U.S. CitiesCity-Data Forum Index
Covid-19 Information Page
Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Education
 [Register]
Please register to participate in our discussions with 2 million other members - it's free and quick! Some forums can only be seen by registered members. After you create your account, you'll be able to customize options and access all our 15,000 new posts/day with fewer ads.
View detailed profile (Advanced) or search
site with Google Custom Search

Search Forums  (Advanced)
Reply Start New Thread
 
Old 06-11-2020, 10:35 AM
 
8,211 posts, read 4,637,665 times
Reputation: 22210

Advertisements

Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Gringo View Post
Lower level science classes aren't going to produce scientists.

They're meant to teach an appreciation of science and some confidence in its ability to address problems. They'll also from a base for future scientists, engineers and researchers to build on in more specific courses at the upper undergrad and graduate levels.
First, let's talk about the school system. Of course they don't produce scientists. The problem is they also fail at producing an appreciation of science, but even more concerning, they discourage kids who might be scientists from pursuing it later on. By middle school a majority of kids think they can't do science. Or that math and science is too hard. Or that only the geeky kids study math and science. Or that girls and minorities can't be scientists.

Once they come out of middle school believing that they can't, then it only gets harder and worse in high school. So those kids never even attempt to become scientists and engineers in college.

Now, let's switch to college and distinguish between the future liberal arts graduates and the future STEM graduates. For the future liberal arts graduates, the lower division science courses aren't designed to make them scientists, but how many of them come in already hating science because of how they were taught in school? It's not something to expand their minds, but a chore to complete as quickly as possible. Net result is many college grads have no more appreciation for science or understanding than high school. They move into the work world; into business; into teaching where the cycle repeats.

Then there are those kids who do survive high school move into STEM degree programs. In their case those lower division courses are essential toward becoming future scientists and engineers. Often they aren't even the same courses as those taken by the non STEM majors. They might have the same course numbers, but the material taught is different. For example, the liberal arts majors might take General Physics 1 without calculus for a rudimentary understanding; the engineering majors take Physics 1 for Engineers with calculus and the Physics take Physics 1 for Physicists. My daughter discovered that her first semester when talking with her friends in engineering. They were in the same course number but different sections. All the engineers had the same text book. The section for physicists was a different text book and was taught completely differently.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message

 
Old 06-11-2020, 11:00 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
85,933 posts, read 79,124,938 times
Reputation: 88177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Gringo View Post
Lower level science classes aren't going to produce scientists.

They're meant to teach an appreciation of science and some confidence in its ability to address problems. They'll also from a base for future scientists, engineers and researchers to build on in more specific courses at the upper undergrad and graduate levels.
I think how science is introduced and taught in schools needs to change radically. In a few private schools or magnet schools, it has, but not in the mainstream, AFAIK.

I think kids need to be inspired to look at the world, at nature, at the weather, at biological systems including how their own bodies work (A & P), as fascinating systems that work by hidden rules they can learn about. What makes thunder and lightning? How does atmospheric science work? What types of environmental conditions nurture a wide diversity of species, and what happens when the environment changes, either through climate change, overgrazing/overcrowding, or other factors? What are the electrical qualities of the human body, and how does our body "make" electricity and why is it important to life? What does it do on the biological level?

There's magic out there (and inside of us) to be discovered and understood. There are still areas that scientists haven't explored, that inquisitive kids might devise tests for, or investigate in some way.

Science has to be viewed as a voyage of discovery, rather than as a burdensome task of memorizing formulas and trying to follow lab instructions. Let's turn kids on to science by taking them out to observe life, and get the excited about that, before tying them down to a lab seat, or making them solve chemistry problems.

There's a lot of potential to turn kids onto science, but I don't see it happening much.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-11-2020, 12:09 PM
 
Location: Texas
38,779 posts, read 21,627,146 times
Reputation: 24697
Quote:
Originally Posted by tnff View Post
First, let's talk about the school system. Of course they don't produce scientists. The problem is they also fail at producing an appreciation of science, but even more concerning, they discourage kids who might be scientists from pursuing it later on. By middle school a majority of kids think they can't do science. Or that math and science is too hard. Or that only the geeky kids study math and science. Or that girls and minorities can't be scientists.

Once they come out of middle school believing that they can't, then it only gets harder and worse in high school. So those kids never even attempt to become scientists and engineers in college.

Now, let's switch to college and distinguish between the future liberal arts graduates and the future STEM graduates. For the future liberal arts graduates, the lower division science courses aren't designed to make them scientists, but how many of them come in already hating science because of how they were taught in school? It's not something to expand their minds, but a chore to complete as quickly as possible. Net result is many college grads have no more appreciation for science or understanding than high school. They move into the work world; into business; into teaching where the cycle repeats.

