Dr. Richard Konicek-Moran
Educator, Biologist, Author

questions often arise as to the origin of the everyday science mysteries that I write about. The answer is that they are most often derived from my everyday experiences. Science is all around us and as we go through our daily routines, they often allude us because as the old saying goes, “The hidden we seek, the obvious we ignore. I am fortunate to be surrounded by a rural natural environment. My daily routine is predictable. I arise, eat breakfast, and then walk with my wife through the woods for a mile or so in order to exercise ourselves and our Australian shepherd and dachshund. They act as wonderful models as they exhibit their awareness of every scent and sight that might have changed over the last 24 hours. Their noses are constantly sniffing the ground and the air in search of the variety of clues well beyond our limited senses. 
Dick in the Everglades

But as we walk, we look each day for our “miracle of the day.” It may be a murder of crows harassing a barred owl or a red-tailed hawk flying over our heads with a squirrel in its talons. It might be a pair of wood ducks looking for a tree with a hole big enough for a nest or a patch of spring trillium or trout lilies. In the late summer, it could be a clump of ghostly Indian pipe and a rattlesnake plantain orchid in bloom or a hummingbird hovering near a flower. Sounds from the road bring questions about how sound travels and as we arrive home, we see crab apples, the worms in the compost pile or the new greenhouse whose temperature fluctuations have plagued us all summer.

His area of research is children’s alternative conceptions in science and he has published papers in Phi Delta Kappan, Science Education, Science and Children and many other journals. Dick has published the Everyday Science Mysteries series, and is awaiting publication of a new book, Teaching for Conceptual Change, co-written with the Uncovering Student Ideas author, Page Keeley.

An interview with Dick about his views on (life and) education:

Whenever possible, my senses and mind are drawn to these questions and stimulate the I wonder section of my brain. I am intrigued by shadows, by the motion of the sun and moon during the daytime and the stars and planets at night. There are mysteries at every turn if we keep our minds and eyes open to them. I am even more amazed that so many years have passed without my noticing so many of the questions that surround me.

Writing these books has had a stimulating effect upon the way I look at the world. I thank my wife, a botanist, artist and gardener, for spiking my awareness of things that I glossed over for so many years. We can get so caught up in the glitz of newsworthy science that we are blind to the little things that crawl at our feet or sway in the branches over our heads, or move through the sky in predictable and fascinating ways each and every day.

One can wonder where the wonder went in our lives as we get caught up in the search for better and better test scores. The stories spring forth by themselves when I can remember to see the world through childlike eyes. Perhaps, therein lies the secret to seeing those everyday science mysteries.


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