Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Trust me, I'm a science teacher

Am I going to teach the history of science?
Am I going to teach science as a seemingly static list of what we know today?
Am I going to teach science as a seemingly static list of what we know when the textbook was published?
Or am I going to teach the process of looking at the world with our God given senses (and yes, "God" is an incomprehensible word), looking for patterns, testing predictions, and expanding what we know?

If you do not "get" science, please step out of the way.
If you are not in awe of the universe, or humbled by its very possibility, please get off the stage.
If you think science can be learned from a monitor, please move over.
If you confuse technology with science, please get off the curriculum committee.

Science is not defined by school boards, governors, or even Presidents. It leads to where it leads--unpredictably but consistently.

I have two goals in class--to teach science, and to preserve a child's wonder. When they become contradictory, something is very wrong....

Ain't xkcd just grand?
And maybe I'm just too old, but "bitches" sounds misogynous....


Anonymous said...

xkcd link was great. The bbc has a test on probability that you might like

amanda said...

Randall Munroe (author of xkcd) spoke at Google a few years ago and actually discussed (among other things) the use of the word "bitches." In summary, many young people consider it a gender-neutral term these days.

Video here:

Kathryn J said...

Science is observing. There seems to be a big push to teach via simulation. Why would any child with a sense of wonder believe what they see on a monitor? A computer can be programmed to show anything - look at movies and games. Some chem topics can be visualized using those models but only after making observations that need explaining.

Loved the XKCD including the mouseover for that strip. I could go off on a whole other tangent about science news.

Sue VanHattum said...

Dang, two of my favorite sweet bloggers used 'bitch' in their posts this week. I stop using that word decades ago - too sexist to be useful to me.

doyle said...

Dear Katherine,

Beats me--until my kids learn how to see, I think computers should not be in their lives.

Not a popular opinion.

Dear Sue,

That word has been sitting heavily here--I've had long discussions with a couple of people, trying to grasp its meaning today.

It's a word I do not allow in my classroom--it's a hateful word, or so I thought.

I listened to much of the the Google talk by the xkcd guy, and I'm listening to you.

And you're right. So I'm replacing it.

Sue VanHattum said...

Much appreciated.