RE: Topics for discussion-Science

From: P Yager <>
Subject: RE: Topics for discussion-Science
Date: Thu, 1 Jan 1998 16:51:24 +1100

Stephanie Wong on Sunday, December 28, 1997 wrote:

> - Too much writing makes things boring, therefore causing loss of =
> by the students.
> - Too much activities slows things down a lot.

But what is the purpose of the writing?  Do you think students actually =
understand better what they write or read in a text, without activities? =
 Have they really *learned* it or can they simply regurgitate the =
necessary scripts for a test,  without real understanding?  These =
questions have occupied a lot of my thought in recent months.  Craig, I =
like your ideas.  I would be interested in the thoughts of the list.

>I think activities (projects) tend to benefit the lower-marked =

I think activities (projects) benefit all students, by understanding =
through doing, adding interest, and applying what is learned.  We all =
seem to focus on marks at the expense of the learning outcomes.

>This helps to boost up their mark.  It tends to hurt higher-marked =
>because it is hard to get a high mark in a project.  Tests, on the =
>hand, are simple to get high marks as long as you know the material.  =
>testing knowledge is better with tests.

What we are actually saying here is that what is measured in a test is =
more valuable then what is measured by a project.  Is this what we =
really believe?  By "higher-marked students" you seem to mean those who =
score high marks in a test, and that they are somehow better; that the =
students who score high on projects should not do better overall than =
those who score high on tests.

On the other hand, do we have to use marks from a project for grading =
the students?  Can the project be the teaching/learning strategy we use =
to convey knowledge/understanding of material which will later be =
assessed by a pen and paper test?

I don't wish to sound critical of your comments Stephanie, but I do mean =
to challenge our conventional way of doing things.  I am trying to work =
out how we stimulate greater interest in science amongst our students.  =
This interest is reported to be declining, in many/all education =
systems.  We need to examine the way we do things to turn this around. =
Any thoughts from the list?