Are you running any distance learning science classes this fall? Take advantage of our free webinar series for high school students. These engaging biology, chemistry, earth science, and physics lessons cover high-interest topics – like Covid-19, extraterrestrials, and evolution. Assign them to your students to watch live, so your class can participate in a q&a session with Savvas authors and science experts Ken Miller, Joe Levine, Michael Wysession, Bryn Lutes and Chris Moore. All session recordings will be available on-demand after they take place at

Browse the list of upcoming webinars below and register to reserve a spot! All webinars are at 3PM Eastern time.

Science and the Meaning of Life

Being a scientist is an exciting profession. The opportunity to investigate and discover the inner workings of the universe provides a deep reward that cannot be put into words. However, for many scientists, what we learn about our many connections to the world, to all living organisms, to the whole planet, to our whole galaxy, also provides an increased sense of purpose. The sense of awe and wonder at the intricacies and complexities of our very existence give many scientists a deep sense of gratitude and empathy with all other forms of life, and deep understanding of our place in the universe that even goes as far as to provide a sense of the meaning of life.

Date: Monday, October 12, 2020
Speaker: Dr. Michael Wysession
Registration Link:

Why Can’t We Walk Through Walls?

If we only consider the volume of the electrons, protons, and neutrons in your body, then your entire mass would be about the size of a small sugar cube. Your body is mostly empty space. However, everything about you seems pretty solid. When you lean against a wall, you don’t fall through the wall. Why can’t you walk through walls? We’ll explore this surprisingly complex question that crosses both chemistry and physics.

Date: October 13th, 2020
Speaker: Dr. Christopher Moore
Registration Link:

Half Lives: Not Just for Radioactives

Imagining how kinetics applies to your everyday life seems like a monumental task. The reality is that the kinetics of chemical reactions is connected to everything in your everyday life, so it’s tough to narrow it down – but we can try! Have you ever noticed how different medications have different dose timings? Some are taken every 8 hours, some taken every 12 hours, and some medications can even be given all in one dose. The rate law, and specifically the half-life of that medication, determines how often it is administered because it determines how long the medication stays in your body. This is also true for chemicals like caffeine and ethanol, where the effect of the rate law can sometimes have a dangerous outcome.

Date: Wednesday, October 14, 2020
Speaker: Dr. Bryn Lutes
Registration Link:

Beyond climate: Understanding global change as a way to understand the nature of science and its role in society

Global warming and its effects are in the news all the time because scientific consensus links warming to heatwaves, droughts, rising sea levels, melting glaciers, stronger hurricanes, and changes in ecosystem function. But climate change is just one way human activities affect the biosphere. Our species has become the single most important driver of global change – which is why so many scientists refer to the present time as the Anthropocene, which means (more or less) “The age of humanity.” This talk will focus on the Understanding Global Change project, which aims to create a conceptual framework to help us get a handle on this complicated and interdisciplinary phenomenon.

Date: Thursday, October 15, 2020
Speaker: Dr. Joseph Levine
Registration Link:

How Science Education Can Promote Antiracism and Social Justice

The prejudices of systemic racism are unfortunately part of all aspects of modern society, and science and engineering are not immune from this. Incorrect old ideas about racial prejudice were initially founded in poor biological science. Pollution and environmental hazards from the chemical industry have historically impacted underrepresented communities more severely. Military weapons traditionally used to silence minority voices (such as tasers, tear gas, stun grenades, and flash bombs), including those that have been in the news this summer, were designed by chemists and physicists and built by engineers. However, professional STEM fields are now undergoing an exciting re-examination and re-evaluation of these participations, and future scientists will have greater awareness and control of the end uses of their research. These exciting actions promoting inclusive and equitable scientific practices provide many opportunities for engagement in the classrooms, and specific examples will be provided.

Date: Wednesday, October 28th, 2020
Speaker: Dr. Michael Wysession
Registration Link: 

Experience Kinematics: Using Multiple Representations to Understand the Motion of “Sailing Stones”

Long trails terminated by heavy rocks called “sailing stones” were discovered along smooth valley floors in Nevada, California… and the surface of Mars. How are these heavy rocks moving across what seems to be desert? Can you solve complex kinematics problems using pictures, graphs, and deep understanding? Can you use real data from recently published journal articles to answer authentic questions in kinematics?

Date: Monday, Sept. 21st, 2020
Speaker: Dr. Christopher Moore
Registration Link:

From 23 and Me to Three-Parent Babies. The new Human Genetics.

New techniques, such as CRISPR gene editing, mitochondrial transformation, and genetic drives, are changing the ways in which living organisms are studied and modified. Learn about these techniques and confront the social, moral, and ethical issues raised by the new human genetics.

Date: September 23, 2020
Speaker: Dr. Ken Miller
Registration Link:

COVID-19 and Other Dangerous Viral Diseases: Where do they come from? How can we fight them?

SARS-CoV-2 is the newest viral threat to humanity, following HIV, SARS, MERS, and flu strains like the one that caused the 1918 pandemic. Why are some viruses so deadly? How do new ones arise and spread? Can we draw from experience to defeat this one? This webinar puts coronaviruses in context, discovering many topics you will soon cover in your biology course – genetics, ecology, evolution, and immunology.

Date: Tuesday, September 29
Speaker: Dr. Joseph Levine
Registration Link:

Is There Anyone Out There?

Space and planetary sciences have reached an exciting crossroads in the question of whether or not there might be other civilizations of alien life forms elsewhere in the universe. NASA missions such as the Kepler telescope have confirmed the existence of thousands of planets around other suns, and many have Earth-like conditions. At the same time, research has shown the large numbers of “Goldilocks” conditions that had to work out just right for life to exist on Earth, and even then it took 4.5 billion years for life to evolve to state that it could make satellites to explore this question. In the words of Arthur Clarke, “Sometimes I think we’re alone in the universe, and sometimes I think we’re not. In either case, the idea is quite staggering.”

Date: Wednesday, September 30
Speaker: Dr. Michael Wysession
Registration Link:

A Mouthful of Chemistry

Did you know that your teeth dissolve in your mouth? It’s not pleasant to think about, but demineralization (dissolving) and remineralization (precipitation) are ongoing processes that have a big impact on oral health. The combination of chemicals in toothpaste are chosen to not only clean teeth but also to protect them from the demineralization process by making them less soluble. Come learn about how solubility equilibria and Le Châtelier’s Principle play a role in keeping your teeth intact.

Date: Thursday, October 1, 2020
Speaker:  Dr. Bryn Lutes
Registration Link:

Evolution. How strong is the evidence?

More than 160 years have passed since Charles Darwin published his theory of Evolution by Natural Selection.  He wrote his book “On the Origin of Species” without any knowledge of Genetics, Biochemistry, or Molecular Biology, and at a time when very little was known about the fossil record of life in the past.  Did he get it right?  We’ll take a look at where the theory stands today in the light of 21st-century science, and we will pay special attention to the remarkable evidence for evolution that can be found in the human genome itself.

Date: Monday, October 5, 2020
Speaker: Dr. Ken Miller
Registration Link:


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Note: Fresh Ideas for Teaching blog contributors have been compensated for sharing personal teaching experiences on our blog. The views and opinions expressed in this blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any other agency, organization, employer or company.

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