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Old 06-28-2020, 08:57 PM
 
Location: midwest
1,452 posts, read 1,116,622 times
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Science fiction made science more interesting than any science courses before college.
Star Wars is not SF. (Science fantasy is a tolerable description)
Waiting until kids get to college to influence the way they think is likely a lost cause. Interview scientists and see how many read SF at an early age. I started at 9 and decided on engineering before grade school graduation and went to college for electrical engineering after winning a National Merit Scholarship.

This is real SF:
A Fall of Moondust (1961) by Arthur C. Clarke
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_Fall_of_Moondust

http://www.tor.com/2010/09/29/a-futu...l-of-moondust/
https://www.tor.com/2018/10/25/scien...thur-c-clarke/
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Old 06-29-2020, 06:56 AM
 
8,211 posts, read 4,637,665 times
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Reading science fiction was actively discouraged when I was in school. The textbook collections we were forced to read, starting in grade school, were mostly collections of the most uninteresting, poorly written, and disconnected stores you could think of. I'm not talking about things that could be considered great literature either; just bad stories. We didn't read 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea or Moby Dick, not even in children's slimmed down versions. I was reading Andromeda Strain in elementary when our school textbooks were a couple steps below Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys.

Oh, and one of the biggest memories I have from our science textbooks was one pointing out the "absurdity" of science fiction. I remember one quote specifically about ray guns: "Ray Guns can never happen. There is no place in the spectrum, nor is there any gap in our knowledge, where a Ray Gun could fit." Especially telling is that sentence in italics. Meanwhile I was reading articles about lasers and their applications. Didn't give me a lot of confidence in textbooks.
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Old 08-02-2020, 12:09 AM
 
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This issue isn't limited to just the sciences, but pretty much how school is generally approached. As many of you guys already know, our educational system contains some, if not a lot of, elements of the industrial revolution, where students are usually expected to simply digest and regurgitate any disjointed facts in a very conveyor belt fashion, leaving very little room and, especially, time to even think of any other ways to explore the provided topic.

Not only does this prevent the possibility of increasing their understanding of the subject, but it also halts any creative exploration of any topic on hand; this is the part where schooling gets hard; the "fun" part is removed. The "fun" to explore, to question, to wonder; they're removed, since students are also expected to absorb a lot of other information from other subjects.

Students are usually overloaded; I experienced this first hand, since I graduated as a computer engineer and came from a preparatory high school. You also hear it from many students and probably your peers. And having an overloaded academic schedule is most often perceived as being a "good" thing, since this shows commitment to their education, when it usually means that they're burning themselves out and that they're damaging their minds in the long term; continued prolonged stress has a whole list of adverse effects on a person's mental, physical, and mental health. However despite this, there seems to be not much other choice, since a lot of people also know that life after college is highly competitive, so much so that students sometimes feel that it's the end of the world if they don't get their ideal grades.

But long story short, this issue is deeply ingrained in our society and permeates in our public institutions, with our school being one of them. Shifting the overall mindset and approach of how students are taught to fundamentally learn into a process that promotes critical thinking, adequate time to process new information, while at the same time encourage the joy of learning, would require significant restructuring of our society as a whole.

NOTE*: If you want hard proof, compare how education is carried out in South Korea, Norway, and Finland. Finland has been lauded as having the top schools in the world, but their approach is completely opposite of ours; they emphasize equity and implementing research-backed approaches. These concepts are important to them, because Finland has largely been an agrarian country; they were the underdogs in Europe and they wanted to industrialize in the right way, since they also didn't have much resource back then. South Korea and Norway, on the other hand, pretty much has the same approach as ours. They're both largely industrialized countries and didn't have to struggle as much as Finland did, since they already had a lot of resources to begin with; the room for error is sufficient enough that they simply need to do the same thing, but in a bigger scale. If you're interested on how these countries are progressing from an education standpoint you can refer to Finnish Lessons by Pasi Sahlberg
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Old 08-03-2020, 06:30 PM
 
479 posts, read 95,080 times
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I found that a problem of interesting students in science and math begins at the early education level. The early ed and primary school teachers generally are not well grounded in the maths and sciences. Many did not like those subjects whilst they were going to school and probably did not undertake to study those subjects at university.

A teacher of maths or sciences at the high school level generally majors in those subjects at university, with complementary courses in education and psychology to qualify as a teacher. Teachers at the lower grades however, needed almost no math or science courses.
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Old 08-04-2020, 09:01 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
85,933 posts, read 79,124,938 times
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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???
I thought, that by starting science education in grade school with basic concepts, then gradually building through middle school to HS biology and other sciences, at least some students acquire a natural curiosity about how the world works from a scientific perspective, and develop a habit of making observations and asking questions on their own. That's not likely to happen if you teach nothing until HS, then throw them into required biology & chemistry classes. But don't schools these days start teaching science in grade school?

