Saturday, June 11, 2016

NGSS will not produce a nation of scientists

US Navy judging science fair contestants (public domain)

If you want a child to learn science (as opposed to engineering or technology or the catechism we pretend is science), it will require (for most) a quasi-religious conversion--a search for truth beyond what one knows, or thinks she knows.

Such a child should be taught not to tolerate the conventions that keep her glued to her seat, asking permission to leave the room to pee.

Such a child should be taught not to tolerate statements without evidence, even the obvious ones. How do we know the Earth turns? How do we know the season are related to the Earth's tilt? How do we know atoms exit?

Fastfission via WIkipedia, 

We praise children for drawing the Rutherford model of the atom, a model long ago replaced. We praise them for making oobleck, for making batteries out of lemons, for making elephant toothpaste.

God help the child that truly challenges her second grade teacher on how we know the sun does not "rise"--we ask children to deny their own reality in order for them to succeed in a classroom culture thrust upon them.

Not every child is destined to be a scientist (thank Zeus), but we should encourage every child to think independently, to support claims with evidence, and to have the courage to call bullshit when appropriate.

The Next Generation Science Standards, while not awful, have a misplaced urgency for producing workers as opposed to scientists. A career as a scientist (as opposed to an engineer or a technician) ain't for the weak.

NGSS folk: To say we need to understand science to use technology is a baldfaced lie.

No comments: