Reports of the National Center for Science Education

Evolution Education Award for Steve Randak

We are pleased to report that the recipient of the first annual National Association of Biology Teachers (NABT) Evolution Education Award is NCSE member Steve Randak, author of "The Children's Crusade for Creationism" (RNCSE 2001 Jan-Apr; 21 [1-2]: 27-8) and a voice for teaching evolution featured in the PBS series Evolution. Applicants were screened by a panel of judges looking for innovative and effective teaching, professional sharing, and community education efforts to promote accurate understanding of biological evolution.The award is generously sponsored by The Foundation for the Future of Bellevue, Washington, and includes a $1000 cash prize, up to $1000 for travel expenses to the NABT national convention, and a complimentary membership to NABT.

Randak has been teaching since 1967. In those years, he has distinguished himself in all the aspects used as criteria for the award. He has designed a highly successful curriculum, beginning with 4 weeks on the nature of science and deeply infused with evolution. He has created and adapted numerous classroom lessons and activities that effectively teach those topics. Some of those lessons became a part of the ENSI (Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes) project, and are included in the ENSI web site. He actively participated in the second year of ENSI summer workshops, then became an active Lead Teacher, teaching the program in 7 Satellite ENSIs (SENSIs), reaching perhaps 150-200 teachers directly. He continues to create new lessons; his most popular recent contribution is "Footsteps in Time: Analyzing the Laetoli Trackways".

In addition, he has presented popular evolution workshops at many NABT and NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) conventions over the past 20 years. He has published articles in various journals relating to evolution teaching. One of his most notable innovations was his "historic role-playing": preparing, dressing, and presenting himself to his classes as prominent scientists from the past, including the role of Charles Darwin. He shared his passion and his techniques in an article for The American Biology Teacher. These efforts have garnered international interest.

In spite of his efforts (or perhaps because of his effectiveness), he and his colleagues were confronted with a mass student and community effort to include creationism in the district biology courses. A report on this confrontation, and how well it was handled, was included in the landmark WGBH/PBS series Evolution.

Congratulations to Steve from all of us at NCSE.

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