Joined: Feb. 2006
|Quote (Peter Henderson @ July 18 2010,15:27)|
|I keep hearing the phrase "critical thinking" from YECs (often from those with no science qualifications whatsoever) but what is it ?|
I'm not sure this answers your question, but let me describe how science can taught, even at high school level but certainly in undergrad:
Once the students have gained a little experience and content, their hands on exercises can be open-ended inquiry. For example (obviously some disciplines are better adapted for this than others) a biology class can learn basic field techniques to do a local stream study or diversity survey. If the classes do this yearly, they can accumulate data that can be analyzed for statistical value, produce studies that the next year's students can expand on, or show changes or variation in a population. The methodology (collecting, sampling, journal writing, classifying, researching in books and on the web about habitat, etc) is what field scientists do.
Now, of course, this takes time. Time that right now is devoted to preparing for exams, like gateway, AP, etc. These are mostly content exams, and the content is dictated. Teachers must have the time to take students outside and teach them how to do science. Schools saddled with NCLB test score requirements won't. Schools with limited facilities, insufficient equipment and supplies, oversized or unruly classes and teachers teaching outside their area of expertise to fill gaps won't.
Other examples can be described in physics, chemistry, etc. where students design experiments (with guidance, of course) choose methods, select equipment that can perform the task to the precision desired, define and control variables, predict outcome, assemble class information and run statistics on it, etc. They can suggest sources of error that are common to all groups, or suggest how one group might have gotten a result that was different than the others. That is science.
I know it's possible because my school does it, even at middle school level. But we have all the advantages and none of the problems that most schools have. Kids enjoy science because they do it, not just learn about it.
The amazing thing is there are teachers that pull it off in a few public schools, in spite of all the disadvantages I listed. Some do amazing things with environmental science, even in big cities. These innovative teachers scrounge for funds, involve local science groups and businesses, and generate lots of excitement.