If you can read this, either the style sheet didn't load or you have an older browser that doesn't support style sheets. Try clearing your browser cache and refreshing the page.

(Orange County Register)   Most US students fail at science, don't understand that if they aren't part of the solution....they are part of the precipitate   (ocregister.com) divider line 107
    More: Fail, National Assessment of Educational Progress, urban district, Advanced Placement, progress reports, cypress, biological systems, cell biology, No Child Left Behind  
•       •       •

2964 clicks; posted to Main » on 11 May 2012 at 9:53 AM (2 years ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



107 Comments   (+0 »)
   
View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest

Archived thread

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all
 
2012-05-11 11:08:18 AM  
The state ranked 47th, only above Mississippi, Alabama and the District of Columbia, in a tie with Hawaii. But many local educators call into question the significance of the results, saying that the small sample size and other factors can skew the results.
About 120,000 U.S. students were tested in the exams administered last school year, including about 14,000 of California's 470,000 eighth-graders. Scores were not broken down beyond the state level. In Orange County, fewer than 100 students typically take the test each year.
"The sample sizes for these tests are generally somewhat small to make any real sense out of them," county Superintendent William Habermehl said. "Also, most of these students tested in California come from large urban districts, so it's not always an accurate representation."


A related study on California superintendents showed that they are ranked 51st out of all US states in comprehension of statistics and sampling errors.
 
2012-05-11 11:15:31 AM  
The article left me in suspension.
 
2012-05-11 11:19:40 AM  
Disclaimer: I have taught science. A lot of kids in high school find science irrelevant to their lives and it's sad. We live at a time when almost all the old mysteries are essentially solved. We know what makes grass green and the sky blue, we know how dogs and cats give birth to animals that look very much like dogs and cats, we know why earthquakes happen, we know why recessions happen. The list goes on.

Most kids won't grow up to become scientists, but I think the understanding of science is essential and students don't need to fail at that.
 
2012-05-11 11:19:55 AM  

dervish16108: Students don't achieve significant proficiency in science during high school. Once they're in university, they're subjected to 800 student classes, and teacher's assistants who are jet fresh from science rich countries and aren't proficient in English.


It DID force me to actually do the reading for my classes. If I didn't know the days project cold before I walked into a lab section, I knew I was boned.
 
2012-05-11 11:21:19 AM  

This text is now purple: Physics makes a ton more intuitive sense if you've already taken calculus. Without calculus, it's hard to memorize the formula because their physical significance makes no sense.


There's a reason why Newton invented calculus in the first place ...
 
2012-05-11 11:22:58 AM  

This text is now purple: Brew78: I chortled at the headline.

I was never that great at the parts of science that required lots of math, because it was never really taught in a way that had any... I guess frame of reference to the real world. Like, ok, calculate this formula that will crunch one number into another number. They never followed it up with "You may need to calculate this if you wanted to accomplish so and so of a task in real life because yadda yadda so and so."

Outside of the bits of math and science that managed to stick, pretty much all of my knowledge of physics has effectively been on-the-job training. A lot of that is calculating energy densities or differentiating between peak energy and total power of a pulse. Stuff like "area under the curve" never had any meaning until there was a context in which to visualize it.

Physics makes a ton more intuitive sense if you've already taken calculus. Without calculus, it's hard to memorize the formula because their physical significance makes no sense.


That's the thing though - Calculus never made sense (to me) because they never explained how the math might apply to any kind of real world situation or application. Its just memorization of one number being crunched into another number, which evaporates the moment the class is over (assuming it was ever fully memorized in the first place)..
 
2012-05-11 11:23:06 AM  

Tyrosine: Yes, you do.


having two to's, to and too, is pointless. I'm part of the one to society.

don't repress my people.
 
2012-05-11 11:33:46 AM  
It is unbelievably frustrating to be a science teacher, and I'm in a state that usually does well enough in testing, etc. When they walk into my classroom, my students don't have anything near the ability and understanding that they are capable of. You can point the finger at a lot of different groups: parents, for not starting these kids on science understanding WAY earlier; elementary teachers, who themselves have very little understanding of science, and then do little to help educate students about science; and communities/society which, especially lately, has been unwilling to accept fundamental scientific statements because they don't understand or it goes against what they were taught...the list goes on and on. I'm not saying high school teachers are blameless, here, but a lot of the damage was done much earlier.

