in the beginning there was……science

22 Jul

My love affair with science goes back as far as I can remember, and it has relentlessly influenced my life since. It’s also the lens through which I view pretty much everything, this blog included. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, let the fun begin.

Speaking of beginnings, I’ve been thinking a lot about the start of this school year.  It’s no revelation that minute one, day one sets the stage for the rest of the year. I’ve always been a big believer in hitting the ground running, but this year I’m looking to take it up a notch. Here’s my day-to-day plan for this year:

  1. Provocative image/video showing on screen when students are walking in
  2. 1-2 questions as a lead in to the topic of the day/week/etc
  3. Take out writing instrument. Start writing. There is no wrong answer.

While a Mylie Cyrus photo tweet may qualify as provocative, not exactly what I’m going for here.

Here’s a preview of day one in AP Bio this year, opening the ecology unit:

I want to set the tone right from the start that it all starts with unexplained observations and the quest to find an explanation. How would we go about figuring out what’s going on here? What kind of experiments could we design to test our initial ideas? This is where I want to go all year long

Another sneak peak….Bio class day one, evolution and a video (sans audio) of a Devil’s garden (irony?):

We’re going down the evolution road, but first, what’s happening here? Next, how did we get here? No solutions yet – just discussion – we’re just whetting the appetite a bit. We’ve got plenty of Darwinian ground to cover first, but I we’ll get to that soon enough…

Note: Last year I decided to take the traditional micro to macro course sequence and turn it on its head. Why save the best for last? Let’s put evolution where it belongs, as the foundation that biology is built on.  Couldn’t be happier with the choice and looking forward to building (sorry…) on last year’s changes.


3 Responses to “in the beginning there was……science”

  1. Michael Doyle July 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm #

    Congrats on the birth of your blog!

    I am starting with evolution this year–as I plan the year around it, I am kicking myself for not doing it sooner. Everything in biology wraps around it.

    I hope to borrow heavily from your blog, so keep writing!

    • benpaulson July 23, 2010 at 2:41 pm #


      Thanks for the congratulations! I’m totally with you on putting evolution first. My students are probably tired of hearing me quote Dobzhansky by approximately the third day of school…I just finished rereading Beak of the Finch for some inspiration. I want to get the kids looking at real data, i.e. finches, guppies, fruit flies, etc. and formulating ‘Darwinian’ explanations. I’ll be posting some files when in the “appendix” section when I can so stay tuned.


  2. Ellena Bethea July 28, 2010 at 8:50 pm #

    I started with evolution first my second year of teaching AP bio (which was a first year course due to our physics first sequence). It was very successful!

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