Science 101: Evolution and Genes

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Last year, New York City's 4th and 8th graders scored below both the state and national averages on a nationwide science exam. Just 13% of eighth-graders were deemed proficient in science on the National Assessment of Educational Progress. Every day over the next week, we'll take a few minutes to get to the bottom of some common science questions.

Our Science expert is Rob DeSalle, curator in the Sackler Institute for Comparative Genomics at the American Museum of Natural History.

Today: Evolution and genes

Comments [3]


"How could Jaime explain to Manuel that tigers with different stripes can be brothers?"

I wouldn't know how to begin to answer that question. There are a million possible answers. "With his mouth." "With words." "With pictures." "By saying they can be brothers." "By using the Socratic method."
The argument from analogy with parents that the teacher mentioned does not work. Only tigers have tiger babies. It could just as easily be the case that only tigers with stripes a certain way produce similar babies.

Mar. 01 2011 10:59 PM

These questions are for the 4th grade? Honestly, I know many 4th graders who would not be able to answer these questions.

So, if we want these questions answered correctly we ought to be teaching at the honors level, and how can that happen with all the budget cuts that are happening and the talk of laying off off teachers. This science goal is not realistic.

Mar. 01 2011 12:04 PM

Few students (and their parents) who need more science education will be listening to your segments this week.

The real issue is how to get the media consuming general public to be interested in science.

Why do so many kids dream of being pop stars and sports stars (not that many opportunities or actual jobs here) but do not imagine themselves scientists (many opportunities and jobs here)?

Mar. 01 2011 11:54 AM

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