School districts throughout Kentucky will spend the summer putting the finishing touches on new science curriculum. State Education Commissioner Terry Holliday announced this week that what’s known as the Next Generation Science Standards will be implemented this fall.
Kentucky is one of 26 states that recently worked to develop the new standards.
Next Generation puts greater emphasis on subjects such as physical science, life sciences, earth science, and engineering.
Some school districts across the state have gotten a head start in getting the new standards in place.
“In Barren County, we have already started the implementation, with about half of our grades having made the transition last year, and the other half to make the transition this year,” said Scott Harper, director of instruction and technology for Barren County Schools.
Jennifer Davis, director of elementary and secondary programs for Bowing Green Independent Schools, says the content that students will experience next school year goes beyond learning basic scientific concepts.
“With the new standards, it’s not just a focus on core ideas, but also engineering practices, concepts as to how science is applied in the real world,” Davis told WKU Public Radio. “It’s really about how to teach kids to think scientifically.”
One of Kentucky’s most well-known cancer treatment centers is receiving a multi-million dollar grant to find new treatments and vaccines.
The James Graham Brown Cancer Center at the University of Louisville announced Friday that they have been given a three-year, $5.5 million dollar grant from the Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust.
The Center’s director, Doctor Donald Miller, says the grant will help continue a partnership between U of L and Owensboro Health that is exploring the use of plant-based pharmaceuticals and vaccines.
“We have two vaccines--one for cervical cancer, one for colon cancer that are ready to move forward into early phase clinical trials, and this grant will primarily support the testing of those vaccines over the next three years,” Dr. Miller said.
The grant will also seek to further develop plant-based drugs that would allow a higher concentration of anti-cancer drugs to be delivered to tumors.
A high-resolution map of the human brain in utero is providing hints about the origins of brain disorders including schizophrenia and autism.
The map shows where genes are turned on and off throughout the entire brain at about the midpoint of pregnancy, a time when critical structures are taking shape, researchers reported Wednesday in the journal Nature.
Researchers at a laboratory in California say they've had a breakthrough in producing fusion reactions with a giant laser. The success comes after years of struggling to get the laser to work and is another step in the decades-long quest for fusion energy.
Omar Hurricane, a researcher at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, says that for the first time, they've produced significant amounts of fusion by zapping a target with their laser. "We've gotten more energy out of the fusion fuel than we put into the fusion fuel," he says.
Originally published on Thu February 6, 2014 6:07 pm
Days after a wide-ranging debate on creationism and evolution between Bill Nye and Ken Ham, the event is driving an online conversation. Themes of belief and literalism, logic and faith — and, for some, relevance — are being aired and disputed. And some wonder what the debate accomplished.
The video of the more than two-hour debate, in which Nye and Ham presented their views on how the Earth and its surroundings were created, has been viewed more than 830,000 times on YouTube. At one point, the live event drew more than 500,000 viewers.
One of TV’s best known science educators, Bill Nye, wrapped up this week’s visit to Kentucky by debating the founder of the Creation Museum Tuesday evening.
Ken Ham, the founder and CEO of the museum in Northern Kentucky, challenged Nye to debate the topic, “Is Creationism a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era.”
Ham believes science can be reconciled with a belief that the world was created in six days and is only six thousand years old, a view that comes from a literal interpretation of the Bible.
“I don’t know of any other religion that has a book that starts off by telling you there’s an infinite God and talks about the origin of the universe and the origin of matter and the origin of light and the origin of darkness and the origin of day and night," Ham said during the debate.
Ham invited Nye to debate following Nye’s 2012 YouTube video in which he stated that teaching divine creation was harmful to children and to American society.
New commercial devices, using technology borrowed from the field of neuroscience, are making it possible to control objects with brain power alone. The idea is to help train users to become more focused — and relaxed.
EEG headsets, which detect electrical activity in the brain, were once found only in research labs. Today, the technology has become cheaper and easier to use. That's made it possible to connect EEG headsets to other consumer devices.
The Kentucky Department of Education will begin preparing to implement new science standards in the next school year.
The standards revise science education in general, but have drawn controversy for expanding on evolution and climate change. A General Assembly committee rejected the standards this week but Governor Steve Beshear said he will use his powers to enact them anyway.
Dr. Tom Tretter at the University of Louisville worked on the standards. He’s also helping teachers implement the new lessons. He says even though they haven’t cleared all the legislative hurdles, the state feels it’s best to begin training teachers.
“Given that we feel like its best case and most prudent to go ahead and move forward under the initial assumption at least that we’re going to be working with these Next Generation Science Standards or something that might look just like them," said Dr. Tretter.
Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear says he will override a legislative committee’s decision to reject new science standards for public school students.
The Kentucky Board of Education already approved the Next Generation Science Standards this year, but they were subject to legislative review. The regulation review committee shot down the new standards 5-1 Wednesday, following public criticism that they included teachings on evolution and climate change.
Committee co-chair Senator Ernie Harris rejected the standards, calling them inferior to Kentucky’s current standards.
“I probably got 100 comments from people around the state to find these regs deficient, and I think I got may three or four in support of the regs," Sen. Harris said.
By law, the governor can override these types of legislative decisions. Beshear says he’s disappointed in the committee’s decision and will move forward with implementation anyway.