Tag Archives: science literacy

Dioxins (and Learning Disabilities)

“dioxins: A group of some of the most toxic carcinogenic human-made chemicals in the world, which have been linked to developmental and learning disabilities. Exposure in childhood can cause lower IQ, result in withdrawn and depressed behavior, and increase hyperactivity and attention problems. Unborn children are even more acutely affected by exposure to dioxins because of the critical development that occurs during pregnancy, especially between the second and eighth week after conception.

Dioxin is the most harmful of all the chemicals in the dioxin group, and is produced by burning plastics containing chlorine, incinerating household waste, and bleaching chlorine paper. It was first used as the toxic chemical in the weapon Agent Orange during the Vietnam War. Although some dioxins are produced naturally as a result of forest fires, most appear in the environment as an industrial by-product.

Dioxins are found everywhere in the environment, introduced into the air from incinerators and smokestacks, where they eventually settle on the ground, in the water, and on the food that livestock eat. Because dioxins do not decompose readily, they are stored in livestock fatty tissue. About 95 percent of human dioxin exposure occurs by eating traces in in meat, dairy products, and fish.

Children are at higher risk for both ingesting dioxins and being harmed because their diets usually have a higher concentration of animal fat in the form of dairy products.”

Excerpted from: Turkington, Carol, and Joseph R. Harris, PhD. The Encyclopedia of Learning Disabilities. New York: Facts on File, 2006.

Word Root Exercise: Blast/o

Here is a worksheet on the Greek word root blasto/o. It means “cell, cell layer, immature cell, and “primitive bud.”

As you will see when you read the words under review, this isn’t a root that produces a lot of high-frequency words in English. But these words, if the the book from which the text for this document is drawn can be trusted, these words do turn up on the SAT. And if you have students planning careers in the health care professions? This is definitely a word root they should know.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

4 Types of Caviar

“Beluga * Sterlet * Osetra * Sevruga

Caviar is the edible squishy eggs (roe) of the sturgeon, a slow-moving, bottom-grazing fish that can grow to twelve feet in length. It was originally associated with the Caspian Sea but is now bred in other regions of the world due to the fantastic price that caviar fetches and the decline in sturgeon numbers in the polluted inland sea. Beluga is the most expensive variety, composed of large, soft, pea-sized eggs (normally packed into a blue tin); Sterlet is small and golden coloured (golden tin); Osetra is medium-sized, from grey to brown (yellow or green tin); while Sevruga (red tin) are the small black and grey eggs.”

Excerpted from: Rogerson, Barnaby. Rogerson’s Book of Numbers: The Culture of Numbers–from 1,001 Nights to the Seven Wonders of the World. New York: Picador, 2013.

Robotic Surgery

Here is a reading on robotic surgery along with its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet. This is an Intellectual Devotional reading, so the worksheet is a two-pager with the standard (for Mark’s Text Terminal) eight vocabulary words, eight comprehension questions, and three “Additional Facts” questions.

If memory serves, I wrote this for a colleague who was running an after-school robotics program at a school in which I served in the North Bronx. I’m fairly certain I’ve never used it.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Cultural Literacy: Carbon

Here is a Cultural Literacy worksheet on carbon. This is a half-page worksheet with three questions. In other words, the barest of introductions to the topic. I believe I wrote this to accompany a lesson on carbon dating for a co-taught freshman global studies class in New York City.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Litmus Test (n)

Here is a context clues worksheet on the noun litmus test. It means, as we use in daily discourse, “a test in which a single factor (as an attitude, event, or fact) is decisive.”

As I prepare this post, it occurs to me that I may have never used this document in a class. I prepared it to have it ready–I think this is a noun phrase students ought to know, because of the commonness of its use in even conversational English. But it is also, in its literal sense, a term of art in the physical sciences as a pH indicator when testing materials for acidityterm.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

C.P. Snow

Snow, C(harles) P(ercy) later Baron Snow (of the City of Leicester) (1905-1980) British novelist, scientist, and government administrator. Snow was a molecular physicist at Cambridge University for some 20 years and served as an advisor to the British government. His 11-novel sequence Strangers and Brothers (1940-70), which analyzes bureaucratic man and the corrupting influence of power, includes The Masters (1951), The New Men (1954), and Corridors of Power (1964). The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution (1959) and later nonfiction works deal with the cultural separation between practitioners of science and literature.”

Excerpted from: Stevens, Mark A., Ed. Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Encyclopedia. Springfield, Massachusetts: Merriam-Webster, 2000.

Word Root Exercise: Anthrop/o

Here is a worksheet on the Greek word root anthrop/o. It means man and human; I always teach it as meaning simply human, just as I avoid locutions like “mankind” in the interest of avoiding sexism in language.

You can probably already perceive that this is very productive root in English. It gives us, of course, anthropology, anthropocentric, philanthropy, and misanthrope among a number of other commonly used words in the high school curriculum. And it you are interested in teaching students about global warming and environmental degradation in this, the Anthropocene Era, this is worksheet leads the way in building the necessary vocabulary for such an endeavor.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Weekly Text, June 11, 2021: A Lesson Plan on Geometric Angle by Degrees from The Order of Things

This week’s Text is a lesson plan on the degrees of angles in geometry. Here is the worksheet with a short reading and a series of comprehension questions.

The reading covers the five types of angles in geometry: acute (1-89 degrees); right (90 degrees); obtuse (91-179 degrees); straight (180 degrees); and reflex (180-359 degrees). This is an exercise designed to supply diverse learners with practice manipulating two symbolic systems–i.e. words and numbers–at the same time. It also, I would think (but also qualify this with something that is beyond dispute–I am not a teacher of mathematics), introduces students to the concept of angles in geometry.

For more on the material I developed from Barbara Anne Kipfer’s superb reference book The Order of Things, see the About Posts & Texts page visible on the masthead of the home page of this blog.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Cultural Literacy: Microchip

Since there is currently a worldwide shortage of them, and this as particularly affected the automobile manufacturing industry, now is a good time to post this Cultural Literacy worksheet on the microchip. It’s a full-page worksheet with five questions; as it is formatted in Microsoft Word, the user is left with a lot of latitude where expanding, contracting, or otherwise adapting this document to suit his or her needs.

So have at it.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.