Our science teachers should certainly teach science facts, but they should also engage students through discovery learning. Swinging too far towards facts can deaden science, but swinging too far towards projects can leave weeks for dropping egg contraptions from balconies, without ever learning the physics principles that make some crack and keep others whole.Of course, these tendencies need not be true for every fact and every project–many of my fellow nerds can reminisce of many happy hours spent with reference books, and discovery learning can lead us towards facts, instead of away from them.his is a rare gem from the Institute for Creation Research (ICR) — the granddaddy of all creationist outfits, the fountainhead of young-earth creationist wisdom.Their latest is What Is ‘Real Scientific Research’? Here are some excerpts from what he says, with bold font added by us: Studying, analyzing, and interpreting data are a part of any research methodology, and so ICR scrutinizes data gathered by other scientists as a part of the process. While our private donor-based funding pales in comparison to many secular institutions, ICR scientists are involved in original research. Here are some of the projects they’re bragging about: Our geologists are mapping for the first time all of North America’s rock systems by rock type and thickness onto a giant 3-D assemblage, with its keen revelations and implications for Genesis Flood history forthcoming. This next one is our favorite: Our physicists have been running the numbers required to rigorously rule out possible errors that may have caused light from distant galaxies to appear organized into colossal concentric rings with Earth near their center — as though Someone placed us here on purpose.There’s no one we’d rather hear from on that question than ICR. For over four decades, generous donors have ensured our scientists’ fruitful production of genuine independent research, as the following examples of ICR discoveries clearly show: From here on, dear reader, the ICR article lists several examples of their “fruitful” research. Egad — we just realized there’s some carbon-14 within your Curmudgeon, and — contrary to popular opinion — we’re not yet a fossil. The power and significance of these discoveries lie in the fact that they emerge from original data obtained by independent credible research.ICR is grateful to its dedicated constituents for enabling these fascinating scientific discoveries for almost a half century.
The technique scientists use is called radiometric dating.” and “how do you know our measurement is accurate?” are the ways that we move beyond the empiricism of our own eyes and into the modern scientific method.Given that there is no easy recipe, who should be leading us on our quest for better science education?
Do we have a personnel problem, as Arne Duncan and many in the current wave of school reform assert?
The tension between facts and skills is nicely illustrated in a recent (ok, last month, meaning millions of internet years ago) blog post by PZ Myers, in which he writes a letter to a nine-year-old girl who recently visited a moon rock.