ARKive provides a unique audio-visual record of life on Earth

With the extinction of various animal species occurring at a faster rate now than at any time in Earth’s history, programs to educate the public about the planet’s biodiversity and raise awareness of the need for preservation are critical. ARKive is one such effort, bringing together the very best photos and video footage of the world’s species in one centralized digital library, to create a unique audio-visual record of life on Earth—and prioritizing those species at the greatest risk of extinction.

Besides preserving and maintaining this information for future generations, ARKive also contains extensive educational resources, including several thousand videos, images, and fact files that can be used in a wide range of subject areas—as well as science teaching resources grouped according to students’ age range. These science resources cover many key biology topics, such as variation and adaptation, habitats and life cycles, evolution, classification, food chains, and conservation.

All of the website’s photos, video clips, and authenticated fact files are available for students and teachers to use and incorporate into lessons and presentations free of charge.…Read More

Kansas headed for another debate over evolution

The first draft of the multi-state standards declares that evolution and its underlying mechanisms are "key to understanding both the unity and the diversity of life on Earth."

Kansas is headed toward another debate over how evolution is taught in its public schools, with a State Board of Education member saying June 1 that science standards under development are “very problematic” because they describe the theory as a well-established, core scientific concept.

From 1999 to 2007, the state had five different sets of science standards for its schools as conservative Republicans gained and lost majorities on the board, which sets the guidelines. The debates attracted international attention—and some ridicule—before the latest standards, which reflect mainstream scientific views about evolution, were adopted five years ago.

Kansas is now among 26 states helping to draft new science standards alongside the National Research Council, with the goal of creating standard, nationwide guidelines. A first draft became public last month, and the Kansas board is scheduled to hear an update on June 12.…Read More

Tennessee bill on teaching evolution, climate change to become law

Supporters say the legislation is intended to help students think critically, but critics say evolution is established science that shouldn't be taught as a controversy.

Tennessee’s Republican governor says he will let a bill become law effective April 20 that protects teachers who allow students in their classrooms to criticize evolution and other scientific theories, such as global climate change.

Gov. Bill Haslam had said previously he would probably sign the bill. On April 10, he disclosed he would let the law take effect without his signature, saying he believes the legislation doesn’t change science standards currently taught in Tennessee’s public schools.

Tennessee was the state where the nation’s first big legal battle over evolution was fought nearly 90 years ago.…Read More

Tennessee governor ‘probably’ will sign evolution bill

The ACLU says allowing students to critique "scientific weaknesses" in the theory of evolution is language frequently used by those seeking to introduce non-scientific ideas like creationism and intelligent design into science curriculum.

Tennessee, where the nation’s first big legal battle over evolution was fought nearly 90 years ago, is close to enacting a law that critics deride as the “monkey bill” for once again attacking the scientific theory.

The measure passed by the Tennessee General Assembly would protect teachers who allow students to criticize evolution and other scientific theories, such as global warming. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam said this week he would likely sign it into law.

Haslam said the State Board of Education has told him the measure won’t affect the state’s current scientific curriculum for primary, middle, or high school students. Louisiana enacted a similar law in 2008.…Read More

Center to focus on high-tech evolution

Forget fossils and DNA comparisons. A new center at Michigan State University will shift the focus of evolution from the past to the future, reports the Free Press. MSU said Wednesday that it has received a five-year, $25-million grant from the National Science Foundation to fund the work of the new Bio/computational Evolution in Action CONsortium, or BEACON. The center, which is to open in June, will bring together biologists who study natural evolutionary processes and computer scientists and engineers. Together, they will study how the evolutionary process in the biological world may be applied to the computer world — and vice versa…

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