Re: Topics for discussion-Science

From: Kye Ewing <>
Subject: Re: Topics for discussion-Science
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 1997 10:38:30 -0500

Stephanie and All;

You must be a really good teacher Stephanie! Sounds like you realize that
the most important things for children to learn tend to be the hardest to
quantify with a test. This is why so many home schoolers object to
nationally standardized testing. At first glance it sounds like a good
idea, but when the test content is composed it puts rigid barriers on what
needs to be taught that year! I also believe that most formal curricula
tries to cover too many different topics in a school year. It might look
good on paper to say that you have taught this nice long list of topics,
but when you only have so much time to do it in you end up with the
educational equivalent of the "30 second sound bite". 


At 07:41 PM 12/23/97 +0000, you wrote:
>Interesting topic on teaching of Science.  I am guilty of what you say as I
>am a science teacher myself in Montreal.  However, the education system
>does not allow you to be creative but linear and narrow minded.  I have a
>curriculum to cover and at the end there is a Provincial exam or a common
>exm set up by the school board.  So I have to aim for the exams . As a
>teacher we are judged by the number of students passing these EXAMS and not
>on the process or what the students have learned.  However, I try to make
>it as interesting as possible by including experiments that are related to
>what I am teaching.  
>Unless the students are very cooperative, as a teacher one could quickly
>cover the cutrriculum and move on to more interesting areas of science like
>what you said.  Let students learn what interests them and open them to the
>different fields of science.  Unfortunately th system is not set up that way.
>I have grade 10s who have no computer skills at all!!!!!  To summarize as a
>teacher I think we should help students in the process of learning and
>infromation gathering.  Rather than information giving note taking!
>Good topic for discussion! 
>>In elementary, science is usually read-out-from-the-textbook work.  From my
>>experience, it is not really stressed in the classroom, but I believe this
>>is where students should be exposed to all the components of science through
>>different activites.
>>Middle school science is quite different.  Lots of writing work is stressed.
>>Scientific method is taught over and over again, which is too much.  Once
>>the basic principle is learned, it is enough.  Notes that summarize the
>>text, I think, is better on many reasons:
>>1. Definitions can be put into one section for easy reference and studying.
>>2. It's hard to read 200 pages and remember all the details!!
>>3. Not all things in the text are important.
>>Microscopes are rarely (maybe twice in my schooling) used.  Telescopes?  Not
>>even once.  Middle school does use a lot of chemicals and apparatus.
>>Experiments are abundant, but try not to do too many, especially if the
>>outcome is obvious (wouldn't want to injure the student by doing too many
>>Graphs- yes, knowing what are the manipulated, responding, control, X and Y
>>variables.  Used occasionally.
>>What did you use for reqirements to get into Music at university?  Do you
>>think 10th grade piano is enough?
>>At 04:57  22/12/97 +0100, you wrote:
>>>I am interested in all three topics that you listed.  As a home school
>>>mother who has a bachelor's in music/English, and Masters in Ed (Music),
>>>I am new to teaching science.  Since that is one of my son's favorite
>>>subjects, and I can't find a tutor for him, I would like to get ideas
>>>for teaching science. (Grade 5/6, "higher level thinking")  What do the
>>>experts do? Technical writings?  How much graph work? How much in the
>>>line of "experiments"?  Does this age group generally have access to a
>>>high powered microscope?  telescope?  ideas for astonomy, palentology,
>>>aerodynamics?  I could use a lot of ideas.  (We do Science by Mail with
>>>a small science club, JASON--when they get their curriculum ready for
>>>this year, a 5th grade Silver-Burdett text, plus a lot of supplements.
>>>Have done AMES 1st project in grade 5-and-up book (last year).  He's not
>>>real crazy about the record keeping or writing.  Of course, I know
>>>that's important.  How much do you folks recommend in that department? 
>>>He does very well with whatever the task is.  L. Donahue
>"Of the many things in life I've lost, my mind is the one I miss the
>most."    -Ozzy
Kye Ewing, The Event Inventor

Explore the Universe with the Event Inventor!!!