Then there are those kids who do survive high school move into STEM degree programs. In their case those lower division courses are essential toward becoming future scientists and engineers. Often they aren't even the same courses as those taken by the non STEM majors. They might have the same course numbers, but the material taught is different. For example, the liberal arts majors might take General Physics 1 without calculus for a rudimentary understanding; the engineering majors take Physics 1 for Engineers with calculus and the Physics take Physics 1 for Physicists. My daughter discovered that her first semester when talking with her friends in engineering. They were in the same course number but different sections. All the engineers had the same text book. The section for physicists was a different text book and was taught completely differently.
Two things:

1) Yes, the school system needs reform. Teaching science and math at the elementary level needs a shot in the arm to make it engaging and relevant to the kids. I taught HS physics and chem. By the time my students got to HS, so many had gotten turned off on science and so many more had very poor math skills. I think lots of grade school teachers have science/math anxiety and it rubs off on the kids. My wife is a retired grade school teacher and she had a dose of that. Likewise many if not most of her colleagues.

Get the light of curiosity lit early for these youngsters and try to keep it going.

Have a science program at all levels that captures the excitement of understanding nature. Not the current model that's mostly about prepping kids for high stakes standardized tests. But that's a topic for a separate rant.

2) It's not at all unusual for a university to offer three levels of first year physics. The thrust of each course is better aimed at its audience that way.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-11-2020, 12:12 PM
 
Location: Texas
38,779 posts, read 21,627,146 times
Reputation: 24697
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
I think how science is introduced and taught in schools needs to change radically. In a few private schools or magnet schools, it has, but not in the mainstream, AFAIK.

I think kids need to be inspired to look at the world, at nature, at the weather, at biological systems including how their own bodies work (A & P), as fascinating systems that work by hidden rules they can learn about. What makes thunder and lightning? How does atmospheric science work? What types of environmental conditions nurture a wide diversity of species, and what happens when the environment changes, either through climate change, overgrazing/overcrowding, or other factors? What are the electrical qualities of the human body, and how does our body "make" electricity and why is it important to life? What does it do on the biological level?

There's magic out there (and inside of us) to be discovered and understood. There are still areas that scientists haven't explored, that inquisitive kids might devise tests for, or investigate in some way.

Science has to be viewed as a voyage of discovery, rather than as a burdensome task of memorizing formulas and trying to follow lab instructions. Let's turn kids on to science by taking them out to observe life, and get the excited about that, before tying them down to a lab seat, or making them solve chemistry problems.

There's a lot of potential to turn kids onto science, but I don't see it happening much.
You don't see it because the current approach in public schools is simply to process the maximum number of kids to pass simple multiple choice high stakes tests at the lowest possible cost.

High stakes standardized testing is the single greatest obstacle to good education in the USA.

Sadly, there isn't much support for altering that failed approach.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-11-2020, 12:37 PM
 
10,218 posts, read 10,558,073 times
Reputation: 9136
Quote:
Originally Posted by coldwynn View Post
If you look at most natural science (especially chemistry and physics) curricula in high schools and 1st- and 2nd-years in colleges, I think you will agree that you will find that students are being taught how to solve problems. In this sense they are being asked to apply already known knowledge to specific problem sets. This is deductive reasoning. We're teaching them to go from the general (the fundamental knowledge) to something specific (the problem to be analyzed).

However, science is not about being deductive. Science is inductive. The practicing scientist goes from the specific experiment or phenomenon and generalizes to some overarching theory. And yet, we are not training our students to be able to come up with their own ideas or have the kind of critical thinking necessary to be good scientists.

No doubt, the current crop of students may become good applied scientists or engineers, but if they become good scientists - it would be despite (not because of) the way we've taught them.

Worse, there is a growing body of evidence that shows that students who are taught to solve problems - and are successful at solving such problems, generally do not even understand the underlying concepts that were necessary to solve those problems in the first place. All they've done is learned to apply a protocol, an algorithm, a step-by-step process. They've memorized the way to solve a particular problem - that's not even really thinking.

This is an issue with many variables: textbooks that are written this way, standardized tests, how gradeschools prep for higher learning, current teachers who have been taught this way and therefore tend to teach this way, the socio-polical climate . . . but what's to be done???

Nothing.

Everything tough is like this. A budding musician with genius talent must gain some level of technical competency before any genius will show through. Similarly, say a chemist must learn to some level of competency through problem solving before s/he's able to tackle broad concepts.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-11-2020, 12:48 PM
 
8,643 posts, read 4,002,675 times
Reputation: 24365
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Gringo View Post

2) It's not at all unusual for a university to offer three levels of first year physics. The thrust of each course is better aimed at its audience that way.
Yeah, but there was a good reason why "Physics for Non Majors" is called "Physics for Poets".


