Sunday, May 31, 2009

APA Style Guide

Sixty percent of a student's grade on the final draft of their Essay is based on whether or not it satisfies APA style guidelines. APA is the most common style used in college writing, so it is a very good idea that students get an opportunity to familiarize themselves with it now.

This will be given in class during Senior Finals (June 1st-3rd), but I've also made it available as a PDF file here.

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Evolution Essay:

My students have been given a 300-point assignment....which is a lot of points!

The assignment is to write a guided essay on one of four topics from a specific prompt, based upon original research and completed in an appropriate editorial style (APA) in terms of citations within the text and the bibliography (list of sources) at the end of the paper. Students were expected to submit photocopies or printouts of sources by Friday the 22nd, and a rough draft by Wednesday the 26th.

Now, Mr. Hatfield has received some first drafts, but not anywhere as many as he would like. These papers will be available on Monday the 1st, at which time students will have essentially a week to complete their final draft, which is due on the day of their scheduled final (June 8th-10th). To assist students, Mr. Hatfield will review APA style in class on June 1st-3rd. The APA style guide is also available online here as a PDF file.

Mr. Hatfield is concerned about those students who have not submitted sources to be approved, much less a first draft. It would be a very poor choice to not attempt a 300-point assignment right before the end of the course, and the point of submitting a rough draft in advance is to give the instructor time to review and offer suggestions to improve the paper and increase the chances of the student earning the highest possible grade.

Students, please take this assignment seriously! Parents, please encourage your students to give this their best effort!

Mr. Hatfield

Friday, May 22, 2009



Parents and Guardians:

Students have been assigned a 300-point project to write a guided essay from one of four topics (chosen by the student) relating to evolution. Students should have already chosen a topic and need to do research. As their instructor, I am expecting that students will bring in sources (books, magazines, photocopies, printouts from the Internet, etc.) to be approved.

I will be taking a grade to assess student progress in this area on Tuesday. Please encourage your student to begin researching their essay and to bring examples of sources to class. In particular, remind that Mr. Hatfield is TAKING A GRADE on their research!


Thursday, May 7, 2009


Here is the second part of 'Darwin's Dangerous Idea". As of Thursday's class, we had reached the segment (beginning at 2:54 on this video) in which an example of the evolution of a complex structure (the human eye) is considered.

This is followed by a consideration of the effect of his daughter's death on Darwin's views of religion. Obviously, many people in North America remain highly skeptical of evolution based upon their particular understanding of their religious tradition. As your instructor, I think it is important to provide this context to help you understand how it shaped Darwin's views on evolution. I want to caution everyone, however, that we are forming no judgements on any particular idea held on faith. Darwin himself advised caution on the question as to whether or not his views led inexorably to any particular conclusion where religion is concerned.

For example, Darwin once wrote:

"With respect to the theological view of the question; this is always painful to me. I am bewildered.....I see no necessity in the belief that the eye was expressly designed. On the other hand I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe & especially the nature of man, & to conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton. Let each man hope and believe what he can."

(letter to Asa Gray, May 26, 1860)

Saturday, May 2, 2009


With the state tests behind us, our Biology classes can now go back to doing the sort of things we did before testing schedules.

On Monday, May 4th, students will receive their first syllabus in more than a month. It will list many of the assessments that we have already attempted, including homework assignments (RA's) for extra credit. Because so many students have been in and out of school during the last three weeks, anything shown on the syllabus is still fair game and will be accepted through May 14th. We want to give all students a reasonable opportunity to catch up.

To further assist, I am embedding a low-res version of a two-hour episode from PBS's 'Evolution' series. We will eventually see all of this, but many students were not in class on Thursday and Friday due to makeups. We essentially covered the first 33 minutes of the video, and will take up in class with the segment that begins with Charles Darwin and Emma Wedgwood engaged in archery.