Thursday, October 3, 2013

Science Education

We're talking science this week and today I want to discuss science education.  I already talked about why you probably don't like science but I think another problem is how science is taught.  Actually, I think one problem is how a lot of things are taught, but that's a whole 'nother issue.

The way science is taught in public schools (and probably most private schools) is almost guaranteed to make you less interested in science.  Instead of exploring the wonders of the world and the universe through science, they make you memorize useless stuff like what is a "sling hygrometer."  Memorizing facts is boring and stupid.  Why memorize stuff when you can look it up (especially in this age of Google)?  You need to learn the concepts and how and why things happen, not the tedious details.

When I was studying engineering they often had "open book tests" not so you could cheat, but so you could look up formulas.  There was no need to memorize formulas especially when they tended to look like this:
(Some people would say, "Oooooh, open book test, no need to study!" But you had to know how to apply the formulas and what each variable stood for.)

But in K-12 education they make you memorize stuff you can look up.  My theory is, if you use it all the time, you'll memorize it.  If you don't use it all the time, you can look it up.

In science education it seems instead of teaching how a rainbow is made, they make you know the laws of optics.  So even if you make it through your early childhood still a little scientist, the education system also seems designed to beat it out of you.

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