Education, Science

Better Abstracts for Better Science Literacy

“What if the article abstracts, laced with big words and jargon, were rewritten to a level where most people could understand; an abstract 2.o if you will? By reading a short summary of the work, anyone who wanted to know could actually understand the problem studied and the results. Maybe more importantly, the reader would not have to rely on interpretations of the research from popular media sources that have higher priorities than educating the public.”

LOVE this idea from Matt Russell about making more easily digestible abstracts for scientific journals.  I guess this is what science reporters do now, but only for selected research.


The Origins of Irrationality

“If you can’t trust doctors not to commit crimes against humanity, not trusting them with injecting your kids with something they tell you is safe makes sense.”

From commentor SadPanda1235 on this recent io9 blog post in which the author of the post asks for advice about discussing science with anti-vaccination relatives.  The commentor rightly points out that many people have good reason not to trust modern science.

Education, Science

Why is Scientific Literacy important?

Why is Scientific Literacy important?

“So that you can dismiss information that is untrue and potentially harmful. Being science literate means that you can examine the evidence behind a claim like “vaccines cause autism” or “GMOs cause cancer” or “evolution is a lie from the pit of hell” and not be fooled by psuedoscience, opinions, logical fallacies, and fear mongering masquerading as fact.”

A comment from user raiju on an open discussion on the tech site io9 about why being knowledgeable in science is so important.

Why do you think that this is a critical issue?

Education, Science

What science teaching should be?

“Students do the thinking. We know how to read, write, speak, and think about science, and we also know that our students won’t gain these skills if we do the work for them. We give our students the support they need to develop science literacy, analyze data, integrate mathematical and computational thinking, develop models and design solutions. We know students cannot comprehend scientific practices in depth without directly experiencing those practices for themselves; therefore, we check the ratio of teacher work to student work in each and every lesson and ensure that our students get many opportunities to be critical thinkers, readers, writers, and speakers.”

From Sara Bokhari’s description of the “vision statement” that her team at TNTP has set forth for science teaching.

Education, Science

A Vote Against NGSS is Not a Vote Against Common Core

I’ve struggled before with the idea of a common curriculum.  The science teacher in me loves the idea, but the libertarian hiding under the surface sees problems.  Common Core State Standards, in the end, were an easy sell to me: I see the benefit in a very tangible way.  The skills and content knowledge covered in these standards is really powerful and necessary stuff.

The Next Generation Science Standards are a different beast.  On the surface they appear very similar, but if you look under the hood you’ll see some glaring differences.  Yes, NGSS were developed by a consortium of states and agencies.  Yes, states must sign on before they are held to these standards.  But, when it comes to the quality of the standards, the similarities end. Continue reading