Stories matter. Words matter.
The more I "teach" science, the more time I spend on language. If you cannot grasp the essence of a story, you cannot grasp science.
Our stories belie comprehension. If you introduce the Big Bang model into your classroom, describing it as an explosion, using a model that looks at it from the outside, you are not practicing science, you are practicing religion. You've missed the whole point.
It is pointless, truly pointless, to wrestle with pseudo-cosmology. Yet New Jersey wants just that:
"Critique evidence for the theory that the universe evolved as it expanded from a single point 13.7 billion years ago."
The Big Bang model works well to explain why things appear the way they are in cosmology, but--and this is a big but (a gluteus maximus?)--the universe is not expanding within a larger space. Most folks who think they get the Big Bang (including many teachers) do not grasp this. I doubt the committee that drew up Jersey's standards grasps this, either--if they do, they bolloxed the language.
Children will take down the notes, fill in the bubbles, and know nothing.
Meanwhile Jupiter shines brightly over their heads in the early evening, and over and over and over again, the students flat out refuse to believe that it's Jupiter, until they look through the scope we set up outside the school on Telescope Nights.
Every child in every class plants a seed. Today I am picking through last fall's basil, squeezing out tiny black seeds from dead flower heads. The sweet earthy aroma stirs my limbus, defying words.
Next week I will start a flat of basil in the classroom--tiny black specks will grow into ridiculously bright green leaves whose aroma will stir memories.
You won't find the word "basil" in the standards. Nor "seedling" or "fertilizer", or "wheat" or "bread." No mud or ooze or rot or urine. The only time "death" is used is to define the end of a star.
The science standards are crisp and clean, and I'm being churlish, true. But there's more to be learned from the tiny basil seed than from the religiosity of a badly presented cosmology.
So we will continue to sow in B362.