Inquiry based science class

22 02 2009

So, I noticed that the NJ Board of Ed is planning to add an “inquiry based” science class to the requirements for high school graduation, in addition to a year of bio and a year of chem, physics, or environmental science. This would be great, except, well, a science class is supposed to be “inquiry based” simpy by being a science class.

If you aren’t learning about and using the scientific method (or at least a close approximation of it) you aren’t learning science! A class without that is not a science class in any meaningful way. Adding an inquiry based science class further signlas to teachers that they can and should pull that out of their ordinary science classes. Why?

Sure, it’s a nice thought. They add the requirement to do this in case your other science teachers aren’t doing this. But like I said, if your other science teachers aren’t, their classes shouldn’t even be considered science!

And even beyond that, I get the distinct impression that an “inquiry based” science class would be meaningless. Since it sounds like it has to be a standalone course, it has no subject. So what exactly are you inquiring about? It isn’t biology or chemistry or physics or astronomy, so what exactly is it? By pulling it out of those classes, you lose any sort of focus for the class.

On top of that, it makes it harder to take all the science classes you want, because you effectively lose a year in which to take them. For instance, if you want to take both AP chem and AP physics, you have to either take summer courses or double sciences 2 years in a row. As of now, you can take biology as a freshman, chem as a sophomore, then AP chem and acc physics as a junior (or take a physics summer class) and then AP physics as a senior. With this, you lose either your junior or senior year’s main science slot. That’s not exactly fostering science, in my opinion.

The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and those involved in education seem to have a particular aptitude for laying concrete.

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3 responses

22 02 2009
Lasitha Silva

The header shows mystery within.

“The road to hell is paved with good intentions, and those involved in education seem to have a particular aptitude for laying concrete”.

This is the true nature of all humans and other life. Education makes people complete and till life ends. Good intentions added make human brilliant. Hell is far from such..!

22 02 2009
IBY

Which is why I don’t think all the science classes I have taken previously are science classes. All they do is just give a whole lot of facts to know, book work, tests, and worst of all… worksheets *shudder*. We almost never did experiments, and if there were experiments, many of them were dumb. Which is why I love AP Bio, it is a science class, or at least the best one a high school science class can be, and some of the experiments are cool.

22 02 2009
Perpetual Dissent

I agree wholeheartedly. Science really isn’t taught well in our education system. But the solution isn’t to have science classes split off from scientific fact classes, so as much as I like the sentiment, I just think that the whole thing’s a bad idea.

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