Sunday, July 4, 2010

Why Study Science?

This is a question asked by my students. They are asking for a reason to justify the effort they put in, and in some students' case it is a great deal of effort. Here is one thought - 'cause Jurrasic Park didn't quite get it right.

Ever notice the colors of the dinosaurs in the movie Jurrasic Park? Why would dinosaurs all be the same or very similar colours? Many animals in nature in the same environment do not? Furthermore close examination of the velociraptors in the movie have smooth grey skin. Fossil records now show that velociraptors and possibly juvenile t-rex's had feathers.


So - how did we get the impression that dinosaurs were grey in the first place? Elephants are grey, elephants are big. Dinosaurs are big (not all) = dinosaurs are grey?

So - if we got this wrong, and only a decade or so ago we thought dinosaurs were grey - what else has changed? While this may not change your day to day life (a dollar is still a dollar, your fav tv shows still come on at their usual time) but something you just accepted to be true is now proven to be - not so much true.

If this is so, what else should be re-examined? What will we learn tomorrow? How will this affect my kids?

Remedial Science 9 - 2010

It's that time again. I leave my regular classroom to teach summer school. I will once again be teaching Science 9. Here is what I have learned from the past two years:

1.) I always lose about 10-15%

2.) There is almost always a 100% correlation between the kids who drop out or fail and the kids who do not do the first homework assignment!

3.) Kids who talk during instruction are not actually bored - they are cracking under the pressure. They might think they are bored, but when the going gets tough, they mentally shut down, bail out, and look for the escape hatch. By socializing.

I think I will alert my students to watch out for these signs, and to see what they make of it!