American Educator: Winter 2007-2008

  • The Deep Seafloor: A Desert Devoid of Life?

    Craig M. Young

    Once thought to be a flat and lifeless desert, the deep seafloor is now known to have more topographical relief than the Himalayas and a diversity of animal life that may exceed that of the Amazon Rain Forest and the Great Barrier Reef combined. If all of the dry land on Earth were pushed into...

  • Conjuring Cut Scores

  • The Exploration of the Deep

    Cindy Lee Van Dover

    In the first century A.D., Roman naturalist and historian Pliny the Elder believed that already the sea was understood, that the definitive list of marine fauna was complete—totaling 176 species—and that, "by Hercules, in the ocean ... nothing exists which is unknown for us." Sailors of his time...

  • Gas Promotes Mass: Methane Seeps

    Lisa Levin

    Imagine a Jacuzzi with jets set on low, or your soft drink after a good shaking. Now pretend those bubbles are filled with methane rather than air or carbon dioxide. There you have the scene at some of the strangest, and most recently discovered, ecosystems on the seafloor: methane seeps. Here,...

  • Notebook

    One of Our Own

    Hats off to a reader who notified American Educator that former counselor and union member Thelma Mothershed Wair was one of the Little Rock Nine. The Fall 2007 issue of American Educator included a story commemorating the 50th anniversary of integration at Central High School...

  • 4,000 Meters Below

    New Research Reveals the Wonders of the Deep

    Love at first sight is how journalist and filmmaker Claire Nouvian describes her first glimpse of the exotic creatures of the deep sea, "some with surprising shapes or baffling colors, others that spat out threatening flashes of blue light, and others still that undulated with infinite grace...

  • A Child's Delight

    These Little-Known Books Are Sure to Enchant Your Students Noel Perrin

    Unlike adults, children have no easy access to literary guides. What they read is usually random. If lucky, they'll be given a few of the classics of children's literature as birthday and Christmas presents. They may bump up against a few others in school. A handful they may see transformed into...

  • Living Lights in the Sea

    Edith Widder 

    The deep sea is often described as "a world of eternal darkness." That is a lie. While it is true that sunlight does not penetrate below 1,000 meters, that does not mean that it is a lightless world down there. In fact, there are lots of lights—billions and billions of them. These are animal...

  • Navigating the Age of Exploration

    And Restoring Our Capacity for Astonishment Ted Widmer

    The end of 2007 seems a worthy time to reappraise the Age of Exploration, and not merely because a season of anniversaries is upon us. Of course, Jamestown's 400th was widely publicized, thanks to a number of new books and exhibitions and regal visits from President Bush and Queen Elizabeth. But...

  • The Proficiency Illusion

  • Ask the Cognitive Scientist: Should Learning Be Its Own Reward?

    Daniel T. Willingham

    Question: In recent months, there's been a big uproar about students being paid to take standardized tests—and being paid even more if they do well. Can cognitive science shed any light on this debate? Is it harmful to students to reward them like this? What about more...