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BSIE 2010: Session 6

Paul Grobstein's picture

Brain, Science, and Inquiry-Based Education
K-12 Summer Institute 2010



  Session 6

Observations, diversity, randomness, and selection

Making observations: a bunch of eggs, or a bunch of individuals?

Expectations/stories influence what you see/observations

Look closely enough at many things and you find ... diversity (exceptions?)

Things can be both individually distinctive AND members of classes/categories

Organizing diversity into classes/categories

Evolution - random variation and differential persistence ("natural selection")

Evolution as adaptation driven by selection?

Evolution as open-ended exploration driven by randomness constrained by selection, with adaptation a consequence rather than an objective? 


Geneva Tolliferreo's picture

1st Wednesday PM

My egg...

Not noticeably pointed top.  Almost perfectly oval.  Vague indentation off center of top.  Small grey blemishes around lower mid section.  The loveliest egg of all.  Number of egg off center on the bottom.  Opaque, not shinny.  Smooth surface, with no rough spots.

I am looking at the egg I randomly selected differently than I looked at my egg, because this egg (someone else's) is different from my egg.

God created male and female within the 7 days of Creation; creating rest on the 7th day.  The exceptions have been genetically modified, physically manipulated, and/or alcohol/substance abuse effected.  The exceptions are man’s attempt to perfect the perfect, which is impossible.  There is no more creation, because once Jesus died on The Cross and Rebirth through Salvation and Redemption were in place, Jesus stated, “It is finished.”, meaning that all of Creation was complete.  What we are experiencing is the vast discoveries those Creations yield.  Man cannot create anything; he can only discover and adapt/alter what is already created.  We choose to discover and utilize God’s Creations positively or negatively.

Will’s 2 groups summed everything for me…Nutritional and not.


Kim Fuller's picture

Are they all the same

I could not for the life of me figure out why they would have us study boiled eggs, until we were told to study the eggs and write down anything that would identify your egg. When he open the create of eggs I had a Ah-Ha moment I then thought that as much as things look a like that is just how much they are different. We all were able to find things that I identified our eggs and with our explanation of them we were able to find out who's egg was who's. this was great.

joycetheriot's picture


Is it helpful to create categories by either characteristics or DNA?
Diversity is initiated by change; scientists study diversity to search for the agents of change. In this manner we might develop a pattern of historical perspective which identifies the catalysts involved.
Although sometimes change severely reduces diversity. Hmmm.


RecycleJack Marine's picture

Catagories are Contagious

We make up catagories to characterize people and all of us do that too. It helps us to make sense of our world and the differences around us. In the article, Culture as Disability, anthroplogists catagorize children of the inner-city as less fortunate as the children who grow up in middle class communities. These children are catagorized as being disadvantaged (a catagory). It was my experience in the past several years that I taught in West Philadelphia that these children are at a disadvantage because they do not have the same opportunities as do students just across City Line Avenue. But what I discovered after teaching this past year is that these students should not be catagorized in this way at all. Their lives are very different from my children's, but their culture has much value to it. Many of my students will indeed succeed in their lives. I will get into this more in my mini-project.

GShoshana's picture

This afternoon we explored

This afternoon we explored diversity through different activities that involved categorizing.  In both activities we learned that just because multiple things belong to the same category, they can always be differentiated and should be treated as individuals.  This is how teachers should treat their students, as individuals.  Each one is unique and special, and brings their own culture, experiences and talents to the classroom.  The teacher needs to be open and patient while trying to reach each student. 

joycetheriot's picture

Egg Activity

After today’s egg session I was thinking that some differences can only be perceived with focused exposure. On the other hand, there are circumstances that allow an immediate response to the differences and cause one to be either repelled or attracted to them.


joycetheriot's picture

Culture an Additional Dimension

I was particularly interested in the "Culture" article given to us by Paul because this year my school engaged in a voluntary seminar called "Courageous Conversations" and I found it quite interesting.  Approximately a half dozen Teachers and Counselors participated in a training to facilitate the six, 2 hour, sessions in many teachers besides myself volunteered to attend. (Oh, and did I mention that there was a flex day for all who attended all of the sessions).

We were exposed to many ideas, had many discussions in small and large groups. We were given articles to read prior to the next session. We were encouraged to speak our minds and as a result some took offence, some got mad and even a few cried. I found each session very interesting. The one that stands out was when video of black children being given a choice between two dolls that were the same except one had a whit skin color and the other black. All the children chose the white doll. When asked why that one was picked the children in one way or another said “because it’s prettier”. I could not believe this experiment and the idea stayed with me for weeks. Te workshop brought up some unsettling ideas.

When I lived in the Philippines after some time I began to think of myself as a Filipina and would immediately noticed when a white tourist arrived (on my bus, or in my small town) and like the Filipinos, I’d immediately take an interest. “Who are they? What are they doing?” I’d ask of my Filipino companions. Later when I realized how sub-culture I’d become I’d pan a trip to visit a fellow American.

It was the white privilege that I began to notice so distinctly in a sort of inside out way. It not only lives, it thrives.


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