I’m jealous. Yesterday I gave a presentation at the University of Florida Center for Precollegiate Education and Training (CPET) to a group of about 25 teachers. They were there for the week participating in the Summer Science Institute: Exploring the Tree of Life professional training. My job was to give the teachers some background on how controversial teaching evolution has been here in Florida over the past 90 years. But my talk was a mere drop in the bucket compared to all of the cool stuff they have to look forward to this week. Here’s a sample of activities they’ll be engaged in:
Presentation: Phylogenetics and the Open Tree of Life
Activity: The Great Clade Race
Fossil dig at Thomas Farm
Activity: Geological time scale
Activity: Chewing on Change: Exploring the Evolution of Horses in Response to Climate Change
Presentation: Primate Biomechanics
Hands on Human Evolution: A Laboratory Based Approach
Presentation: Plant Pathogens and the Evolution of Virulence
I sincerely wish I could have stayed for the week! I’ll definitely apply for a slot in any Institute activities next summer.
My presentation was well received. As is typical any time I give a talk, no one in the audience had any idea just how often teaching evolution was a controversial topic here in Florida. It was really cool that CPET provided every participant a copy of Going Ape! I spent some time signing the books and answering questions one-on-one after my talk. It seemed the teachers were much more willing to chat privately (more or less) than in the whole group setting.