This went on for several minutes. One student was repulsed (as I was), another fascinated. The worm paled as the leeches feasted.
Had I done it during class, I'm sure I would have had complaints, for good reasons. There may be better reasons, though, for showing it.
Most of us without septic tanks have no idea where our shit goes. Most of us without wells have no idea where how our water gets to our taps. Most of us who eat meat have never slaughtered for food.
|Claws of death|
Getting a high school diploma in New Jersey requires successful completion of a year of biology. Seems a fair question to wonder why.
Here are the reasons I think kids should learn some biology:
- The Earth has limits. An economy dependent on growth will ultimately collapse.
- Our favorite food fish off our coast carry warnings. "(C)hildren, pregnant women, nursing mothers and women of childbearing age" should not eat ANY striped bass, bluefish, or eel.
- All living things eventually die, including us.
- The complexity of the natural world exceeds our ability to control it. As Wes Jackson noted, "we ought to "stay out of the nuclei" (both the cell and the atomic kinds) until we're wise enough to ahndle that kind of power, and we'll never be wise enough. (Hubris is not limited to Greek tragedies.)
- What we shove off into the environment matters--there's a reason breast cancer rates skyrocketed in the states since the last world war.
I've yet to produce a scientifically literate student--it takes years for that, and even most college graduates do not come close to the goal, but I will keep trying anyway.
Because it matters....