Welcome to Volume 2, Issue 3 of Evolution: Education and Outreach. Recent issues have centered on themes such as Darwin, the evolution of eyes, or most recently, on transitional fossils. These issues have all proved to be great successes as they are discussed in the blogosphere and cited in new scientific research papers. This issue, another in our series of special issues dedicated to a subject or theme, focuses on teaching evolution. Teaching can be a difficult proposition under the best of circumstances, and teaching evolution can present its own challenges but can also bring its own very special rewards. The following pages contain articles that explore many aspects of evolution education, including how state education standards impact science in the classroom, how evolution is taught around the world, how people’s education and backgrounds affect their understanding of and ability to teach and learn about evolution, and how methods of teaching evolution impact student success and understanding of evolutionary theory from elementary school to college.
Since we first launched this journal, it has been our hope that the articles we publish will find teachers in K-16 classrooms and that teachers will find the articles helpful and practical. Cutting-edge scientific research papers that would have once been at home in a more traditional journal have been mixed with lesson plans, science curricula, reports from schools around the world, and other education articles in an effort to expand our audience to include the teachers whose daily responsibility it is to instill sound scientific principles in our children. The tag line on our front cover, “Linking science and education,” is the goal we are always trying to achieve.
In order to help us live up to this motto, we would love to see more input from teachers. As we begin a new school year, we hope teachers of every grade level will find some time in their busy schedules to share their experiences with us. As the Editor’s Corner essay in this issue from co-Editor-in-Chief and middle school science teacher Greg Eldredge demonstrates, submissions need not be exhaustively researched or contain any scientific breakthroughs. Teaching is more art than science and, as such, lends itself to all forms of expression, not limited to constrained academic discussion. So send us your letters, your lesson plans, your stories of what has and has not worked for you in the classroom. What do your students enjoy about your evolution unit? What challenges have you faced? What projects have your students been the most proud of? Submit student work with your article explaining the activity, and your students may be published in a peer-reviewed academic journal! Our goal is to help teachers bring good science into the classroom, and we can’t do that without input from the teachers we hope to reach. Instructions for submitting articles to Evolution: Education and Outreach can be found at http://www.springer.com/12052. Or, if you have an idea you would like to discuss before submitting it, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As with our previous special issues that have been great successes, this issue was helmed by a talented and dedicated evolutionist and educator. We would like to extend a very special thank you to Kristin Jenkins, board member of this journal and Education and Outreach Program Specialist at the National Evolution Synthesis Center, for her hard work as guest editor of this issue. Nice work, Kristin!
So from all of us here at Evolution: Education and Outreach, have a great start to the new school year and keep on teaching evolution!