Selasa, 07 November 2017

Science for Kids - How to Collect Data in an Experiment

Collection of data in any experiment is crucial for accuracy and precision of a science project. More importantly, when data in experiments are properly collected, the information gathered provides the scientist of the science project validity and credibility. These are valuable skills for any scientist to be successful in any field. When science students are collecting data for a science project, they should be aware of these basics steps: precision, accuracy, validity and reliability.

Precision data is repeatability

In many instances, science students working on their school science projects need to repeat their experiments. This is to provide justification to previous experiments. But it also explains that the data gathered is precise. The more precise the collection of data is the more accurate the result. Perhaps, science students need to repeat an experiment to verify an unsuccessful or an incomplete result. Other times, experiments do not perform to standards. In other cases, experiments are incomplete due to lack of materials or time. Hence, the more repeats in an experiment the better the results.

Accurate data is correct information

The accuracy of the data gathered by science students means how close that result is in regards to the true value. In statistic terms, a true value is data that closely approaches the correct record. In this way, the more precise a measurement is in a particular instrument, the more accurate that value is to the experiment. Therefore, many instruments must be calibrated according to standards to provide accurate results. When an instrument is not calibrated, the measurements from that instrument lack validity. Calibration is the act of standardizing an instrument based on its specific graduations. For instance, a weighing balance in a grocery store is calibrated with weights to provide the most accurate weight in pounds. Thus, calibration of an instrument is a vital part of the accuracy and precision of a result.

Valid data is true scientific content

When science students provide true data, it also provides legitimacy to their science projects. As a matter of fact, without validity in science projects, they appear unreliable. For other scientists, when validity is compromised in some experiments or science projects, it sends a negative signal that they were not serious about their project. In science, experiments may not provide the results that they may predict. But a negative data in a science experiment can also mean a good result. It can prove or disapprove the hypothesis. It can provide additional information to other scientific experiments. It can establish the opportunity to further analysis of the data. Therefore, a valid science experiment not only provides valid results but it also provides an honest science student.

Reliable data is trustworthy evidence

If science students approach their science projects with validity, their data becomes more reliable. When experiments are conducted with conviction in performing the best and most accurate data, then they can be confident about their science projects. Reliable results establish the foundation for a legitimate reputation for science students. But it also establishes that the information gathered by science students is reliable, valid, accurate, and precise. In fact, science students who do not omit any steps in their science experiments to obtain results understand that science is a learning process.

Senin, 30 Oktober 2017

5 Tips For Choosing The Right Science Project For Your Child

There are many different ways you can choose a science project for your child. The question is how do you even know how to choose a science project? What are things that you need to know that will help your child get the right science project? Here are 5 tips for choosing the right science project for your child.

Tip 1 for choosing the right science project for your child is to ask questions. Ask you child what they want to learn more about. Ask your child what they are interested in. Ask you child what they have been learning in school that they don't understand and would like to know more about. This will help you get an idea of what your child's interests. Knowing what your child's interests are will help you get an idea what they would want to do for a science project.

Tip 2 for choosing the right science project for your child is finding out what they don't understand. Find something that your child is interested in but does not understand certain aspects of. This will help you be able to find something that will intrigue your child. If your child has been turning the wheels in there head about something but just can't find a solution to it, doing a science project on it would be a great thing. It will help your child be excited because they are so excited to find out about what they have been so curious about.

Tip 3 for choosing the right science project for your child is finding something that you both can do together. You want to find a science project that you can help your child on. You don't want something that is too complicate that you are not going to be able to help your child with it. You want something that you can research and get the help you need in order to help your child do their science project. You being able to help your child will also help your child enjoy their science project more. Your child will enjoy it because they won't be frustrated trying out different solutions to get things to work by themselves. They will feel like they have help and support. This will make all of the difference.

Tip 4 for choosing the right science project for your child is having all of the information you need. Only having partial information will not make it easy to do a science project. You want to make sure the science project you choose has enough information that you can discover new things.

