Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Teachers Symposium at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History: Teaching Evolution and the Diversity of Life

It has been hard to miss the uproar that led up to the Ohio Board of Education's final vote in December, 2002 that approved the new science standards for public schools. At the cornerstone of the debate was the new Life Science Standards involving the teaching of evolution and the diversity of life. In response, the Museum will now offer an annual symposium for teachers. The goals of the Teachers Symposium are to increase teachers' content knowledge in a wide variety of science topics and to connect teachers with local experts in those fields. Each year we will target a different topic and grade level. Aimed at 10th grade biology teachers this first Teachers Symposium will center on the Teaching of Evolution and the Diversity of Life.

The Symposium will begin on the evening of Friday, February 11, 2005 with the Explorer Series event “Darwin Remembers ” featuring Mr. Floyd Sandford performing as Charles Darwin. Saturday, February 12 will find teachers attending talks by local evolution experts. Topics include vertebrate eye evolution, human evolution, common misconceptions about evolution held by undergraduates, and more. The morning keynote speaker will be the Museum's executive director, Dr. Bruce Latimer, speaking on the importance of teaching evolution. Dr. Latimer is a physical anthropologist who has worked on important paleoanthropological finds and is an expert on evolution. The afternoon's keynote address will be given by Mr. Richard Benz, an award-winning science teacher from Wickliffe High School. Mr. Benz authored the NSTA press book, Ecology and Evolution , advised on the PBS series “Evolution ” and was a member of the Science Academic Content Standards Advisory Committee and Writing Team for Ohio. Mr. Benz will speak about the teaching evolution in the Ohio classroom. Other invited speakers come from the Museum and local universities.

A resource booklet created especially for the Symposium and will be given to teachers. The booklet will include a bibliography, web site suggestions, a CD of Power Point presentations and an interactive CD-ROM created by Mr. Benz entitled Voyage of the Beagle.

A thematic teaching kit that includes early hominid skulls, videos, books and teacher's guides will also be created in conjunction with the Symposium. Teachers with membership to the SRC will be able to borrow the kit for use in their classroom. The kit will be on exhibit during the Symposium.

The first 60 teachers to register will pay just $15. They will receive a ticket to the Friday night lecture, admission to the Symposium proceedings, a complimentary continental breakfast and luncheon, free parking for both days, a 1-year free membership to the SRC, and a resource booklet. All teachers registering after that will pay $45 and receive everything except the SRC membership.

Teachers may register by calling the SRC (216-231-2075).

Financial support for this event has been provided by the Martha Holden Jennings Foundation.