Why do discussions seem to quickly descend into ideological fights? Why don’t facts change people’s minds? And what will you do when the aliens don’t save you? This session will explore the answers to these questions to help you and your ensembles have more productive and meaningful conversations.
The Elephant, The Rider, And The Aliens That Didn't Come
Melanie Trecek-King is an Associate Professor of Biology at Massasoit Community College in Massachusetts. With over twenty years’ experience in college and high school classrooms, she especially enjoys teaching students who don’t want to be scientists when they “grow up.” Several years ago, Trecek-King recognized the need for a general-education science course that focused less on facts and more on science as a way of knowing, so she created a novel course that uses pseudoscience, bad science, and science denial to engage students and teach science literacy, information literacy and critical thinking. The course, Science for Life, is now being taught at other institutions and is part of a new research effort attempting to revolutionize science education. Her passion for science education led her to create Thinking Is Power to provide accessible and engaging critical thinking information to the general public.
In addition to her work in the classroom, Prof. Trecek-King is the Founder and Chair of Massasoit’s Sustainable Landscaping Committee, which uses environmentally responsible landscaping practices to conserve natural resources, reduce and prevent pollution, benefit wildlife, and enhance ecosystem functioning. Under her leadership, the committee has replaced lawn with native gardens, edible gardens, rain gardens, and a wildflower meadow, transforming the campus into a wildlife habitat and providing food to the campus community. The changed landscape is now part of a thriving student research program that has found sustainable land-use practices increase the diversity and abundance of native bees.