Tip 5 for choosing the right science project for your child is being able to perform the science project. You want to make sure that your child can perform a science project on the subject your child chooses and that your child can show how it works. It needs to be age appropriate. Also, make sure that your child has enough time to do a science project and the experiments that are involved. For example, if your child is going to do a science project on plants and the different environment they grown in. You need to make sure that your child has enough time to grow all of the plants, and make sure that you have all of the different equipment that you and your child will need to provide different environments for the plants.

These are all tips for choosing the right science project for your child. Make sure that you take all of these tips into consideration when you are planning a science project. You want to make sure to choose the best science project you can for your child with the most information. So go out there and choosing the right science project for your child.

Sabtu, 14 Oktober 2017

Integrating Language and Science Instruction


In the traditional teaching instruction, students with poor English are normally placed in low-ability groups, because it is believed it difficult for them to learn how to respond to the higher level classes with more complex demands. Integrating language skills with science instruction has become an alternative to traditional instruction. In the integrated approach, teachers held high expectations for their students and deliberately promote critical thinking skills which help them succeed in academic courses.

The science process skills-including observing, predicting, communicating, classifying, and analyzing-are similar to language learning skills-seeking information, comparing, ordering, synthesizing, and evaluating (Short, 1991). These skills are important keys to integrating science instruction with language acquisition. Motivating and engaging students to speak, ask questions, learn new vocabulary, and write down their thoughts comes easily when they are curious, exploring and engaged in science or science inquiry. Integrating literacy activities within teaching of science helps clarify science concept and can make science and more meaningful and interesting to the student.

Research suggests that increased student participation and peer interaction enhances the students' language better that teacher-directed activities (Ruddell, 2004). For instance, teacher can use cooperative learning jigsaws where students become experts on topics through texts that they read or listen to, take notes on, and teach to peers. Using cooperative learning method gives integrated teachers an opportunity to encourage interdependency among group members, assisting students to work together in small groups so that all participate in sharing data and in developing group reports.

Instructional Strategy

Unfortunately, today many classroom teachers who teach either science or language do not think science and language are interdependent (Short, 1991). Language teachers do not address the language needs of the students within the framework of the subject matter's objectives. They may think teaching content subject matter is not essential. Similarly, the content teachers may not understand language issues, nor be prepared to use English as a Second Language (ELL) methods for which they might have little or no experience.

The integrated approach is required for both language and science classrooms to bridge the gap that has often separated these two disciplines. Students can improve language proficiency through science instruction as either the background or theme of lessons. For example, once a science topic has been discussed and students have shared their knowledge of it, pertinent vocabulary may be taught. Later, certain concepts such as grammar rules or writing processes can be examined through the vocabulary or the application activities that are planned (Sherris, 2008).

Reading and writing activities and content-area instruction can be integrated in one lesson or unit, or the approach can form the basis for an entire curriculum. Even though the extent of implementation may vary widely, the underlying principles and procedures remain the same. An instructor takes first an objective from a content area curriculum, such as science, and determines the kind of language students need in order to be able to accomplish that objective. As a teacher helps students develop the science process skills of inquiry, language process skills or language learning strategies are simultaneously being developed. Two fundamental characteristics of the learning process, transfer and language dependence, frame our understanding of critical issues in teaching and assessing English learners in the science classroom (Short, 2002).

The integrated approach focuses on the fostering of thinking skills and the student-centered method of the instruction. Integrated teachers utilize a variety of teaching methods such as inquiry-based learning, cooperative learning, brainstorming, cooperative learning, hands-on, interactive activity etc.

Instructional strategies that can be used in an integrated classroom include increased use of visuals, demonstrations, and graphic organizers; the development of thinking and study skills; and the use of pre-reading and pre-writing activities. By providing opportunities to use language in meaningful contexts, teachers can facilitate their students' transition into mainstream courses (Crandall and Peyton, 1993).

Integrated teachers need to pay attention to the science to be learned, the language skills required to learn it, and the reasoning abilities needed to be manipulated. When necessary, for example, they should provide explicit vocabulary instructions or model activities to the whole class before breaking into small groups. Teachers should encourage students to conduct independent research, but provide support students solicit assistance from each other. Through this approach, science teachers become sensitive to language problems that exist in their current textbooks, supplementary materials and teacher talk, and recognize other potential problem that their students may experience. The approach also helps language teachers as well, through a variety of methods used to introduce authentic and relevant science into classroom (Short, 2002).

