This is too much science for one post--
I'll get around to splitting it up but wanted to toss it out there now since we only have 3 weeks to comment on the proposed standards.
Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
I've started plowing through the Next Generation Science Standards draft.
We, the public, have all of three weeks to comment on a document so confusing it comes with an article and a video on how to read the document.
When you get to the document, you get 87 pages of color-coded (at least 9 shades at my count and I'm color-blind) jargon with DRAFT splashed across each page.
You don't have to get too far, though, to find subtly major problems, the kind that condemn elementary school kids to a lifetime of ignorance.
Chemical reactions produce new substances; physical changes do not.
Most of my time as a science teacher is spent helping children unlearn. Turns out unlearning takes a lot more practice than learning.
Sponges are animals, too.
And they don't "move around."
My sophomores think "animal" means something warm, fuzzy, and mobile. So do a lot of their teachers.
Humans (and other animals) can, in fact, release energy from glucose without oxygen.
We cannot meet all our energy needs this way, of course, but plants, animals, and bacteria all share an ancient pathway called glycolysis ("splitting sugar") as the first step in extracting energy from organic compounds.
If you're going to mention that breaking down sugars produces carbon dioxide, why not mention the water part as well? Make this stuff real for a child. A child can grasp the idea of water. A teacher can show her that water "comes out of" fires. (Flash a propane torch against a cool sink faucet--you will get a flush of condensation.)
Instinct is not the only thoughtless response to stimuli.
If you touch a hot stove, you'll pull your arm back before you're even aware that it's hot. That's a reflex, not an instinct.
This is a trivial point, I suppose, but we shouldn't tolerate sloppiness in a document that purports to be the woo woo of wisdom.
Please stop feeding the children the idea that energy means movement.
I suppose this may be tossing a bone to Vygosky's zone of proximal development--kids can "see" where the energy goes--but we're fueling the idea that energy means movement. I thought Sir Isaac took care of all that a few generations ago.
(Also, anaerobic respiration does not follow a different chemical pathway--it follows a shorter one. Aerobic respiration is preceded by glycolysis. We're more connected to bacteria than we know....)
The one gene, one protein model is dead, and has been, for a long time.
We have fewer than 25,000 genes, we have over 100,000 proteins--do the math.
(The authors caged their language here with "chiefly"--so this isn't so much wrong as misleading.)
Food molecules do not react with oxygen--electrons stripped from food molecules do.
Oxygen is not "captured"--it diffuses in with about as much sophistication as a fart traveling across a room.
The carbon dioxide we breathe out gets stripped off the food we consume long before the remaining electrons are picked up by oxygen to form water. Again, I trust that the authors knew their biology, but simplified it for the standards. Language matters.
If you do manage to find the time to peruse the document, reserve a good chunk of that time to make your comments--
The survey competes with the document for clunkiness.