations like this one:


Where I = environmental impact, P = population, A = AFFLUENCE, T= TECHNOLOGICAL LEVEL, and S = some stupid thing like how much your rich, advanced culture is listening to and implementing the advice of your environmental scientists (I think it's sustainability, but I've already purged the bilge from my mind).

Where do the numbers come from? Most likely, out of the "scientist's" posterior.

They have all these "graphs" without real data behind them. And these are supposed to give us the ammunition to change the core beliefs of our students.

I love the actual science here - the earth science and macrobiology. I love understanding as much as possible about the impact of human interaction on our environment. But I don't think we'll ever understand enough to dictate policy from the classroom. And it makes me uncomfortable that they want me to.

Alas, perhaps I should go for a math cert after all. sigh.


March 10, 2011

Environmental Disasters!

Have I mentioned just how much I enjoy my classes this year? Chemistry has been beautiful – I have so many hard working kids! And environmental? Well, I never thought I’d like teaching this… LOVE IT! So interesting! Even the kids are interested!

While doing a unit on freshwater ecosystems with my seniors, I decided to have a detour into the land of invasive species. See, we’re supposed to have them read science articles and do all sorts of writing and analyzing. But find a science article that’s fun for the average kid to read. Your challenge for the week! (mine EVERY week).

OK, so last week, I decided to do a lesson on the northern snakehead. Before I had them read the two short articles, I did a video intro. I started with this stellar clip from the Snakehead Terror SyFy movie. We got a little chuckle before I pointed out that there is some truth in fiction.

We discussed a little, and they read the two short articles about 1) the start of the snakehead problem and 2) what scientists are trying to do about it. While they read, they asked lots of questions (I still can’t find exactly why it’s called a snakehead). The kids really, really liked this lesson. I have never had such high participation in writing the essay at the end.

Here is their thought question, and my absolutely favorite answer (not scanned because I’m lazy):

Question, in short: do you believe the scientists’ actions (in trying to control
the snakehead) are really necessary?

Answer: “Yes, I do think that what the scientists are doing is necessary because they don’t want these snakeheads, or “frankenfish” as they call them to get so huge that they can’t stop it and before it gets to any humans to try to wipe out the US population.”

Not tongue in cheek. I guess I should have been more clear that the first was a bad SyFy channel movie trailer.


This week’s article is about how climate change could make river levels rise – and since Philly is surrounded by rivers, I’m hoping to make them see it could affect them before they read the article. So I was looking for clips about how water levels are changing due to climate change… and don’t you know, the ad that paid for every single one I could watch (youtube and vimeo are blocked here) was a car ad. Not a green car, or electric car, but a regular old infernal combustion engine. Sponsoring a video about climate change. Is that irony? (Damn you, alanis morrissette, for making me question my understanding of that term!)