Read "The Two Cultures" by C P Snow to understand why those of us with scientific and technical background are tired of being constantly bashed as antisocial Aspergers nerds wtih no appreciation of art, literature, music, psychology, etc., etc., etc. by people who can't balance their own checkbooks. I guarantee you that the appreciation of, and capability in, non-technical pursuits of the average engineer or scientist is orders of magnitude greater than the reverse.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-11-2020, 01:01 PM
 
Location: Texas
38,779 posts, read 21,627,146 times
Reputation: 24697
Quote:
Originally Posted by turf3 View Post
Yeah, but there was a good reason why "Physics for Non Majors" is called "Physics for Poets".
Oh, I'm fully aware of that. I taught 3 levels of physics in HS, including "Conceptual Physics" for the kids with math anxiety. It was a good course for its intended purpose.

Quote:
Read "The Two Cultures" by C P Snow to understand why those of us with scientific and technical background are tired of being constantly bashed as antisocial Aspergers nerds wtih no appreciation of art, literature, music, psychology, etc., etc., etc. by people who can't balance their own checkbooks. I guarantee you that the appreciation of, and capability in, non-technical pursuits of the average engineer or scientist is orders of magnitude greater than the reverse.
You'll get no argument from me.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-11-2020, 01:08 PM
 
8,211 posts, read 4,637,665 times
Reputation: 22210
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Gringo View Post
You don't see it because the current approach in public schools is simply to process the maximum number of kids to pass simple multiple choice high stakes tests at the lowest possible cost.

High stakes standardized testing is the single greatest obstacle to good education in the USA.

Sadly, there isn't much support for altering that failed approach.
I agree that high stakes testing is a major problem because fundamentally you can't "test" in quality. By the time you get to the test, the quality is already set by the process.

But we also have to remember that high stakes testing was a (albeit flawed) attempt to force change into an already broken process. So if we got rid of the testing, the issue of how to fix the broken process remains.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-11-2020, 01:11 PM
 
3,677 posts, read 1,500,430 times
Reputation: 8531
Probably the most important result of education is problem solving. The methodology of problem solving goes across all subjects. When a student has forgotten most of the facts they have learned, the ability to solve problems will remain. You can't teach most people to be a scientist. You are a scientist after you get your PhD and get a scientist job.
Quote:
Originally Posted by coldwynn View Post
If you look at most natural science (especially chemistry and physics) curricula in high schools and 1st- and 2nd-years in colleges, I think you will agree that you will find that students are being taught how to solve problems. In this sense they are being asked to apply already known knowledge to specific problem sets. This is deductive reasoning. We're teaching them to go from the general (the fundamental knowledge) to something specific (the problem to be analyzed).

However, science is not about being deductive. Science is inductive. The practicing scientist goes from the specific experiment or phenomenon and generalizes to some overarching theory. And yet, we are not training our students to be able to come up with their own ideas or have the kind of critical thinking necessary to be good scientists.

No doubt, the current crop of students may become good applied scientists or engineers, but if they become good scientists - it would be despite (not because of) the way we've taught them.

Worse, there is a growing body of evidence that shows that students who are taught to solve problems - and are successful at solving such problems, generally do not even understand the underlying concepts that were necessary to solve those problems in the first place. All they've done is learned to apply a protocol, an algorithm, a step-by-step process. They've memorized the way to solve a particular problem - that's not even really thinking.

This is an issue with many variables: textbooks that are written this way, standardized tests, how gradeschools prep for higher learning, current teachers who have been taught this way and therefore tend to teach this way, the socio-polical climate . . . but what's to be done???
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
 
Old 06-11-2020, 01:27 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
85,933 posts, read 79,124,938 times
Reputation: 88177
Quote:
Originally Posted by Old Gringo View Post
You don't see it because the current approach in public schools is simply to process the maximum number of kids to pass simple multiple choice high stakes tests at the lowest possible cost.

High stakes standardized testing is the single greatest obstacle to good education in the USA.

Sadly, there isn't much support for altering that failed approach.
I didn't see innovative approaches to teaching science before No Child Left Behind either, though. Except in alternative schools.
Rate this post positively Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Please register to post and access all features of our very popular forum. It is free and quick. Over $68,000 in prizes has already been given out to active posters on our forum. Additional giveaways are planned.

Detailed information about all U.S. cities, counties, and zip codes on our site: City-data.com.


Reply

Quick Reply
Message:


Over $104,000 in prizes was already given out to active posters on our forum and additional giveaways are planned!

Go Back   City-Data Forum > General Forums > Education
Similar Threads
Follow City-Data.com founder on our Forum or

All times are GMT -6.

© 2005-2020, Advameg, Inc. · Please obey Forum Rules · Terms of Use and Privacy Policy · Bug Bounty

City-Data.com - Contact Us - Archive 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, 35, 36, 37 - Top