James Randi Educational Foundation
Educational Grant Recipients
In its continuing effort to provide needed assistance to teachers and other educators, The James Randi Educational Foundation is proud to offer grants for educators. These grants are intended to help offset the cost of developing or improving critical thinking and scientific skepticism programs in the classroom and beyond. The grants will be awarded to educators of grades K-12 and at the university level to help improve the education of their students, school and/or community in the methods of science and critical thinking through the examination of the paranormal and pseudoscience.
Dr. David J. Van Dyke - Clay Intermediate Center
Dr. Van Dyke held a two-week workshop during which he taught a group of 8th Graders about the difference between science and pseudoscience using examples of claims from skeptic history, such as “The Mars Effect” and “Orgone Energy”. The students in this year’s program recreated Emily Rosa’s “therapeutic touch” experiment, then chose a topic and designed their own double-blind study to test a claim. They presented their findings at a local science fair in a special category.
Brian Barnes - University of Louisville
Barnes led a series of student trips to the Waverly Hills Sanitarium in Louisville, KY. The defunct tuberculosis hospital has an international reputation for being haunted by several different manifestations. Barnes developed a critical thinking rubric for paranormal investigation using The Foundation for Critical Thinking’s framework. The JREF grant allowed him to conduct extensive on-site research and application of his rubric while leading teams of interested students, paranormal researchers, and skeptics of all types.
David Robinson - Wilson High School
Robinson brought new materials and equipment into his high school earth science classroom to expand his existing curriculum that scientifically examines the claims of astrology. This program had students critically analyzing astrology as a pathway to better understand the nature of science. He worked with iPad apps, video resources, and content from the JREF to examine the zodiac and related paranormal and pseudoscientific beliefs while exposing students to the true wonders of the real science behind the stars—Astronomy.
Alan Liepzig - Seminole Middle School
Leipzig's project, called Retaking the Stars, was part of his Starfleet Academy, an astrophysics/engineering class for 8th graders.
Students used the research materials purchased by this grant to systematically investigate the claims and history behind astrology and the science against it. At the same time, Leipzig used a variety of approaches to teach critical thinking concepts such as the Forer Effect, wishful thinking, confirmation bias, logical fallacies, and selective thinking.