The new semester brings three new science courses for the high school. First, there is the course on Energy where we examine the myriad ways society uses and converts energy. For the first part of the course we are focusing on energy uses at home and at school, and students are busy auditing Harmony and their homes to identify baseload and phantom electrical loads. Students have also started conducting sun hour assessments of various locations on the Harmony property in preparation for the solar panel installation this spring.
Next is the Ecology course, in which I have the pleasure of collaborating with IU Community of Teachers student Erich Nolan. We started the course by learning about evolutionary theory, and then debating each other about the ideas of creationism, intelligent design and the Darwin Awards. We visited some labs at IU to learn about the evolution and ecology of the freshwater zooplankton Daphnia, and students are currently culturing their own experimental populations to investigate various factors that contribute to population growth.
Lastly, there is the Anatomy & Physiology class. Students have completed their first fitness assessments, and they have already learned a lot about cardiovascular and respiratory health by using a sphygmomanometer and calculating their lung capacities. We are currently studying the skeletal system, including a great lesson (and free toothbrushes) from Bloomington Pediatric Dentistry on teeth.