New Year’s Resolutions for September Part 1

New Year’s Resolutions for September Part 1

I’ve never been good at traditional New Year’s Resolutions. Somehow, coming on the heels of the most intense time of year—when holiday and end-of-semester craziness merge—by January 1 I’m more inclined to be grateful for survival than set new goals. But September is different. Even when I’m teaching summer term, the end of August brings … Continue reading

Take Time for Play

Take Time for Play

This month (perhaps while you were taking a few well-earned days off) the National Public Radio (NPR) series Playing to Learn presented a fascinating look into the relationship between play and learning. At this time of year when so many of us put summer relaxation behind and get back to the “serious business” of teaching, … Continue reading

Lost Ladybugs and Blooming Scientists

Lost Ladybugs and Blooming Scientists

One of the great challenges of helping students envision creativity in science is teaching science in ways that are more like, well, science. So much of science education is prepackaged in ways that are designed to make the questions clear and the results predictable—conditions actual scientists rarely experience. And besides, where’s the fun in giving … Continue reading

LEGO-tastic!

LEGO-tastic!

One of the joys (and time-wasting dangers) of the web is that you never know where an interesting link will lead. For me, today’s exploration involved LEGOs. It started when a friend sent a link to 50 States of LEGO, a creation of photographer Jeff Friesen, with LEGO scenes representing (naturally) each of the 50 … Continue reading

M I Curious? You Bet!

M I Curious? You Bet!

The M I Curious series on my local Public Radio station is a cooperative exercise in problem finding. Modeled after the Curious City series at WBEZ in Chicago, M I Curious asks, “What do you wonder?” It invites listeners to submit questions, puts the questions to a vote, and then selects those for investigation. It … Continue reading

Practice Makes Perfect? Maybe Not Always

Practice Makes Perfect? Maybe Not Always

How many times have you heard it—or said it, “Practice. Work hard. Just keep trying. All you have to do is work harder. Then you’ll succeed.” But in a recent Washington Post blog post, Alfie Kohn discusses a new meta-analysis that calls into question that traditional wisdom that links practice time and success. A meta-analysis … Continue reading

Travel, Creativity, and the Wonder of it All

Travel, Creativity, and the Wonder of it All

I’m back from an amazing 40th anniversary trip to Mainland China and Tibet (yes, obviously, we were married as babes!) On one hand, it was a blissful opportunity to leave everything work-related behind, but on the other, it was an immersion in creativity. One of the wonderful things about studying creativity is that it gives … Continue reading

Gone Fishing!

Gone Fishing!

I’m taking a blog break for the month of July, having some new creative explorations. I’ll be back in a few weeks with adventures to share. In the meantime, enjoy the summer sun (unless you are an Australian friend), study the stars, play with a child, paint a picture (or a wall), write a song … Continue reading

Unbored All Summer Long

Unbored All Summer Long

If I had to spend all summer with a group of kids and only one book, I know what I’d pick: Joshua Glenn and Elizabeth Foy Larsen’s Unbored: The Essential Field Guide to Serious Fun. This book is a marvel. It is full of activities, experiments, ideas to explore and plans to change the world. … Continue reading

How Do Scientists Think?

How Do Scientists Think?

When I was in school we learned—or thought we learned—how scientists worked. Scientists, we were told, followed the 5-step scientific method. First they came up with a question, then they designed an experiment, collected data, and drew conclusions to answer the question. I can easily envision my scientist friends shaking their heads and saying, “If … Continue reading