We can use all kinds of gimmicks to get students engaged in what is happening in the classroom, but unless we change the perspective on science and education throughout our society, many who have a spark of interest in science lose it because they get teased, demeaned or told they are wrong. And since they didn't have to learn much science in school, they feel their kids don't have to, either. Sad thing is, as long as places like India, China and South Korea keep cranking out doctors and researchers, we'll probably keep dumbing down our science curriculum because OUR kids don't NEED it.

Great, now I've depressed myself.
 
2012-05-11 11:35:02 AM  
Top 10 Rank | State | % Proficient or Advanced
...........1 | Massachusetts | 44
...........1 | Montana | 44
...........1 | North Dakota | 44


Bahahaha, suck on that, Minnesota.
 
2012-05-11 11:40:45 AM  

bsteiny: You can point the finger at a lot of different groups: parents, for not starting these kids on science understanding WAY earlier; elementary teachers, who themselves have very little understanding of science, and then do little to help educate students about science; and communities/society which, especially lately, has been unwilling to accept fundamental scientific statements because they don't understand or it goes against what they were taught...the list goes on and on.



The No Child Left Behind Act is the reason. Schools don't teach science because their funding does not depend on science ability.
 
2012-05-11 11:42:19 AM  

lennavan: The No Child Left Behind Act is the reason. Schools don't teach science because their funding does not depend on science ability.


The problem was very apparent long before NCLB

/you sound young
 
2012-05-11 11:46:04 AM  

Voiceofreason01: lennavan: The No Child Left Behind Act is the reason. Schools don't teach science because their funding does not depend on science ability.

The problem was very apparent long before NCLB

/you sound young


It is true though that high school graduation now requires proficiency in testing for English and Math. Don't test out of those, and you don't graduate. You do have to pass certain amounts of science too, but not test a proficiency level. Not that testing like that proves anything other than the teachers can teach to the test, not teach the actual subject.
 
2012-05-11 11:54:47 AM  

Voiceofreason01: lennavan: The No Child Left Behind Act is the reason. Schools don't teach science because their funding does not depend on science ability.

The problem was very apparent long before NCLB

/you sound young


And yet whatever the problem before was is irrelevant. Science is just flat out not taught through 5th grade because of NCLB.
 
2012-05-11 11:55:58 AM  
Zion21
Probably failed at science because of all the shiat teachers they are hiring to fill these positions. There is more to the problem. rewardslink.info

I tutored a lot back in Ottawa (I know, different country, but there are parallels). I saw a crapton of bright students who were struggling because their teacher couldn't explain their way out of a wet paper bag. These were not lazy kids - they were intelligent and motivated, but they were trying to learn from a half-assed Powerpoint lecture. (Granted, I never saw the students of the good teachers).

The worst part it was that those lazy incompetents had jobs and I didn't.

I keep telling people I'm going to be the next Bill Nye, but there's no support there either - CBC's being cut back (and Quirks and Quarks isn't hiring), CTV and Global only care about the bottom line and all the niche channels that would otherwise carry nerdy shows are nowing devoted to aliens and swamp loggers.

/it is to weep
//What has less energy, steak or hamburger?
///Hamburger, because it's in the ground state
 
2012-05-11 11:59:11 AM  

lennavan: And yet whatever the problem before was is irrelevant. Science is just flat out not taught through 5th grade because of NCLB.


really? Because here I thought that each State set it's own curriculum and exactly how subjects are taught (at least in my State) is up to the individual school district.

/doesn't remember learning much in the way of science in 5th grade anyway and that was before NCLB.
//I agree that NCLB is not a good system but it's a symptom, not the underlying problem
 
2012-05-11 12:01:59 PM  

lennavan: And yet whatever the problem before was is irrelevant.


It does if it's still the same problem.
 
