BioBlog

COVID myths & politics

Alison Campbell Aug 11, 2020

This year’s election campaign in New Zealand has attracted a number of “fringe” parties, at least some of whose supporters seem to have a fairly tenuous hold on reality and a highly flexible approach to the truth. I mean, how else could one describe some of those affiliated with the NZPP/Advance coalition, whose members & supporters regularly share myths about … Read More

Honeycreepers in hawaii

Alison Campbell May 25, 2020

The 2015 Schol Bio paper included a question about a group of birds known as honeycreepers, specifically, the 56 species endemic to the Hawaiian islands. (Or, were endemic: 18, or perhaps 19, are still living; the others are extinct.) Students who’ve already had a look at this paper as part of their preparation for the exam will know that it included … Read More

Thoughts on the proposed changes to NCEA

Alison Campbell Feb 28, 2020

Many readers will probably have read this RNZ article (or heard the related interview), or seen calls for consultation on the Ministry of Education’s suggested changes to the number of subjects – and achievement standards – on offer to year 11 students. I’ve been following (& participating, where I can) all this with colleagues and friends, and … Read More

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Why do students need to learn about the nature of science?

Alison Campbell Feb 25, 2020

You’re probably aware that the Achievement Standards used to assess senior school students’ learning are being reviewed. Science is one of the ‘pilot’ subjects in this process, where a ‘Subject Expert Group’ has developed 4 draft Science standards¹ (a significant step away from the current 30+, and a response to advice from several high-level advisory groups). These drafts … Read More

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Neandertals’ genetic legacy extends into africa

Alison Campbell Feb 03, 2020

For the last few years it’s been pretty much received wisdom that African populations shared only a tiny proportion of their genes, if any, with Neanderthals. In contrast, other non-African sapiens populations had a small but significant admixture of Neanderthal genes. The underlying reason for this, it’s been assumed, is that Homo sapiens and neandertalensis only bred with each other in Europe … Read More

Controversy? Or Manufactroversy?

Alison Campbell Jan 22, 2020

A few days ago, New Zealand’s Minister of Education announced the wider release of a resource on climate change, which was initially trialled at a Christchurch school during 2018. According to the Minister, children will learn about “the role science plays in understanding climate change, aids understanding of both the response to it and its impacts – globally, nationally … Read More

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