Monday, August 31, 2015

Week 2 Readings


Galileo uses a ‘dialogue’ between three men to illustrate the idea of and initial misunderstandings with uniform and accelerated motion. Through Salviati, Galileo demonstrates the relationships between displacement, velocity, and acceleration using a variety of examples. Simplicio shares common misunderstandings and allows Sagredo and Salviati to explain why Galileo’s argument is sound. Galileo makes a precise stepwise argument with clear definitions and thorough explanations to avoid confusion. These kinds of ‘dialogues’ between students still exist in modern science; this ‘dialogue’ reminds me of students collaborating and discussing possible ideas behind a scientific concept. The ‘dialogue’ could just as well be concerning theories of DNA replication or the relationship between a protein’s structure and its function. With respect to Lehrer, it is interesting to wonder how these ‘dialogues’ can fit into a lesson embedded with scientific inquiry. Student collaboration can and should be an essential part of student inquiry, which can be accomplished in a group setting.Thinking in the future when I will be teaching, it is necessary to mirror Galileo’s clear arguments in my future lessons. Student understanding requires arguments with clear definitions and thorough explanations between each logical step. Without these criteria for lessons met, students are likely to fall into common traps of misconceptions that could have been avoided with deliberate and careful instruction.

Hazen & Trefil:

Hazen and Trefil outline the discoveries of some great scientific minds, from Newton to Kepler, and how these different scientists influenced each other across time and space. I find it fascinating how each scientist built upon the ideas and discoveries of the last to lead to Einstein’s ultimate revelation of the general theory of relativity. I also find it interesting to think of how science is socially situated. Hazen and Trefil mention how science provide definite quantitative knowledge, but it cannot be denied that many other disciplines, from literature to music, offer knowledge, albeit of a qualitative type.With respect to Galileo, it would be very helpful for student understanding to design and implement an experiment of student inquiry that investigates a principle investigated possibly hundreds of years ago by great scientific minds such as Newton and Galileo. It would be interesting to design an experiment for students to derive or at least contemplate the laws of motion or gravity in the context of their discovery, i.e. trying to forget all modern knowledge of these now explained phenomenon. In the future, I recognize that it will be important to teach the history of notable biological discoveries, from the discovery of the microscope and the first microscopic organisms to the elucidation of DNA structure.


Lehrer argues that the goal of school is to create an environment in which learners can be actively engage in the types of practices that practicing scientists use in daily life, including modeling and inquiry based learning. This view of the goal of school creates a situation dependent on the teacher’s ability to lead and design student inquiry based lessons and experiments. This school goal also heavily favors kinesthetic learners while leaving auditory and visual learners at a possible disadvantage. As a future teacher, I plan to be able to design effective experiments that promote student inquiry and to teach biology with representational models and analogies. It is important that I remember that learning is a lifelong goal that I can continue by developing professionally and by learning from other teachers and students. Although science isn’t often taught with engagement to inquiry and rather often taught in its final form in more traditional lectures, I plan to involve a healthy mixture of both forms of education in my future classroom.


  1. Ah! I didn't get that the 'dialogue' was between students! It all makes much more sense. How did you come to that conclusion? Was it stated and I just missed it?

  2. Ty, I found your statement about Lehrer's school goals (that they could leave visual and auditory learners at a disadvantage) intriguing as it was not something that crossed my mind initially. After mulling it over, I have found that I do disagree with you. If these exercises are collaborative, then the kinesthetic learners would naturally gravitate towards (and potentially benefit the most from) the actual doing of the experiment. However, the visual learners would benefit from watching the experiment or model, and the auditory learners would benefit from the conversation taking place during the process. I believe that the different facets of working through a hands-on experience in class (talking about what you're doing and why, actually doing it, and watching what happens) would provide a complete learning experience for every student in the class. I guess at this point my question would be, do you think this is a reasonable explanation and satisfies the concern you brought forth, Ty? If not, what reservations would you still have?

  3. I agree with your depiction of Galileo's dialogue. I find it very interesting that even to this day we as students prefer learning often times where both parties can express their opinions and learn form each other. It brings back the manuscript of Socrates and his student . The reader is really granted the coveted spot of the fly on the wall in this piece.