Saturday, July 2, 2011

science education and novelty

Is science education a matter of teaching scientific history or following a recipe book or an encouragement to attempt to learn new things?

I taught a one month course in evolution and another in ecology for high-level ESL students and my classes were mostly a review of modern ideas and their history so of the three options I offered above, my classes fit only the first.  And yet it felt to me like a proper science class.  No student appeared surprised by my teaching techniques or asked for ways to test my claims experimentally.
To be clear, I am not blaming my students for any lack of interest implied by my description.
How can we teach students about how to do science?  Boingboing has  recent article on one of their favorite subjects, Makers.
PBS on Makers Faire

Not really related: I enjoyed hearing about how a design firm challenged themselves to make 30 different coffee cups in 30 days.

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