2012-05-11 12:06:34 PM  

Voiceofreason01: lennavan: And yet whatever the problem before was is irrelevant. Science is just flat out not taught through 5th grade because of NCLB.

really? Because here I thought that each State set it's own curriculum and exactly how subjects are taught (at least in my State) is up to the individual school district.



If the state wants federal funding, it will comply with the feds rules. The states want federal funding.

Voiceofreason01: //I agree that NCLB is not a good system but it's a symptom, not the underlying problem



NCLB is the main problem. When you remove NCLB you might discover new problems but if you were to solve all of those other problems magically, nothing would change. You could hire the best teachers and develop the best curriculum and get lots of involvement from parents whatnot and it just won't matter because the classes are just not taught, the schools just don't make time. You're telling me the car has lots of problems and runs like shiat and I'm telling you it has no wheels so who cares how it runs it's not gonna go anywhere.
 
2012-05-11 12:17:41 PM  

Bondith:

//What has less energy, steak or hamburger?
///Hamburger, because it's in the ground state


haha, good joke. fun thought experiment though. obviously hamburger is more uniform, thus it has higher entropy. makes it reasonable that it would have less energy. common sense check: which one is easier to chew? hamburger, q.e.d.

i think it is better to "think globally, act locally" when it comes to science education. ya, we all want to be a mythbuster, mr. wizard, bill nye, beakman, etc. but what we can do is spread that love of science the best we can, even if it isn't being broadcast on the ole teevee.

bonus link: gases can be heavier than air and suppport bouyancy?
Link
 
2012-05-11 12:25:06 PM  
divgradcurl
i think it is better to "think globally, act locally" when it comes to science education. ya, we all want to be a mythbuster, mr. wizard, bill nye, beakman, etc. but what we can do is spread that love of science the best we can, even if it isn't being broadcast on the ole teevee.

Yeah, I volunteered with an organisation called Let's Talk Science back in Ottawa, and I have plans afoot to make YouTube videos "soon".

I actually emailed Quirks and Quarks about breaking into science broadcasting, and the executive producer was nice enough to take the time to respond. His three suggestions were 1) more school, 2) more school and 3) just put stuff on the Internet.
 
2012-05-11 12:40:02 PM  

DrewCurtisJr: FTA: "Also, most of these students tested in California come from large urban districts, so it's not always an accurate representation."

And....?


The best part is the mention, immediately after this comment, of some students from Orange County taking his exam. Orange County is NOT urban.
 
2012-05-11 12:43:37 PM  
Screw science, we have the worlds best teen athletes! And in the end that will be how the little kids of today will dominate on the world stage.

/Olympics in 15-20 years FTW -- USA USA USA USA
 
2012-05-11 12:50:06 PM  

Delay: A lot of kids in high school find science irrelevant to their lives and it's sad. We live at a time when almost all the old mysteries are essentially solved.


In a sense. I use science all the time and it's not like I work in a lab or have one at home.

In formation sports (football, soccer), leverage and pursuit angles are basically vectors. Proper tackling form involves torque, momentum (linear and angular) and some basic calculus concepts. College D-coordinators are paid six-figure salaries to teach 20-year-olds concepts that they could've learned in high school. Science would literally make these kids more valuable recruits, but they refuse to learn science because they're surrounded by adults who say it's not necessary.

Adults who think science is useless also complain about their utility bills. They water native plants during the day because they don't understand evaporation and outright deny evolution. They run the A/C full blast because they don't understand convection. I save a ton of money using very basic scientific concepts to optimize my home heating on the fly -- no special equipment or tons of DIY projects.

These aren't mysteries, and you'd think it'd be easy to sell these incentives. . . sigh.
 
2012-05-11 12:59:36 PM  

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc:

There are marked differences in how districts choose to appropriate funds. Some of them make really stupid decisions (prioritize sports over textbooks/teachers, for instance). Science teachers are often harder to find, but schools don't have the budget to pay them more (or aren't allowed to do so by unions).


Schools (and parents) do have some say as to how money is spent. Of course, if the parents give some of their own money, they have even more influence...

