Category: Education

Reflections on My First Semester at MacDonald Middle School

By Matthew Andres Moreno on January 18, 2018 in Education / 0 Comments
Reflections on My First Semester at MacDonald Middle School

Figure 1 The front entrance of MacDonald Middle School. Photo from ELPS district site. As the spring semester winds up, one of the parts of my school week I’m looking forward most to getting back to is working with math students at MacDonald Middle School (Figure 1). Last semester, I spent Monday and Wednesday mornings as a teacher’s assistant in two classrooms — third and fourth period on their schedule. My third period classroom was a sixth grade geometry class. This class covered a lot of really neat common core approaches to solving problems and, in particular, emphasized learning through guided exploration and peer-to-peer interaction. My fourth period classroom was a catch-up class that mostly focused on getting comfortable with performing computations: addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, and going back and forth between fractions and decimals. This […]

Fall Elementary Science Nights

By Matthew Andres Moreno on November 17, 2017 in Education, Goings-On / 0 Comments

We wrapped up our third elementary science night representing BEACON yesterday. At Marble, Whitehills, and Glencairn schools, members of our lab teamed up with other BEACON friends to share clip birds: learning about how form relates to function by foraging for different-sized seeds with different-sized beaks (i.e. different clothespins) hominid skulls: how do the different skull morphologies relate to function and how can we see differences between organisms? geckos: Travis brought live Crested and Leopard geckos to compare and contrast their adaptations… how can we tell that the geckos came from different environments? giant evolutionary timeline: learning about the different animals that lived across evolutionary time. Thanks to these schools for hosting us and all the families that came to visit! We’re looking forward to more elementary science nights in the spring. Until then, here are […]

Information Theory through Toy Examples

By Matthew Andres Moreno on October 26, 2017 in Education / 0 Comments

Motivation Clean the gutters, clear enough space in the garage to park the car, organize a laundry bin of family photos, respond to an email that’s been wallowing too long at the bottom of the inbox…we all have a list of things we’ve been meaning to get around to. Learning a bit of information theory has been one of those things I meant to get around to for longer than I would like to admit. A few weeks ago, I ran into Dr. Chris Adami at the BEACON Congress. He recommended a pair of introductory papers on information theory. In [Adami, 2016], he provides a lively introduction to information theory that pays special attention to guiding newcomers through commonly-encountered intellectual obstacles and dispelling common misconceptions about information theory. In [Adami, 2012], Adami presents an information theoretic […]

Avida-ED for classroom research

By Mike Wiser on December 8, 2015 in Education, Research / 1 Comment
Avida-ED for classroom research

Laboratory components are often integral parts of both K-12 and college science courses. I certainly had a lot over the course of my science education; 5 courses with labs in high school, 8 in college. But for the overwhelming majority of them, I was essentially following a recipe and doing by rote things which had already been done and where the answers were already known. It was only in science-fair-style projects that I typically had any control over the questions I was asking, or how I would go about trying to answer them. But science education doesn’t have to be like that. Inquiry-based science practice is a growing part of the recommendations for science education1 2.  Thankfully, computational tools are making these practices more accessible. NGSS Lead States. (2013). Next Generation Science Standards: For States, By […]