We can’t agree on much. But maybe this is common ground.

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Photo by Ruslan Zh on Unsplash

What’s the worst smell you can think of? Skunk? Brussel sprouts? Sour milk?

For me, it was a mixture of coca-cola, coffee, Gatorade, and rotting bones. The smell was so pungent it clung to my hair and clothes for hours after the air had cleared. I was a student teacher in a regional high school in Vermont, and I had asked my students to do an experiment on bone density. They each chose a liquid to soak a chicken bone in for a week.

I knew the acidic liquids would leach the calcium out of the bones and make them rubbery. What I did not anticipate were the angry, horrific smells that would fester in the sealed containers in the back of the room as I cheerfully drew diagrams of calcium molecules on the board in the front of the room. …

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Photo by Gabriel Manlake on Unsplash

For many of you, the fly that landed on Mike Pence’s head during the debate was nothing more than a brief distraction from the crazy events of the past week.

But for me, a high school science teacher in the middle of an entomology unit, it couldn’t have been more exciting. I’ve spent every day for the last two weeks in zoom calls talking about what insects eat, how they mate, where they live, and why they’re important to us.

So when the whole country pivoted away from politics, wildfires, and protests to talk about a little black bug, I was delighted. …

Or should I say — the problem with people?

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Photo by Lily Banse on Unsplash

Science has a problem. Or maybe it’s more like we have a problem with science. And since I’m a high school science teacher, this problem is one I’ve had to wrestle with. A lot.

My son is turning four next week. He loves trucks, monster trucks, bulldozers, fire trucks, and dirt bikes.

And he also loves Caldecott Medal-winning books. Early on, he started noticing the gold and silver circles emblazoned on books like Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McClosky and Owl Moon by Janet Yolen.

At Barnes and Noble, I always have a hard time saying no. But I’d be a monster to tun him down when he says, “Please, mom! It’s a Caldecott book!”


Emily Kingsley

Curious about everything. For weekly fresh perspectives on science, go here: https://emilylime99.substack.com

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