Our kid will be attending an LAUSD charter school this fall. It's a neighborhood school situated in a wealthy neighborhood (we live on the periphery of this neighborhood). The parent group at the school is incredibly dedicated to making sure the school is great. Even though this is Los Angeles, this school is primarily (> 90%) white and wealthy...no students are bused in. It's like a private school, except cheaper (though not free).

Each year, the parent group raises a couple hundred thousand dollars a year to keep the science and art programs going, and to pay the salaries of teachers that LAUSD would otherwise lay-off, which keeps classroom sizes small, etc.

The science program is quite strong, something that's important to us. But it's only strong because parents are willing to pay extra $$, even though it's a "public" school.

\During the first week of school, they ask all the parents for a $1,000/child "donation"
\\Most parents give the $1,000 and many parents voluntarily donate far more than that
\\\$1,000 is still cheaper than even a month of private school tuition, so it's worth it
 
2012-05-11 01:03:36 PM  

This text is now purple:

Physics makes a ton more intuitive sense if you've already taken calculus. Without calculus, it's hard to memorize the formula because their physical significance makes no sense.


Very true. Of course, most of us in physics never bothered to memorize any formulae, something the pre-meds and bio majors we deal with have a hard time understanding.

Deriving the relevant formulae from physical principles (as well as incorporating some dimensional analysis) is far more reliable and intuition-building than memorizing equations.
 
2012-05-11 01:04:15 PM  

dragonchild: Adults who think science is useless also complain about their utility bills. They water native plants during the day because they don't understand evaporation and outright deny evolution. They run the A/C full blast because they don't understand convection. I save a ton of money using very basic scientific concepts to optimize my home heating on the fly -- no special equipment or tons of DIY projects.


I really like your post, so I hate to be a nag but it's missing a key component - experimentation. The concept might give you the idea, but alternatively you could gather it through experimentation. You could water the plants during the day for one month and during the evening for another month and compare water bills. Or for one summer and compare to the next summer and compare water bills and the general health of the grass/plants.

dragonchild: Proper tackling form involves torque, momentum (linear and angular) and some basic calculus concepts. College D-coordinators are paid six-figure salaries to teach 20-year-olds concepts that they could've learned in high school.


And again an opportunity for experimentation. College D-coordinators could try one method of teaching concepts on season and a different method of teaching concepts the next season and compare tackling percentages and so on. On this example and the previous one, actual scientific thought would have to go into it, how will you control the experiment to ensure you are drawing decent conclusions and so on? So while I agree with you on the concepts bit, what I see even more severely lacking in the population is correct scientific experimentation/process.
 
2012-05-11 01:14:28 PM  

lennavan: NCLB is the main problem.


NCLB is only 10 years old. NCLB was passed(or at least publicly promoted) explicitly as a response to falling US test scores in science and math.
 
2012-05-11 01:40:33 PM  
Pet peeve of mine. A great many of the science education programs in this country completely ignore the central point of science - that is, the frame of mind required to do science; namely, critical thinking.

American society is too stuck on the idea that education = job training, when in reality education is learning how to think. It is critical for a democracy that the citizenry have the ability to make rational decisions, especially when it comes to running the country and electing politicians.

Were it up to me, I would make two major changes to our education system:

1. Mandate a rigorous critical thinking program in the K-12 program (of course tailored to the various age groups appropriately), to be administered by qualified instructors. If you can't pass, you don't graduate. While this would probably lower graduation rate, the quality of graduates would likely increase dramatically. It would be my guess that the overall electorate would be more well educated, which would "trickle up" through electoral politics and otherwise positively impact society as a whole.

2. Equalize education funding across the board by eliminating the property tax system that causes schools in rich areas to be much better than those in poor areas. In the long term this would give all students a much more equal playing field, and make big steps toward solving the problem of poverty and its relevant costs to society.

Sadly, i have high doubts that either of these ideas will ever be implemented here. We seem to be going in the opposite direction.
 
2012-05-11 01:58:30 PM  

lennavan: I really like your post, so I hate to be a nag but it's missing a key component - experimentation.


