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Harvey Von Gunderman III

Founder (To Be), Von Gunder Enterprises (to be)

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Could our lack of expressive passion be a cause to the lessened interest of children in science?

I volunteer tutor at our local middle school, in a program called AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) and I was given the opportunity to be a guest speaker in one of the classes I tutor for (8th grade). after the personal questions were handled I offered to talk about science to the best of my ability, and the questions began rushing in. I personally feel like a product of Carl Sagans educational wake, and the passions he expressed throughout his teaching of young minds, manifest within me that day. I got to watch the lights of every child's mind ignite with pure curiosity, and fascination, and that left me with a bitter taste in my mouth. Why weren't they already like that? so I began asking them why they weren't very interested in learning science in the school, many of them told me because it's all boring, you don't learn anything, and many of them didn't understand or even listen to bill nye the science guy videos despite him being a very very powerful thinker. So my question to ted, and to everyone really is, Why are we losing fascination with reality enough to not pass it on to the minds of tomorrow?

How can we give these kids that inspirational jolt to become enthralled with nature?

after my talk, I had kids tell me that they wanted to study the stars, and study the ocean, to pursue the greatest goals, science grabbed hold of their minds, and that is something I wish could happen more often.

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    Jan 28 2013: I am curious, given how you posed your question, what you mean by "the lessened interest of children in science."

    I wonder what time period you are comparing to. Less interested than twenty years ago? Forty years ago?

    For example, when I was in school in the sixties, science was reading something out of a book. No one liked it.

    Now in the United States wouldn't you say the focus has become much more experimental? I have a teaching credential that allows me to teach middle school and some high school science, and the training was ENTIRELY about how to introduce every idea through experiment or simulation, with some planned experiments and other opportunities for kids to design their own. The local public schools, which are far from stellar, do middle school science entirely by inquiry using kits of experimental materials that move around among schools so that everyone gets a chance at all the equipment rather than needing to buy duplicative equipment and non-consummables at each site.

    And the statewide test to test science at 8th grade included numerous opportunities for kids to design experiments to test hypotheses of their own about, say, the factors affecting plant growth.
    • Jan 28 2013: And that is the type of science that needs to be happening, I know it exists, and I don't see it anywhere, but yes I completely agree that that style of teaching is far more correct that what we have been doing, and with comparison, that is a good question, I would have to say that comparatively to that last 40 years cumulative I see it happening, which is understandable with the moon missions and all the science inspired action taken by many great people in the recent past. So realistically I guess I am not being fair, but at some point I did announce I was biased. Thank you for all the input, I really appreciate it.
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        Jan 28 2013: This is, I believe, the most popular inquiry-based science series at the middle school level: http://www.carolinacurriculum.com/

        The other big one is FOSS.

        I expect you can find out how widely used they are by investigating their websites.

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