IN THIS ISSUE:
Exploring Slug Slime and
Biology majors traditionally learn a technical jargon best suited for scientific journals and conferences. But now UM is churning out graduates who also have the ability to translate their knowledge for the average Joe.
In fact, a recent assignment by Associate Professor Erick Greene required his students to share their learning on the radio with western Montana. Forty students in his animal behavior class were asked to prepare four- to five-minute oral presentations about some interesting aspect of the natural world to read on KUFM, the public radio station based at UM.
Titled Field Notes," the on-air snippets require students to make biology interesting and understandable to the general public.
I thought Field Notes' would be good exercise to help get students away from technical jargon and help them explain why this stuff is exciting and interesting and what it means to the public," Greene says.
Topics for Field Notes were as varied as nature itself, ranging from bear hibernation to the habits of burrowing owls. One student described how migrating birds are incredible astronomers, using Polaris and other stars to guide their flights. Another student discussed how water strider insects communicate with one another by drumming water surfaces and creating ripples.
Some topics were more bizarre than others. One student did a presentation about the many purposes of slug slime. (Did you know slugs use slime trails to find each other?)
One student segment of Field Notes will be broadcast each week airing at 9:29 p.m. Thursday, 10:55 a.m. Saturday and noon Sunday for most of the coming year. This is the first year Greene has used Field Notes in one of his classes, but it's a practice he would like to continue.
I think it's a valuable learning experience," Greene said. These students need to be able to go down to town hall to explain, for example, what Fish, Wildlife and Parks is doing with their local stream."
-- Cary Shimek