Science Education – Making Science Fun

Every school in America is required to teach science. This is because science and scientific learning is a fundamental part of our existence. Most everything that we encounter on a day-to-day basis is, in some way, related to science. Even when we are sleeping, science is there to explain why we need to sleep and what takes place while we are sleeping. Because of this, science education is essential to life as we know it. Of course there will be many people who are happy to go through life without knowing how a bird can fly. Even given this fact, there will always be something that they will need to know and understand that is grounded in science. Even if it is something as simple as ‘fire is hot’ or ‘getting punched hurts. Science is there to explain these simple things too.

A good foundation in science through science education is required for all children, but the way that this education takes place is not strictly defined. With that said, many schools will take to science experiments using hands-on science products and supplies. This is an excellent way for students to ‘see’ the science around them. Often times learning from a book can be tedious and will cause students to become uninterested in the subject matter. A science experiment, however, is interactive and forces the students to take part in science learning. These projects don’t have to be complicated and will usually result in a much higher level of learning retention.

There are a few reasons why children better retain knowledge gained through scientific experimentation. One is it allows you to appeal to those children who are visual learners. These students are the ones who need pictures or demonstrations to remember things. Words just don’t stick in their minds as well, but when they can see a science demonstration or visualize an experiment, they can comprehend and retain the subject matter with much better success. Many students tend to thrive in science because it offers the visual aspect that many other subject matters do not.

Another reason that knowledge gained through science experimentation is retained longer by students is because they are actively engaged. They can’t simply skim through the experiment, they have to make sure that they are doing things correctly, and the only way to ensure that is by understanding what is going on. It forces students to understand the science behind what they are doing, and if they don’t, often times the experiment won’t turn out right.

Finally, hands-on science experimentation gives the student a sense of accomplishment. It is a reward of sorts, to have the experiment turn out correctly. That reassurance and sense of achievement at the end of each experiment will cause them to want to do more. It will also give them more confidence in what they are doing and possibly cause them to take up more science projects on their own. They will already be comfortable with the process they need to follow and will merely need their own ideas and theories to start their own projects. Even their own small science projects will increase their knowledge of how the world around them works and functions.

Elementary and Middle School Science – Hand Held Weather Station is Changing Science Education

Back in the old days, a typical school science weather forecaster consisted of a three dial unit that told temperature, humidity and barometric pressure. Things have changed. Today, elementary science datalogger technology, also referred to as probeware with sensors, designed specifically for science education can still tell those three things, but a whole lot more.

These systems are easy enough to be operated and understood by an elementary school student and yet powerful enough to be used in advanced science applications. The new educational technology includes a portable datalogger that acts like a mini weather station. Designed especially for younger students, this handheld device contains five built-in sensors and an LCD display. It’s ideal for displaying and recording daily weather patterns and supplies real time data on sound, light, temperature, humidity and barometric pressure.

This type of hand held device can also include ports for plugging in a wide range of additional sensors. This type of unit can be used for observing and collecting data on things such as motion, heart rate, pH levels, voltage and many others. This is in addition, of course, to the five sensors already built in to the unit.

You simply plug the sensor in and start collecting data. Many of the new sensor technologies auto-identify the sensors and are auto-calibrated to save time and frustration in getting the unit up and running. It’s easy to use and the kids in the class love it because they are more engaged with this ‘hands-on’ approach to learning.

The newest technology runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, similar to those found in most cell phones. They can be recharged by either using the AC adapter or by plugging it into a computer’s USB port with the USB cable. The advanced battery technology allows the new, innovative technology to collect data for over thirty days on a single charge.

Data logging software is an integral part of the technology package. It is critical for displaying real-time data for students and many new software packages are very easy to use. You can download data that’s been collected away from the computer, analyze it and even copy the chart or graph into other applications such as Microsoft Word, PowerPoint or Excel. You can even export the data from the software into Excel with the touch of a button in some applications.

There’s quite a bit of technology packed into these compact, pocket-sized, easy-to-use mini weather stations. Whether directly hooked up to a computer or on its own outside the classroom, these mini data loggers do an incredible job of supplying information to the user. And it makes learning fun for the class, as it’s a hands-on unit that delivers immediate feedback on the changing conditions it’s monitoring.

Dinosaur Expert – Anti-Creationists Are The Greatest Enemy Of Science Education In The US

Science education has lately been the source of much heated debate, largely due to the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed featuring Ben Stein. Stein’s documentary lamented the monopoly of Darwinian evolution in scientific research and science education. As expected, many prominent neo-Darwinists, for instance Richard Dawkins and P. Z. Myers, have reacted aggressively to the film. Recently, a renowned paleontologist joined the fray. However, his contribution was a stunning surprise.

Dr. Robert T. Bakker is one of most famous living dinosaur experts, known for his 1986 book The Dinosaur Heresies. He is the Curator of paleontology at the Houston Museum of Natural Science and the Director of the Morrison Natural History Museum in Colorado. Recently Bakker was interviewed on the Laelaps Science Blog by Brian Switek.

During the e-mail interview, Bakker said that he considered “the loud, strident, elitist anti-creationists” to be be greatest enemy of science education in the United States. He explained that he meant “Richard Dawkins and his colleagues”, calling them “uber-Darwinists”. In his view, they “come across as insultingly dismissive of any and all religious traditions.”

Bakker probably had in mind Dawkins’ book The God Delusion that has caused quite a stir. It has also given rise to rebuttals such as David Berlinski’s just released The Devil’s Delusion.

The Bakker interview was made before the April 18 release of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Bakker’s views are interesting since he is neither a creationist, at least not in the traditional sense of the word, nor affiliated with the Intelligence Design movement. He seems to advocate some form of theistic evolution or the view that God used evolution. Yet he comes close to what Ben Stein, a Jew, has to say about science education.

It is no secret that origins issues are extremely sensitive. Bakker’s contribution has already caused some discussion in the blogosphere.