I'm talking about incentives to learn science; understanding the concepts is a payoff. Experimentation is definitely a part of the process, but if you're going to insist a household shiat money for a month just to have them go through a process, well, don't be surprised if your pitch to get people interested in science falls flat.
 
2012-05-11 02:17:53 PM  

natazha: Sad how many people in the USA that consider themselves Fundamentalist Christians place the teachings of the Catholic Church above the Bible.


It may have something to do with the bible not making sense. It's riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies.
 
2012-05-11 02:18:15 PM  

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc: hasty ambush: Amazing how Utah which ranks near the bottom in education spending per student managed to place near the top in testing. Waiting for posts about how we need to spend more money on education while we already spend more than any other country in the world.


Combined Federal, State and local spending FY2012

Government Pensions $1.0 trillion

Government Health Care + $1.1 trillion

Government Education + $0.9 trillion

National Defense + $0.9 trillion

Government Welfare + $0.6 trillion

All Other Spending + $1.7 trillion

Total Government Spending $6.3 trillion

This is somewhat misleading, the funding for education includes many different things. The idea that spending less wouldn't hurt, or that more wouldn't help isn't quite supported. There's disparity in relative spending aside from the apparent differences in places like Utah, as well as differences in local SES, cost of living, and so on.

Education spending isn't just general K-12 teacher pay and football uniforms. There's large chunks of spending that go out for things like Pell grants, IDEA (support for disabled kids, etc.), NCLB (Learning disabilities), school lunches, and so on.

There are marked differences in how districts choose to appropriate funds. Some of them make really stupid decisions (prioritize sports over textbooks/teachers, for instance). Science teachers are often harder to find, but schools don't have the budget to pay them more (or aren't allowed to do so by unions).

On the other hand, if you compare us to Finland, you can see a case where spending priorities are very different. Their education system is typically rated the best in the world. Education from birth through vocational/professional degrees is all free to any citizen. Continuing adult education is also free. Teaching jobs are highly prized and competitive, require a master's degree, and pay extremely well. Private schools don't really exist.


Your contention still supports what I say. It is not much we spend but how we spend it. Utah spends about half what Washington DC spends per student yet gets much better results.

But even on international level money does not to always make the difference (BTW our teachers are not underpaid):

OECD Education

"OECD countries now spend an average of USD 7,343 per student per year between primary and tertiary education, but this masks a broad range of expenditure across countries. Switzerland and the U.S. spend the most, with average annual outlays per student of more than USD 11,000. At the other end of the scale, Mexico and the Slovak Republic spend around USD 2,000 per student per year. The drivers of expenditure per student vary across countries: among the five countries with the highest expenditure per student, Switzerland and the United States are two of the countries with the highest teachers' salaries at secondary level of education whereas Austria, Denmark and Norway are among the countries with the lowest student to teaching staff ratio."

"Spending is not necessarily a guarantee of higher quality in terms of education, though: Australia, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Finland, Japan, Korea, the Netherlands and New Zealand all have moderate expenditure on education per student at the primary and lower secondary levels but are among the countries where 15-year-olds perform strongest in key subject areas."
 
2012-05-11 02:22:56 PM  
DECANT THE SUPERNATANT FLUID MOTHERFARKERS


/or the insalubrious
 
2012-05-11 02:23:01 PM  

Brew78: This text is now purple: Brew78: I chortled at the headline.

I was never that great at the parts of science that required lots of math, because it was never really taught in a way that had any... I guess frame of reference to the real world. Like, ok, calculate this formula that will crunch one number into another number. They never followed it up with "You may need to calculate this if you wanted to accomplish so and so of a task in real life because yadda yadda so and so."

Outside of the bits of math and science that managed to stick, pretty much all of my knowledge of physics has effectively been on-the-job training. A lot of that is calculating energy densities or differentiating between peak energy and total power of a pulse. Stuff like "area under the curve" never had any meaning until there was a context in which to visualize it.

Physics makes a ton more intuitive sense if you've already taken calculus. Without calculus, it's hard to memorize the formula because their physical significance makes no sense.

