Assistant teacher course/Individual curriculum/Science

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  Science is experience becoming rational. The effect of science is thus to change men's idea of the nature and inherent possibilities of experience.  

Democracy and Education, John Dewey

Science[edit | edit source]

Science as a subject may seem too general but why should the interests of the participants be restrained if the goals are to learn scientific methodology and to allow interest-driven learning? A course in science can choose any topic that allows scientific analysis. An important goal can be that the pupils choose the topics themselves in order to allow interest-driven learning. The teacher and his assistants aim to teach the scientific methods and provide the tools the pupils need for scientific research. The teacher can also provide a collection of topics for pupils who do not have ideas for research. The pupils should form between two and eight work groups and work on aspects of the same topic or on different topics. The course can allow the pupils to present their findings to the other work groups (or to the school community in a "school symposium"). To teach the necessary mathematics or computer science for scientific methods the course can function like a regular course in mathematics or computer science on occasion. The course should have its own democratic body to determine the curriculum for the next weeks. Assistant teachers are especially useful to prepare lessons for a flexible science course.

Example: The search for the smallest particle[edit | edit source]

  Because of our education we use words, thinking they are ideas, to dispose of questions, the disposal being in reality simply such an obscuring of perception as prevents us from seeing any longer the difficulty.  

Democracy and Education, John Dewey

A sensible goal for a science course is to invent terminology for things that haven't yet been thoroughly analyzed. [1] Only after something has been subject to sufficient study the real terminology should be used. This way the object of study can remain more something to be researched than something to be found in an encyclopedia. A course could begin the search for the smallest particle of matter (e.g. the "Y o c t o particle") with trying to break small things and to put them under microscopes and continue with microscopy of plant cells. An example hypothesis could be that stones are apparently made of sand particles and that sand particles therefore could be seen as the smallest particles that compose stones, unless somebody could propose how to smash sand. The pupils should learn to write down an expectancy before each experiment and to write down their findings afterwards.

  1. Inventing terminology (Meta-schoolbook Writer's Guide, Wikibooks)