Tag Archives: science literacy

Amber

amber: Fossilized pine resin. It was much appreciated in antiquity not only for its beauty but for its supposed magical properties–of attracting small particles when warmed and rubbed. The major source in Europe is along the southeast coast of the Baltic and North Sea, and minor ones in even in southeast Europe. However, the distribution of finds strongly supports the view that there was an important trade in amber following specific routes up the Elbe and Vistula, across the upper Danube to the Brenner Pass, and so down to the Adriatic and the countries bordering it. Other objects and ideas travelled by the same route, which made it an important factor in European prehistory. The trade began in the Early Bronze Age but expanded greatly as a result of the Mycenaeans’ interest. Even Britain was brought into this trading area, as witnessed by amber spacer plates in barrows of the Wessex Culture. Later, amber was very popular with the Iron Age peoples of Italy, particularly the Picenes.

Excerpted from: Bray, Warwick, and David Trump. The Penguin Dictionary of Archaeology. New York: Penguin, 1984.

Joseph Louis Lagrange on Antoine Lavoisier

“[Remark the day after the guillotining of the great chemist Antoine Lavoisier on 8 May 1794]: ‘Il ne leur a fallu qu’un moment pour faire tomber cette tete, et cent annees, peut-etre, ne suffiront pas pour en reproduire une semblable.’

It took them only an instant to cut off that head, but it is unlikely that a hundred years will suffice to reproduce a similar one.”

Joseph Louis Lagrange

Quoted int J.B. Delambre, “Eloge de Lagrange,” Memoires de l’Institut (1812)

Excerpted from: Shapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

Thomas Kuhn on “Normal Science”

“‘Normal science’ means research firmly based upon one or more past scientific achievements, achievements that some particular scientific community acknowledges for a time as supplying the foundation for its further practice.”

Thomas Kuhn

The Structure of Scientific Revolutions ch.2 (1962)

Excerpted from: Shapiro, Fred, ed. The Yale Book of Quotations. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2006.

The Selfish Gene

A book (1976) by the biologist Richard Dawkins (b. 1941) that popularized the evolutionary theory that living organisms are primarily the means by which genes perpetuate themselves. This helped to explain the continuing existence of characteristics that do not necessarily benefit an individual organism. The book did much to popularize the field of sociobiology.

‘They are in you and me; they created us, body and mind; and their preservation is the ultimate rationale for our existence…they go by the name of genes, and we are their survival machines.'”

Excerpted from: Crofton, Ian, ed. Brewer’s Curious Titles. London: Cassell, 2002.

Independent Practice: Philip II

I don’t know what place he occupies in your world history or global studies curriculum, or whatever your district or school calls it, but if you can use it, here is an independent practice worksheet on Philip II of Spain.

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.

White Blood Cells

Some years ago, I oversaw a credit-recovery class over summer, and one of the most frequently failed courses that year was health. I developed a number of supplemental materials for the inadequate corporate software the school used for his endeavor. I’ll start posting them here occasionally.

Here, then, is a reading on white blood cells and its accompanying vocabulary-building and comprehension worksheet.

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.

Yang, Chen Ning/Frank Yang

Yang Chen Ningknown as Frank Yang (b. 1922) Chinese-U.S. theoretical physicist. He emigrated to the U.S. in 1945 and studied with E. Teller at the Univ. of Chicago. He showed that parity is violated when elementary particles decay. This and other work in particle physics earned him and Tsung-Dao Lee (b. 1926) a 1957 Nobel Prize. His research focused mostly on interactions involving the weak force among elementary particles. He also worked in statistical mechanics.”

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