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edu180atl: gary jones 8.16.11

Today, I learned a random but interesting science concept.  While sitting in an impromptu junior high science department meeting, one of my science colleagues posed this question to the group: “why do trees lose their leaves in the fall”?

As it turns out, the decreased amount of sunlight in the late fall and winter decreases the amount of photosynthesis that takes place within the green leaves.  As a result, not as much carbon dioxide (CO2) is converted into oxygen.  The excess amounts of CO2 in the air trigger a chemical reaction with the chloroplasts in the leaves that ultimately rob the leaves of their vitality.  This explanation contradicts the misconception that cold weather causes the leaves to fall.  It just so happens that the decreased amount of sunlight is responsible for both the leaves falling and the colder weather,  but these two effects are independent of each other.

That’s what I learned today!  Now you may be wondering why a “science” teacher did not already know this.  Well, my concentration is in physics.  Life science is just as unfamiliar to me as French or Latin.  So, this surprise “leaf” lesson was a pleasant one indeed!

About the author: Gary is a husband, father of three, science guy, and three-season coach.  He really loves his students and enjoys teaching them life lessons in and out of the classroom.

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4 Comments Post a comment
  1. Gary – thank you for reminding people that the idea of a ‘science’ teacher is a complete misnomer! There is no such subject as ‘science’ per se, and if you talk to me about physics or biology you may as well be speaking Greek. Far too may people don’t understand this, thanks for helping to enlighten folk.

    August 16, 2011
  2. Gary- fabulous post. Just because you are a science teacher, does not mean you know everything about science. I especially love trivia when the category is science, and everyone looks at you expecting you to know the answer! Being a science teacher really means being that much more excited to learn another new thing in science! Thanks for sharing!

    August 17, 2011
  3. Great post, Gary! First of all, I love the image of a bunch of teachers sitting around and just having the deep conversations of their discipline. Your post made me think not only about how much i love those chats, but also about how much we can learn from one another. Just having the time to sit down and talk with colleagues about what they do, how they teach it, and their approach is so rewarding. How do we create more of these moments? How do we create them for our students? Your post also really made me reflect on the power of saying “I don’t know.” It’s obvious, but if we make it know that we have a knowledge gap, then we have created space for learning. And, I think this is such a powerful thing to model for our students… so often I think they are placed in settings that foster a sense of inadequacy around “not knowing.” The moment of realizing you don’t know can be such a marvelous one because you create the space to learn.

    August 17, 2011
  4. Thomas Van Soelen #

    Margaret Wheatley writes eloquently about living in the world of not knowing everything and how we are trained to pretend we know it all. My favorite chapter from her is called “Willing to be Disturbed.”

    August 18, 2011

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