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How Science Works

Discussion in 'Science' started by Clare_e_2000, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. Hi, Just wondering if anyone can help me out with 'how science works'. What exactly does this mean? How does it fit into the curriculum? Am I right in thinking that it is how science relates to the realy world?

    Thank you!
     
  2. Hi, Just wondering if anyone can help me out with 'how science works'. What exactly does this mean? How does it fit into the curriculum? Am I right in thinking that it is how science relates to the realy world?

    Thank you!
     
  3. sounds like gov speak for the more meaningful explanation you gave
     
  4. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    It is how the people who designed the KS4 science courses think science works. I believe most of these people are actually Art Historians! Having earned my living in 'real' science for 15 years before becoming a teacher the 'How Science Works' section bears little relationship to my experience.
     
  5. Can I post my agreement?

    Many of our parents are at best sceptical and at worst very argumentative against this, How Science Works, being anywhere near how they, as scientists, work.

     
  6. How science doesn't work.

    What were they thinking of when they included this in the new curriculum. Out went some actual knowledge of science to be replaced with obscure subjective arguments over definitions or words. If science teachers can't agree on the exact meaning of 'precise', 'accurate' and 'reliable' how can we expect pupils to. The new KS4 syllabus was supposed to make science more relevant and accessible. The HSW element has done the exact opposite.
     
  7. DrResource

    DrResource New commenter

    My sentiments exactly Cyber. I STILL get confused over the actual meaning of Precise and Accurate !!! AQA decided to change it to - so to add to confusion.

    I have a Ph.D - this is NOT how science works !!!!

    Some AQA ISA's are C**P and the actual ISA exam is a nonsense - some of the answers are SO rubbish.

    The new GCSE was supposed to stimulate interest in Science. At A-Level numbers in Biology, Physics and Chem are going to drop like a brick as many students cannot be bothered getting their heads around the stupid 'How Science Works' curriculum.
     
  8. A secondary colleague of mine says that HSW is just a load of garbage about the supposed role of science in society which is suppsed to make up for all the content that is being removed for being "too difficult" or "too challenging" - and by that he says he means "too challenging" for the non-specialist teachers who are supposed to be delivering it.
     
  9. Arcane linguistic and statistical definitions are not really going to improve the understanding of science in society. Content has certainly been reduced (yet again) but this has not helped the least able as they struggle even more with concepts that even stretch A-level students (and quite a lot of teachers).

    Traditional science courses included more factual-based knowledge, such as flame and gas tests in chemistry, that the least able students could (usually) grasp. Recent changes have raised the literacy and thinking skills in some debatable areas and included far more questionable opinion about modern scientific issues, while reducing what pupils actually know about science.
     
  10. Cornholio

    Cornholio New commenter

    For my money HSW would be covered during the delivery of the old SOW if the teacher was half decent. Many issues raised during a regular science lesson should come under the HSW umbrella sow why bother to include it as a separate unit or strand?

    Cutting the content to shreds and setting HSW up as a viable alternative will prove costly in terms of achievement in the long run.

    As for teachers not being able to grasp the concepts of HSW or understand the terminology, I suspect the real issue is the energy (or lack of it) with which people attack the tasks.
     
  11. I'm only an NQT and I don't have detailed knowlege of how the syllabus has evolved - but I do have 30 years of working in the chemical and pharmaceutical industries.

    Whilst it is quite correct that few in industry would immediately produce the accepted GCSE definitions of "precise", "reliable", "accurate" and so on, concepts like these are vital to the practice of science and technology and it is well worth grappling with them at school. Whilst learning more content (like the colours of flames) might be accessible, it has little lasting value.

    I too disagree with some of the AQA ISA mark schemes - not least those questions that suggest it's necessary to test 10% of the output of a production run. Such assessments can only be made from a statistical analysis of the output. I was responsible for designing pharmaceutical tablet manufacturing facilities, spitting out millions of tablets an hour - but with effective detailed validation, parameter monitoring, and Process Analytical Technology, we would routinely analyse very few tablets - because we knew they were in specification.
     
  12. What people need to understand when dealing with science-related issues in everyday life goes beyond science concepts. Research evidence shows this, time and again.

    To make informed science-related decisions, people need to understand something about the nature of science, including the peer review process. This kind of knowledge is also essential for practising doctors, engineers and scientists.

    For example,
    Public consultations on GM food, or the disposal of radioactive waste
    A decade of media reports of MMR
    Intelligent design or evolution by natural selection?


    It is true that some GCSE science specifications are better than others in this respect. Nevertheless, teachers can choose to make this knowledge living and real to their students.
     
  13. For info, if anyone needs some resources for the how science works lessons at GCSE, we have a section dedicated to this on our Physics & Ethics Education Project website here: http://www.peep.ac.uk/content/673.0.html

    Best wishes
    BEEP Team
     
  14. Cornholio

    Cornholio New commenter

    Beep Beep Beep!!

    Peep Peep Peep!!

    Thanks for that, a good looking site with some useful resources.

     
  15. No way should we be teaching about ID in science. ***!
     
  16. Ms. T: Perhaps you misunderstood my previous message.

    My point is this: To make sense of science-related issues in everyday life .. and of challenges to science ... people need an understanding of science that goes beyond its key concepts. The extra material, widely referred to as 'how science works', is best taught in school science lessons.

    ID should certainly not be taught in schools.
     
  17. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    But if you keep reducing the content to such an extent that there is no understanding of key concepts you will never understand how science works!
     
  18. Both are needed: key concepts and the 'extras'. If it were only the latter, it could be taught by humanities teachers.

    This is why the science classroom is the best place to develop a fuller understanding of the world of science.

    My experience is that most pupils appreciate an insight into 'how science works'. Many engage more with the key concepts because they can see their relevance.

    Intellectual 'stretch' continues to be associated with science concepts.
     
  19. To the most able How Science works comes as common sense. Little needs to addressed.

    The idea that the New GCSE 'stretches' the most able via concepts is a joke.

    Cynically, I am coming to the conclusion that the new GCSE is such so that it can be taught in the future by non specialists, because there will be nobody else.

     
  20. blazer

    blazer Star commenter

    I'm with you Piper. Dumb down the GCSE then you won't need to find all the science teachers to fill current and future vacancies. Universities will continue to close Chem and Phys depts so demand for A levels in those subjects will drop as you won't be able to take them any further.
     

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