Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Week #2- Becca McRae

Week #2: History and Nature of Science

I started by reading the Galileo piece thinking I should read them chronologically, however, I’m not sure this was the best way to do it. In “Third Day” the author aims to explain his observations as experiments and show without a doubt that his theories are correct. This piece was pretty hard to read. The writing was very convoluted and took a lot of time to decipher and understand what was being said. However, I think the point of reading this piece is to see how difficult it was to come up with theories before there was a method to studying anything. Based on the conversation that takes place near the end of the piece, one is lead to believe that the authors’ methods of experimentation and replication are novel. Science was confusing to teach before such methods were used and standardized.
The “Science Matters” piece was much easier to understand, in part, because it was written much more recently but also the format was easier to follow. This piece discusses Newton’s 3 laws of motion but also gravity and eventually chaos. Galileo was the first to use experimental science and Newton created the scientific method. As time passes, more and more experiments are performed and information is obtained leading to a better understanding of whatever was being studied. Theories build on each other and evolve over time without truly contradicting previous works. The appreciation for past works but the drive to advance knowledge is truly incredible. By using a common language, mathematics, to explain his observations, Newton was able to connect works previously thought unrelated. Being able to communicate science and observations was much more difficult before the scientific method was introduced. And ultimately this leads into being able to teach science.
The final paper contained a lot more jargon than I was expecting. It introduced the concept of modeling and went more in depth into the way people learn and how we study learning. The text goes into detail about how we can apply the scientific method to studying how kids and even adults learn. From this several techniques have been identified to aid in learning including tasks, inscription, modeling and even identity. Understanding how we learn allows us to create a better environment for students. I was particularly drawn to the examples that were given for modeling. Introducing children to problem solving at a very young age gets them to start thinking for themselves and I truly believe that is an area a lot of teachers miss. I am really drawn to the idea of the growth mindset and even though it is not discussed in this paper, I think a lot of the key concepts support adoption of this mindset. Overall, I think that without the previous work done by scientists like Galileo and Newton, to identify scientific reasoning and the scientific method, concepts like modeling might not exist. We probably wouldn’t understand how we learn or how to effectively communicate information.

1 comment:

  1. Rebecca, I definitely agree with you that reading them chronologically, or even in the order the readings were posted on the syllabus, was definitely not the best way to go! I got lucky and happened by chance to read the Lehrer article first, and I found that reading about modeling, especially through physical models and mathematical models, helped me to pull out important themes in the "Science Matters" piece and especially helped me to pull out the relevant information in the Galileo text. In this case, order matters!