Articles quoting Jeff

Education Week regarding how teens learn about climate science

Jeff Adkins, a high school science teacher in Antioch, Calif., is a big proponent of teaching these skills. He encourages his own students to draw on what they learn about scientific literacy and apply it to their online lives.

“I want people to examine the scientific claims: Is it primary or secondary information? All that dovetails with media literacy,” he said. “I think the issue with the public is a lack of scientific literacy. People expect scientists to say, ‘This is the fact forever,’ but professional scientists don’t like this language. They admit that there is a possibility it will be wrong, but that doesn’t mean that there is a lack of confidence in their results.”

While almost all of Adkins’ students have told him they believe the climate is changing, several remain skeptical that it’s related to human activity.

It worries Adkins how big of a microphone social media can give climate deniers, and he said he tries to impress upon his students how, unlike a scientific study published in a journal, there’s little to no quality control over what appears on social media.

An article about UFOs in science class

"UFO conspiracy theories teach students to have an open mind, “but also to have a skeptical filter”, said Jeff Adkins, an astronomy teacher at Deer Valley high school in Antioch, California, near Oakland.

He has students consider the sheer size of the universe when deciding whether alien life forms would bother conducting experiments on humans or jamming the military’s radar systems.

“I still have a childhood fascination with aliens,” said Dennis Gavrilenko, a senior in Adkins’s astronomy and space exploration course this year. But Gavrilenko adds that he now awaits “solid evidence to support aliens before I truly believe they are real”.

© Jeff Adkins 2014