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Author Topic: What would YOU include in the science curriculum if you had to draw one up?  (Read 2136 times)

Offline Samuel1988

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Morning all,

I was just curious to know if you were in charge of drawing up the science curriculum for schools, what would you put in?

Your suggestions may be related to what would get children hooked on science or what would be useful in this ever changing world we live in for example.  Or it may be related to another factor (please state as well).

Thanks for taking the time to get back to me & I look forward to reading your suggestions.

Samuel


 

Offline Don_1

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I think care of the environment is of great importance to Mankind as a whole, so I would like to see all school children, whatever they choose to study, attend a basic science course. As part of the curriculum for this, I would like to see children taught that we are a part of nature, not a separate entity on the outside, looking in.

But I would like it to be instruction, not indoctrination. In this way I would hope that children will formulate their own solutions to human activity problems, rather than follow lemming-like our current ideas, some of which seem to rob Peter to pay Paul or, contrary to what some would have us believe, have exactly the reverse effect to the desired.

Our planet's future is in the hands of children, shouldn't we prepare them for their responsibility?
 

Offline David Cooper

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Trying to teach values is generally counterproductive - the way it's "taught" invariably gets people's backs up by insulting their intelligence and wasting their time on things they already know. When teaching science it should be kept to a core of knowledge and capability which is of universal usefulness and not something which is all over the media day in day out already.
 

Offline cheryl j

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The problem with environmental science or ecology is that it's pretty hard to understand without some basic knowledge of the chemistry and biology and physics. Too often it becomes a dumbed down science course (we called it Rocks for Jocks.)

The biggest shift in science teaching that I've seen, and I'm not sure if it's good or bad, is a top down approach. What I mean is they start with a natural phenomenon and then explain the science behind it. When I was in high school, it was the opposite - bottom up. You learned the basic principles and it eventually (if you hung in there long enough) led to an understanding of why things in nature are the way they are. The benefit of the way I learned was it was a very solid, thorough foundation. The disadvantage was that it was long, arduous, often boring, and many of my classmates quickly lost interest, and stopped taking science courses as soon as they could. They just didn't see the point of learning all that stuff. It was like practicing the scales over and over for years before you ever got to play a song, or doing drills in sports and not ever getting in the game.

The advantage of the current top down approach is that it does hook kids (wow, this is cool!) and motivate them to keep going. But the disadvantage is that students seem to have big gaps in their fundamental knowledge because they constantly jumped around from topic to topic. Whatever is in the curriculum, teachers need to find a balance between core knowledge and its interesting ramifications, a little dessert with every meal.


« Last Edit: 29/03/2014 08:49:32 by cheryl j »
 

Offline alancalverd

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I'm a bit of a fundamentalist. I was introduced to vector addition and atomic structure at the age of 5, and the world has made sense ever since. But there was a fair bit of gee-whiz along the way. The advantage I had was that my teachers really understood what they were teaching and we didn't go in for excessive health and safety, learning objectives, and other modern stuff that makes practical science such a bore. No computer simulations (no computers!) or beautifully presented videos (though some scratchy film of atomic bombs was a lot cheaper than replicating the experiment) but lots of smelly, dirty hands-on stuff with engines, animals, test tubes and valve radios. The "hooks" were heat, noise, smells, and ending up with something that could fly, receive radio programs, or taste delicious.   

Ecology came towards the end of school biology, not as a faith or political policy but as a summation of the cycles and interdependencies we had learned.
 

Offline Pmb

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Morning all,

I was just curious to know if you were in charge of drawing up the science curriculum for schools, what would you put in?

Your suggestions may be related to what would get children hooked on science or what would be useful in this ever changing world we live in for example.  Or it may be related to another factor (please state as well).

Thanks for taking the time to get back to me & I look forward to reading your suggestions.

Samuel

I think there are various reasons to expose children to science in school. They include, but are not limited to

1) Most important - Learning about the world around us so that they are unlikely to be fooled into thinking all kinds of crazy ideas from what they see in nature.

2) Being exposed to a possible career path

3) Understanding how we came to be, why we're here and what might happen if we don't use caution using our environment.

4) Being an informed consumer and voter.

After recent experiences with ignorant Christians whose lack of knowledge of science lead them to accept many false claims stated in the Bible. I.e. people who are religious need to know how to take certain parts of their faith as fact or as a story meant to convey an important moral lesson. E.g. too many people take Genesis to be true to the letter and not merely a story meant to convey a moral lesson. Many Christians and Christian leaders now understand Genesis in this way while others don't even know how widely accepted this non-literal interpretation is. It's scary!
 

Offline cheryl j

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The advantage I had was that my teachers really understood what they were teaching...

I think that's really critical - to not only have an understanding, but to genuinely like it. Too often it seems like administrators think that the subject matter in secondary schools is so basic, that any one should be able to teach it - that the curriculum is idiot proof. They shuffle teachers around in order to accommodate scheduling needs or changing enrollment, so that one year they are teaching geography and the next year history or science. But teachers need to know more than what's in the text book because students always ask complicated and challenging questions, and they can spot a fraud in a second. It's hard to fake real passion for a subject or possess all of the weird little interesting factoids and background knowledge that someone who is genuinely interested in a subject will have.
 

Offline Europan Ocean

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The first cell and the two kingdoms, plant and animal, water, protein and cellulose, and osmosis.

Followed by digestion mainly of water and salt water and the health of villi.

I envision experiments with tubes of celluloid, full of water in water, with salt or paracetamol in the tube or only in the water...
 

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