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KAR120C

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About KAR120C

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  1. Had to track this down for you.... http://electroncafe.wordpress.com/2011/05/04/scientific-process-rage/ :) (warning - there's a bit of cussing in the link...)
  2. I'm not going to be terrifically organized here... apologies in advance! We've done tons (TONS) of science. Like crazy people. I generally hesitate to go on about it because I really can't make it sound accessible... it's not accessible. I'm not saying it can't be done - just that what we've done has been the science education for geeks who have gone off the deep end. ;) I don't think less of anyone who doesn't go this way, and unless your kid really is devoted, I would think you were nuts to do as much as we have. So I won't go on about that... lol Suffice it to say we've done a lot, but nothing that I thought wasn't worth our time. I've been very picky about curriculum, and textbooks have made up less than half of what we've actually accomplished. On labs, observation/exploration, experiments, demonstrations, etc. I think they all have their place -- observation is a first step before experimentation. Like the statistical fishing expedition, it can give you ideas, but they need to stand up to a well designed, controlled experiment. Demonstrations and re-enactments of previously established procedures and results are good for practice, and actually I don't have anything against the Mentos/Diet Coke stuff in the right setting (and not too often)... But those should be subject to the same discussion as the less entertaining labs. What do you know (or what can you find out) about Mentos and Diet Coke? What could you test to find out what quality of each of them is causing that particular interaction? For this part: I was really happy with Singapore science. There was a bit of that in elementary and middle school books, but a ton in high school, as "practical quizzes". Generally it was an open ended question with several mystery samples provided and free access to the lab materials (some specified, most not) - like "here are four marked vials with different contents. What order would they have come from a human digestive system? (meaning like mouth, stomach, small intestine, large intestine, or whatever) and how do you know?" It relied on knowing what was digested at what point and how to test for each of those things (starches, sugars, fats, proteins). It wasn't entirely independent, since it came at the end of a chapter on digestion and a series of labs with procedures provided, but for the practical quizzes there were no procedural instructions, and the student was expected to report all the relevant data appropriately and refer to it in the explanation. DS has done both science projects and engineering projects... For science projects he started with a question (decided on after lots of reading) and a hypothesis (also informed by that reading), designed an experiment to test that hypothesis, collected data, analyzed the data, and reported whether the hypothesis was correct or incorrect. Engineering projects have a lot of similarities to science projects, but they cycle. So he started with a goal (decided on after lots of reading about things that aren't working quite right) and an idea of what would work (like a hypothesis - he believes that x will meet the need), and then a procedure to build the model and test it, collect data, analyze, and judge whether it worked. Where they deviate from science projects is that when you've judged the results, unless the first model met all your goals you go on to make changes that you believe will improve the design, test them, collect the data, analyze, and judge... and cycle through again. Both versions require identifying and controlling variables, testing one thing at a time, and analyzing results, but the engineering project isn't done until the goal is met. On the question of when... I don't know that elementary vs. middle school vs. high school matters very much for science experiments specifically. I agree with whoever said that the attitude was the important part. It's hard to take a high schooler who has spent their life believing everything they hear, and get them to take doubts and questions seriously and think about what makes a well-designed experiment and what kind of data is reliable evidence of a conclusion. But that's skepticism more than experiment practice. DS has always had science questions, and we've always followed up on them with experiments... and I do think that our history in that regard has really fed his interest and ability, but again, we've gone way overboard. For a good solid science education, I think the skepticism and the interest are the key. Now... I do think there's a certain fluency you get from having done the steps over and over, but the ones that need fluency aren't necessarily the experiment part -- each experiment takes a different procedure anyway, so your mad skills with the flow meter in ecology aren't going to make much difference when your question requires soldering. But knowing how to do a solid literature review (finding good resources, reading critically, following up on questions) and how to narrow down a question to something that requires testing, how to use the literature to inform your hypothesis, how to identify and control variables and write a testable hypothesis, and how to write a procedure to test it... those I think take practice. But basically any field where you have to read critically, argue from evidence, analyze and conclude... all of that will make you a better scientist, even if you never looked in a microscope. Writing procedures is more science-y, but it could be done elsewhere. As I wrote somewhere else in this thread, being able to write a clear explanation of how to make a peanut butter sandwich is much the same skill. One thing I would add to all of this... I think scientific literacy is very much tied up in statistical literacy. Knowing how repetitions change your confidence intervals and knowing how many is "enough"... understanding bias and sample selections... thinking about what and how you're measuring and what it represents... knowing that an average is not always the best summary of a data set... Honestly I would make a statistics class mandatory for high school graduation, if it were up to me. Not just for kids who are going into the sciences, but anyone who needs to understand current events, advertisements, etc. Anyway - sorry to be long and rambly. I could go on for days and days but I think it would just serve to prove that I really am a little nuts, without helping anyone else. :lol:
  3. I would add, at all levels, some work on communicating instructions and observations. Long before the high school lab report, you can work on writing instructions - how to make a peanut butter sandwich, how to change the batteries in the TV remote, how to get to the library - and writing them with enough detail that someone could replicate your procedure without asking you any further questions. Toward middle school I'd start getting picky about accurate measurements and diagrams. Similarly, I'd want to work on communicating observations - and again with accurate measurements and diagrams at some point. The first stab a kid takes at writing either of these too often comes out as, "put sample under microscope and look at it" with results, "I saw the onion cells."
  4. Oklahoma State University Spanish Online is $389 per course. Weird that they're different, but they seem to be run separately.
  5. Thanks for the advice on testing in Canada! It was much appreciated.

     

    Lisa

  6. Glad you liked the SNC link! :) Now I'm going to have to check out the tenors.......

  7. Erica,

     

    Thanks for the link to Straight No Chaser. I'm listening to the preview of "Christmas Cheer" now on Amazon and I LOVE it. I love the variety of songs and the FUN of it.

     

    They remind me of The Three Mo' Tenors in this CD that I love too: amazon.com/Three-Mo-Tenors-Thomas-Young/dp/B00005LVVC/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&s=music&qid=1261574804&sr=8-2 You can also watch them on PBS Three Mo' Tenors from 2001. The newer Three Mo' Tenors are NOT these original singers and not as good.

     

    Blessings,

    Michelle

  8. Happy Thanksgiving!

    3066872626_d3284f8903.jpg?v=0

  9. Black Adder couldn't hold his beer.

    The art of boozing he's not mastered.

    And I, your merry balladeer,

    Am also well and truly plastered.

     

    Black Adder, Black Adder, a bit like Robin Hood.

    Black Adder, Black Adder, but nothing like as good.

    Black Ad-hic, Black Adder. I thought that he had died.

    Black Adder, Black Adder. Our writers must have lied.

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