Tools for Undergraduate Research in Environmental Science and Field Biology:
(Note: As of Fall, 2013, only Units II and III are active. Other Units will be added over the coming months.)

I. Scientific Inquiry: How to identify a research topic, question and hypothesis

II. Fundamentals of Field Sampling: How to design a field study

III. Graphing and Statistics: How to interpret your data using MS Excel

IV. Communicating Your Results: Tips for writing effective papers and making clear presentations

  maps of region where we're living

September 4, 2013, The Himalaya Public School, Chaukori: Teaching

Isaiah has now been teaching English here for two-plus weeks. As far as I can tell, the students find his approach novel and enjoyable. He's managed to weave in tongue twisters and all sorts of games, both indoors and outdoors. I even observed the end of a game of duck duck goose, though how he related that to teaching English, I've yet to hear.

Isaiah teaching one of his first classes:

Isaiah hanging out with some of his students:

A game of duck duck goose at the end of class in the courtyard:

At the school, each morning begins with an assembly out on the courtyard surrounded by panoramic views of clouds and mountains. The students line up in perfectly straight columns and stand at attention while various songs and speeches are shared by students and staff through the wireless microphones. It's quite incredible how well behaved the students are as they stand quietly for the duration in the warm mountain sun.

Morning Assembly at the Himalayan Public School:

April and I have shared songs at a couple of assemblies, including a mandolin and guitar version of Bob Marley's "Three Little Birds." It's hard to imagine how we must sound to the students, but they and the teachers are warm and appreciative in their response.

The view from the balcony outside the classroom where I've taught a couple of classes:

I recently had the pleasure of teaching some 11th and 12th grade biology classes in a room with no chairs for the students, just rugs. The students don't seem to mind.

Classroom with no chairs:

12th Grade Biology Students my first class:

And in this room low-tech meets hi-tech, as it's equipped with a near-field projector and smart board.

The classroom with no chairs also has smart board technology:

For the first class, I decided to cover some basic ecology and the niche concept. Amazingly, at least one student was right with me as we jumped from two to three to n-dimensions . . . she completed the sequence beginning with square and cube by blurting out "hypervolume."

11th Grade Biology Students taking notes on the niche concept:

The students also liked hearing about the Three-wattled Bellbird and were especially fascinated by the worm-like wattles that project from the beaks of the male birds and that shrink and elongate as males call and display.

It's pretty incredible how efficiently the school runs. To us, it's full of surprises with its mixture of traditional and modern. We never know what we'll discover next . . . classrooms without chairs, a carpenter using mostly hand-tools to create beautiful furniture and cabinets for the library, or a video monitoring system that allows those in the office to view what's going on in most of the rooms in the school . . . this place sure seems a bastion of order and hope in this remote corner of India.

Another view of a morning assembly . . . you can see Isaiah on the left with some of the other teachers:

Prakash (the co-director of the school) taking a picture of the top-achieving academic students from each class:

This site created and maintained by
Dr. Rhine Singleton
Associate Professor of Biology & Environmental Science
Franklin Pierce University, Rindge, NH 03461
You can contact me at: singler at franklinpierce dot edu