A friend of mine spent a year in England when she was in grade school, and said they teach simple concepts like how levers and pulleys work, which is basic physics, is it not? What kind of science do American public schools teach? Or was grade school science dropped, when No Child Left Behind was instituted, and the focus became mainly math and reading?
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Old 08-05-2020, 11:08 AM
 
16,688 posts, read 19,267,530 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ruth4Truth View Post
I thought, that by starting science education in grade school with basic concepts, then gradually building through middle school to HS biology and other sciences, at least some students acquire a natural curiosity about how the world works from a scientific perspective, and develop a habit of making observations and asking questions on their own. That's not likely to happen if you teach nothing until HS, then throw them into required biology & chemistry classes. But don't schools these days start teaching science in grade school?

A friend of mine spent a year in England when she was in grade school, and said they teach simple concepts like how levers and pulleys work, which is basic physics, is it not? What kind of science do American public schools teach? Or was grade school science dropped, when No Child Left Behind was instituted, and the focus became mainly math and reading?
Grade school science actually became better with the new standards that were written.

https://hechingerreport.org/will-new...nce-education/

My grandchildren had a *science lab* once a week in their k-4 schools and a science class starting in 5th grade and going thru 8th grade.

In their ISD, students are tested in science

Curriculum
Our ISD provides quality science curriculum that connects science to everyday life, supports and encourages science experiences in natural environments and addresses students' individual needs. The instruction strives to balance lab experiences, data analysis, communication of conclusions and development of scientific vocabulary. Pearland ISD's science curriculum is aligned to the state-mandated curriculum found in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Science.

How well the science curriculum is implemented will depend on the school and teacher, but my grandchildren had a good grounding. My granddaughter will be majoring in Biology or some other science in college. Her brother who is autistic likes Math and science as well.

Texas Education Agency - 19 TAC Chapter 112
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Old 08-05-2020, 11:34 AM
 
Location: Sun City West, Arizona
31,040 posts, read 13,155,589 times
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Back when I was still teaching science, I learned a good lesson one day. Teaching 9th grade earth science I was always frustrated that I had to go back and teach the metric system each year. I kept thinking why don't those @#%& elementary teachers teach the metric system...which was part of their curriculum.

So I made an appointment to go down to the middle school and have a nice conversation with the 8th grade teachers about that. I even took a half day of my own leave to do so. The elementary principal knew I was coming, but not for what purpose. I got into the first class and they were doing a basic science lab that involved a lot of measuring using the metric system. Same in another class, too. The kids seemed relatively competent in the metric system. Why did I seemingly have to start from scratch each year?

What is it that happens in June, July, and August to well taught curriculum? I've never figured that out.
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Old 08-05-2020, 11:38 AM
 
Location: State of Transition
85,933 posts, read 79,124,938 times
Reputation: 88177
Quote:
Originally Posted by nana053 View Post
Grade school science actually became better with the new standards that were written.

https://hechingerreport.org/will-new...nce-education/

My grandchildren had a *science lab* once a week in their k-4 schools and a science class starting in 5th grade and going thru 8th grade.

In their ISD, students are tested in science

Curriculum
Our ISD provides quality science curriculum that connects science to everyday life, supports and encourages science experiences in natural environments and addresses students' individual needs. The instruction strives to balance lab experiences, data analysis, communication of conclusions and development of scientific vocabulary. Pearland ISD's science curriculum is aligned to the state-mandated curriculum found in the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills for Science.

How well the science curriculum is implemented will depend on the school and teacher, but my grandchildren had a good grounding. My granddaughter will be majoring in Biology or some other science in college. Her brother who is autistic likes Math and science as well.

Texas Education Agency - 19 TAC Chapter 112
Thank you! So it sounds like your school district is, in fact, succeeding in getting students to "think science", as the OP says. My impression is that your school district isn't alone. I wonder where the OP got his impressions, that schools weren't teaching in this way. Maybe it depends in part on which individual students one is observing; maybe some just don't develop that natural curiosity the science curriculum is designed to foster...?
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Old 08-05-2020, 12:17 PM
 
2,990 posts, read 924,212 times
Reputation: 4026
This science topic is good but the underlying topic in education is to have the students feel good about themselves and others.
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Old 08-05-2020, 01:56 PM
 
8,643 posts, read 4,002,675 times
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Teach them how to fix stuff. Not just "put that there, now turn this", but "how do we figure out what's gone wrong? what do you think has gone wrong? how can we see if that's it or not?" and so on.
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