Forget what you were taught about science.

Go ahead. Let it go. Unload the memories of telling your mom: “Why do I have to study this stuff? I’m never going to use it!”  Forget the dated science textbooks with the tea-stained pages and that huge, impossible-to-memorize elements chart Mr. Priestly showcased at the front of the room.  

It’s time to start with a clean slate.  Let’s begin here, on this page, together.

Science is something every single person deserves to experience in its most fascinating forms. Unfortunately, it often becomes entangled in politics, trapped in the net our complicated education “system,” or dissed entirely by the media (our conduit to world events).

As a first step on our journey of reintroducing ourselves to science, I am providing two excellent essays from authors who are far more articulate than I am. (Don’t worry, they are short articles.)

This one appeared last week in The New York Times. It’s written by Brian Greene, founder of the World Science Festival. It is a terrific reminder of what science meant to us, as young children–before we started school–and what it should mean to us today, as adult citizens. So logical, so simple and so very hopeful.

This article digs a bit deeper. It appears in the current issue of Liberal Education (don’t let those words scare you off). The author, James Trefil, provides a concise, critical review of how science is wrongly taught in schools and he suggests a better way forward. Note his emphasis on people like us–citizens who could be more engaged in science policy discussions but aren’t, in part because they/we lack a basic foundation of a few science facts.  I am planning to interview Trefil so we can figure out what it is we, as adult citizens, need to learn, but didn’t learn in school.  And how this new-found grasp of basic science can enrich our lives.

 

  • Science starts with observation. Observation leads to measurement. Measurement leads to understanding and “real” knowledge. Despite years of knowing that “hands on” activities are the best way to learn and teach science, it is still rare to find these kinds of activities — not just “canned” lab experiments” — in schools. If you are interested in Earth science, climate, and, in particular, how the sun interacts with the Earth/atmosphere system, my web site will provide plenty of material to get you started!

  • Science starts with observation. Observation leads to measurement. Measurement leads to understanding and “real” knowledge. Despite years of knowing that “hands on” activities are the best way to learn and teach science, it is still rare to find these kinds of activities — not just “canned” lab experiments” — in schools. If you are interested in Earth science, climate, and, in particular, how the sun interacts with the Earth/atmosphere system, my web site will provide plenty of material to get you started!

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