That's the thing though - Calculus never made sense (to me) because they never explained how the math might apply to any kind of real world situation or application. Its just memorization of one number being crunched into another number, which evaporates the moment the class is over (assuming it was ever fully memorized in the first place)..


Your teachers failed you.
 
2012-05-11 02:36:12 PM  

dragonchild: I'm talking about incentives to learn science; understanding the concepts is a payoff. Experimentation is definitely a part of the process, but if you're going to insist a household shiat money for a month just to have them go through a process, well, don't be surprised if your pitch to get people interested in science falls flat.


I think you've got a pretty shiat idea of what science actually is. Sit around in a class room and memorize principles of science and just blindly accept them as fact ? Thinking like yours is why I farking hated science in High School. Don't be surprised if yours is the one that falls flat.
 
2012-05-11 02:53:06 PM  
You can use science to teach math, logical reasoning, and language skills. Science doesn't have be thrown out with the bath water.

Fundamental to science is mathematics, if the science is done correctly. Heck, even data collection, something a 5 year old can do, involves a little math. It we focused on doing science correctly---researching (which involves reading), hypothesizing (which involves reasoning and writing), building experiments or making observations (which involves spatial skills, reasoning, math, and data collection), and comparing observational/experimental results with hypotheses (which again involves math and logical reasoning)---we could kill a lot of birds with one stone. A good science education is a good math education, and can be a good language and reasoning education as well.
 
2012-05-11 02:53:50 PM  

Brew78: That's the thing though - Calculus never made sense (to me) because they never explained how the math might apply to any kind of real world situation or application. Its just memorization of one number being crunched into another number, which evaporates the moment the class is over (assuming it was ever fully memorized in the first place)..


I'll never forget the moment I understood what a derivative was -- I was walking to class listening to a walkman (I'm old) and there was a gentle snow falling; All of a sudden it wasn't a "process" of crunching numbers, it just clicked and I "got" it at a deeper level. A similar thing happened later with integrals, though much faster as I had the grasp of a derivative in hand.

It is a difficult thing to teach, everyone learns a bit differently, but I think teachers need to strive to teach to the deeper understanding rather than just teaching the "turn this crank and out comes the answer" they often do.
 
2012-05-11 03:08:40 PM  
sharpie_69

It is a difficult thing to teach, everyone learns a bit differently, but I think teachers need to strive to teach to the deeper understanding rather than just teaching the "turn this crank and out comes the answer" they often do.


So much this. I always tried to get the underlying principals across when I was tutoring. I don't actually think I can teach "turn this crank and out comes the answer", at least regarding chemistry. When I tried Math 11 (I can't teach Math 12 - the course has changed too much since I took it), I had to fall back on crank-turning a little bit because I didn't have the same grasp of it that I do chemistry. That, I think, is a huge part of the problem in high schools - teachers are trying to teach something they themselves don't understand, and the people who do understand science sure as hell don't want to teach high school (I don't, and my old high school teachers agree with me).

I've had figures quoted at me that go something like this: while there's a huge glut of teachers trying to get into the school system, their specialities are all in English or PE or basket-weaving or something. If you want to get a permanent gig with the ink still wet on your B.Ed, be a science teacher, because nobody else wants to do it.

/it's also a little weird to hear your old teacher describe students as "little shiats"
 
2012-05-11 03:18:09 PM  

Trayal: Were it up to me, I would make two major changes to our education system:
[...]
2. Equalize education funding across the board by eliminating the property tax system that causes schools in rich areas to be much better than those in poor areas. In the long term this would give all students a much more equal playing field, and make big steps toward solving the problem of poverty and its relevant costs to society.
[...]
Sadly, i have high doubts that either of these ideas will ever be implemented here. We seem to be going in the opposite direction.


Assuming you kept total funding the same, that would bring poor schools up to the national average, but rich schools down to the national average, to incredible parental outrage. And really, if you were in their shoes, could you blame them? It's easy to have a national system that starts out with uniform funding, but when "equalizing" an unequal system involves cutting funding to many of the best schools, it's a political nonstarter.
 
