From classroom

Some COVID-19 Questions From a Curious and Concerned Seven Year Old

I got this letter the other day and it’s awesome! I thought I would try my best to answer these great COVID-19 questions. Thanks Alaina! 1. Where does the virus actually come from? Right now, the best answer is likely from one of these: Yup, a bat. But how it changed from a virus that infects bats to one that infects humans is still not really known. However, this sort of thing has happened before and the science word for it is zoonosis. This is where a disease which would normally only infect an animal (in this case a bat),…

Nadine Caron: Barrier Breaking Surgeon

Dr. Nadine Caron was born in Kamloops, British Columbia. In 1993, she earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Kinesiology at Simon Fraser University, where she was also a star basketball player. From there, she entered medical school at the University of British Columbia, eventually graduating at the top of her class and becoming the first First Nations woman to graduate from the program. Dr. Caron proceeded to Harvard University, where she earned a Master’s degree in Public Health. She went on to the University of California, San Francisco to complete her postgraduate fellowship training in Endocrine Surgical Oncology. In…

Science Studies and its Mea Culpas

Note that this piece was written to accompany an excellent radio documentary series produced by the award winning Cited, and called “Technocracy and its Discontents.” Click here to catch the first episode, “The Science Wars”. * * * There has been something rather strange happening in a marginal corner of the humanities called science studies. Science studies is claiming itself responsible for creating our ‘post-truth’ political climate. These left-wing scholars are reckoning with the uncomfortable possibility that their sophisticated sociological investigations of science enabled climate denialism, Donald Trump, and the Brexit campaign (Fuller, 2018; Latour, 2004). What are we to make…

Introducing the Phylo Trading Card Game DIY Home School Activity.

With the pandemic being part of our daily lives, school has had to make some adjustments. Because of this, the SCQ thought it would be cool to point out one of our sister projects: one that we’re certain would be a great way to learn some science, think about the environment, and all the while, have some fun by creating your own game. It’s called the Phylo project, and read on to hear more and see how you can participate! WHAT IS PHYLO? The Phylo Trading Card Game (TCG) is a project that began as a reaction to the following…

A Child’s Primer on COVID-19

(Deutsch | Español | 中文 | 한국어) * * * Let’s start with this: This is probably a word that you keep hearing grown-ups talk about, but it’s also probably a word that is a bit of a mystery to you. There are lots of ways to explain this funny word, but let’s start by telling you that it’s the reason why so many people are staying at home right now, why your school might be closed, and why people are saying that it’s best not to play with your friends. It’s also why your loved ones keep telling you…

Una Guía Para Niños Sobre COVID-19

(Deutsch | English | 中文 | 한국어) * * * Vamos a empezar con esto: Probablemente esta es una palabra que escuchas a adultos decir mucho, pero probablemente también para ti sea un misterio. Hay muchas maneras de explicar esta palabra tan graciosa, pero comencemos diciéndote que es la razón por la cual actualmente tanta gente se queda en su casa, porqué tu escuela podría estar cerrada y porqué la gente dice que es mejor no jugar con tus amigos. También es por eso que tus seres queridos te siguen diciendo que te laves las manos y que seas especialmente…

INTEGRINS AND THE SOCIAL NETWORK OF CELLS

(Art by Armin Mortazavi) When imagining a cell, it’s often easy to think of it as a lone entity, a single squishy bubble of fluid. However, cells are actually incredibly complex, and they can organize in ways to form many types of structures and ultimately whole living organisms like a tree, a bird, or even our own bodies! Understanding how these cells interact and get together is key to understanding how different cells make different structures – like how bones are different from skin for instance. Knowing this also reveals how cells talk to one another. And just as we…

KINESIN: THE LITTLE ENGINE THAT COULD

(Art by Armin Mortazavi) When we are learning about cells and how they function, we are often confronted with large, circular blob-like things that contain several different internal structures for us to memorize. It may be tempting to dismissively think of cells as being nothing more than these simple, two dimensional objects (after all, they are commonly referred to as “the most basic units of life”). However, closer inspection reveals that cells are extremely dynamic, and their daily activities are far more exciting and complicated than first appearances may suggest. Cells operate like tiny machines and their inner workings are…

PLANTS: AMAZING PHYTO-PHARMACIES

(Art by Armin Mortazavi) Some of the best chemical engineers in the world don’t have a university degree. The most prolific institutions (if they can be called that) don’t have professors or laboratories. The chemicals themselves boast more complicated architectures than humans could imagine. The working conditions are dirty and crowded, but somehow the immobile chemists still succeed. These thriving chemical production plants, in every sense of the word, are forests. Some phytochemicals (compounds synthesized by plants) that nature has so elegantly engineered are also life-saving medicines. Take Taxol, a compound originally isolated from the bark of Pacific yew trees.…