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Some good things we can do

Postings have been a little thin here at FairerScience this week. Blame three proposals (done), an important presentation (done) and a review (doing). Since most of my extra work is almost done, I thought I would end the "official" work week (like the work week ever ends) with some good things we can do.

We can reduce stereotype threat. Many of us are aware of the concept of stereotype threat The definition is "being at risk of confirming, as self-characteristic, a negative stereotype about one's group. In English it means that, for example, as a woman, if you are in a situation where it is made clear that women aren't as good in math as men; there will be a tendency for you not to do as well as you would have otherwise. Now there is a resource on how to reduce stereotype threat! The site provides seven research based strategies we can use including "reframing the task. " This means we can reduce stereotype threat based on gender by telling female students that a test is gender-fair. Hopefully the test will be fair but interestingly whether the test is fair or not doesn't matter here; it is the perception that makes the difference. My favorite strategy is "Emphasize high standards with assurances about capability for meeting them."

We can teach others about the environment. Next week is National Environmental Education Week The theme is carbon footprints. There are a ton of K-12 resources on the website including high school lesson plans on such topics as ; Food, Water and Climate; and Green Building and Climate. Naturally my favorite is Equity and Climate.

We can have a positive impact on the environment ourselves. I'm bragging here. Our use of electricity for last month was down 30% from March of 2007. Washing clothes in cold water, using fluorescents, turning things off, wearing an extra layer of clothes actually made a difference. Now that I'm motivated and the snow is almost gone, I'm back to using the clothesline rather than the dryer.

We can all wish Tom, FairerScience's technical guru and my spouse, a Happy Birthday!