2012-05-11 03:21:13 PM  

hasty ambush: Amazing how Utah which ranks near the bottom in education spending per student managed to place near the top in testing.


I suspect:

1) Utah has a lot of parental involvement in their kids' education

2) The predominant religion in Utah is not committed to a 6,000 year old Earth, humans and dinosaurs co-existing, etc.

The same could be said for Massachusetts, which is ranked number 1. I have no explanation for Montana and North Dakota.
 
2012-05-11 03:21:18 PM  

Bondith: That, I think, is a huge part of the problem in high schools - teachers are trying to teach something they themselves don't understand, and the people who do understand science sure as hell don't want to teach high school (I don't, and my old high school teachers agree with me).


Still, there are some actual scientists involved in pedagogy and curriculum development ... I'd have thought they'd have figured out some better ways of communicating the underlying principles to the teachers so they can convey them to the students.
 
2012-05-11 03:22:43 PM  

Ambitwistor: Assuming you kept total funding the same, that would bring poor schools up to the national average, but rich schools down to the national average, to incredible parental outrage.


And even if implemented, the richer parents would probably find ways to donate "supplemental" funding to their kids' schools, thus making them unequal again.
 
2012-05-11 03:26:44 PM  

Brew78: I chortled at the headline.

I was never that great at the parts of science that required lots of math, because it was never really taught in a way that had any... I guess frame of reference to the real world. Like, ok, calculate this formula that will crunch one number into another number. They never followed it up with "You may need to calculate this if you wanted to accomplish so and so of a task in real life because yadda yadda so and so."

Outside of the bits of math and science that managed to stick, pretty much all of my knowledge of physics has effectively been on-the-job training. A lot of that is calculating energy densities or differentiating between peak energy and total power of a pulse. Stuff like "area under the curve" never had any meaning until there was a context in which to visualize it.


What's your job?
 
2012-05-11 03:40:07 PM  

lennavan: dragonchild: I'm talking about incentives to learn science; understanding the concepts is a payoff. Experimentation is definitely a part of the process, but if you're going to insist a household shiat money for a month just to have them go through a process, well, don't be surprised if your pitch to get people interested in science falls flat.

I think you've got a pretty shiat idea of what science actually is. Sit around in a class room and memorize principles of science and just blindly accept them as fact ? Thinking like yours is why I farking hated science in High School. Don't be surprised if yours is the one that falls flat.


Having taught science at the post-secondary level (genetics / molecular biology) I agree that hands-on learning is a necessity, not a luxury. That being said, delivering an engaging laboratory series to support most science courses does not need to be particularly costly, especially at the elementary and high school levels.

In many cases the schools, parents, school associations put tight restrictions on the type of experiments that can be done by students (or even demonstrated to them) that have nothing to do with money. In high school we made thermite, added sodium and lithium to water, built and tested model rockets, dissected cats, tested blood types, measured the effect of caffeine and alcohol intake on blood pressure and heart rate, etc. and ALL these things are no longer permitted at schools in my area.

I showed a photo similar to this to a bunch of high school students once:

click4biology.info

The photo I showed was colour enhanced and was at a higher magnification. Several parents complained because they felt it was "obscene" and "sexually suggestive". What is it you ask? The primordial meristem of a plant.
 
2012-05-11 03:43:32 PM  

Ambitwistor: Assuming you kept total funding the same, that would bring poor schools up to the national average, but rich schools down to the national average, to incredible parental outrage. And really, if you were in their shoes, could you blame them? It's easy to have a national system that starts out with uniform funding, but when "equalizing" an unequal system involves cutting funding to many of the best schools, it's a political nonstarter.


I didn't say that total funding needs to be the same, i just meant it needs to be equal across the board rather than being, essentially, based on class. Whatever that total is, it needs to high enough to get the job done effectively (this assumes the funds are being used effectively rather than just throwing money around indiscriminately). I am guessing an overall increase would probably be a good thing, especially considering education nets a return economically.
 
2012-05-11 03:59:53 PM  
Ambitwistor
Still, there are some actual scientists involved in pedagogy and curriculum development ... I'd have thought they'd have figured out some better ways of communicating the underlying principles to the teachers so they can convey them to the students.

If they haven't, I'd guess it would be due to crap like this:
Link
 
2012-05-11 04:04:27 PM  

Tyrosine: What is it you ask?


I didn't ask, I actually knew. I was wondering what on earth it was going to have to do with your post. I feel like a dork now. Thanks.

Tyrosine: I agree that hands-on learning is a necessity, not a luxury.


It's not just hands-on learning, it's the learning and using the scientific method.

Tyrosine: delivering an engaging laboratory series to support most science courses does not need to be particularly costly, especially at the elementary and high school levels... ALL these things are no longer permitted at schools in my area.


You just gotta be friends with the right people. It's not permitted at the high schools but the Colleges and Universities for the most part don't give a fark. I used to teach gas chromatography to groups of high school students with a simple lab experiment to determine the ethanol content of various alcoholic beverages.
 
2012-05-11 04:12:32 PM  
I always liked science and still do. The problem I had was with it being taught to me. Until about the 6th grade it was almost treated as an after thought. Then it advanced more. Science did help me understand math better. When I could see and use the real world applications of the math it just sort of clicked in my brain. If I just looked at an equation I would get lost, but if I saw how it applied to building a bridge or something thats when I would understand. My brain is weird.
 
2012-05-11 04:12:40 PM  

Bondith: Ambitwistor
Still, there are some actual scientists involved in pedagogy and curriculum development ... I'd have thought they'd have figured out some better ways of communicating the underlying principles to the teachers so they can convey them to the students.

If they haven't, I'd guess it would be due to crap like this:
Link



*reads link*

Yeah, that sounds about right.
 
2012-05-11 04:18:08 PM  

Trayal: I didn't say that total funding needs to be the same, i just meant it needs to be equal across the board rather than being, essentially, based on class.


Unless you're going to bring that funding up to the level of the best-funded existing schools, there is still going to be outrage about crippling our "best" schools. And, without seeing the distribution of school funding, I suspect it would cost a lot of money to do that nationwide.
 
2012-05-11 04:21:45 PM  

Bondith: Ambitwistor
Still, there are some actual scientists involved in pedagogy and curriculum development ... I'd have thought they'd have figured out some better ways of communicating the underlying principles to the teachers so they can convey them to the students.

If they haven't, I'd guess it would be due to crap like this:


I don't think it's a textbook issue, I think it's a teacher curriculum issue.

Interestingly, I was involved in an effort to teach conceptual physics to elementary education teachers. I think we had some success, but the students were really underprepared. So, I guess I agree with the earlier comment that science teachers don't know enough science, and I'm not sure whether I was part of the problem as a scientist by failing to adequately educate them, or whether they were already too far behind for one class to fix.
 
2012-05-11 04:41:23 PM  

Wayne 985: Brew78: I chortled at the headline.

I was never that great at the parts of science that required lots of math, because it was never really taught in a way that had any... I guess frame of reference to the real world. Like, ok, calculate this formula that will crunch one number into another number. They never followed it up with "You may need to calculate this if you wanted to accomplish so and so of a task in real life because yadda yadda so and so."

Outside of the bits of math and science that managed to stick, pretty much all of my knowledge of physics has effectively been on-the-job training. A lot of that is calculating energy densities or differentiating between peak energy and total power of a pulse. Stuff like "area under the curve" never had any meaning until there was a context in which to visualize it.

What's your job?


I use lasers to put really precise and generally very small features (marks, holes, cuts, etc) into whatever the customer wants. Or sometimes its cutting things out, like from a sheet of a thin film.

Some materials are more sensitive than others, and sometimes there's only a really narrow window of parameters that will accomplish the goal, whether it be a clean cut with sharp edges or modifying one layer without affecting another.
 
Displayed 50 of 107 comments

First | « | 1 | 2 | 3 | » | Last | Show all

View Voting Results: Smartest and Funniest


This thread is archived, and closed to new comments.

Continue Farking
Submit a Link »






Report