Integrated lesson planning skills

Each integrated lesson should have a language and science component and the goal for the teacher should be to develop academic achievement and language proficiency simultaneously. To prepare clear science and language outcomes, teachers should draw on a variety of resources that include standards of knowledge and skills in a science area, language proficiency standards, prior student performance assessments, and available course materials. For example, a science teacher would prepare an integrated science and language lesson by first examining the science standards to determine the concept and skill to be learned, then selecting learning objectives, tasks, and materials appropriate to the students as determined by assessments of student performance.

To address the practice of integrating reading, writing, listening, and speaking, teachers must identify and work with students on two sets of discourse skills-one specific to a subject area, the other more generalized. Teachers then provide opportunities for students to improve all four language components-reading, writing, listening, and speaking-across a variety of text types, including some specific to their subject area and others that are generic (Aronson, et al 1978). Some examples of discourse that are content-area specific are experimental studies, community surveys, and interviews. Those that are generic include summary, comparison, and outlining.

For instance, in planning to teach motion, a teacher might construct the following possible outcome statements:

Students will be able to observe and calculate speed and acceleration of a moving object, discuss different methods of measuring the distance, and write a summary of each method. Calculate, discuss, and write are the descriptive verbs that determine whether a particular outcome addresses the knowledge and skill of a science area or specific language functions. Observing and calculating the speed and acceleration describe science outcomes, whereas discussing and writing about the methods used to compare types of distance measurement describe language outcomes related to the science. Integrated teachers should consciously attempt to sort the descriptive verbs used in standards documents and course materials into separately identified language and content outcomes.

According to Sherris (2008), the integrated lesson plans have at least two key benefits. First, the teachers clarify for themselves the separate content and language objectives of the lesson, which can improve their delivery of the instruction. Second, if these objectives are both explicitly presented and subsequently reviewed within each lesson, students become aware of the separate content and language goals, which may help them direct and monitor their own learning.

Students also develop the ability to carry out other content related tasks, such as lab experiments, creative scientific calculations, and historical inquiry. They solve problems, evaluate solutions, and collaborate effectively with one another in these activities through the use of appropriate academic language.

Integrated Lesson Plan

Lesson planning is critical to both a student's and a teacher's success. For maximum learning to occur, planning must produce lessons that enable students to make connections between their own knowledge and experiences, and the new information being taught (Rummelhart, 1995). In effective instruction, concrete content objectives that identify what students should know and be able to do must guide teaching and learning. For English learners, however, content objectives for each lesson need to be stated simply, orally and in writing, and they need to be tied to specific grade-level content standards (Echevarria and Graves, 2004). As with content objectives, language objectives should be stated clearly and simply, and students should be informed of them, both orally and in writing.

The integrated science lesson plan guidelines ( see attached table) describes the teaching phases in integrated lesson plans and the most effective science lessons for ELL are those have language and content objectives. As students gain both science process and English language skills, they will be able to examine independently scientific explanations and use logical reasoning to communicate. Higher-order thinking skills, such as articulating predictions or hypotheses, stating conclusions, summarizing information, and making comparisons, can be tied to language objectives.

Sabtu, 30 September 2017

Teaching Earth Science - Its Challenges and Rewards


Knowledge in earth science is very vital in nation building. Almost everything we do each day is connected in some way to Earth: to its land, oceans, atmosphere, plants, and animals. The food we eat, the water we drink, our homes and offices, the clothes we wear, the energy we use, and the air we breathe are all grown in, taken from, surround, or move through the planet. According to American Geological Institute (AGI) Foundation, by 2025, eight billion people will live on Earth. This number of people will undoubtedly continue extracting resources to maintain a high quality of life. As we benefit from all the resources we get from the Earth, then we, as individuals and citizens, need to know more about our planet - its processes, its resources, and its environment. And only through Earth Science education can students understand and appreciate our complex planet. In this present time, the old and the young must join hands and help one another in the serious task of nation-building, the young to learn from the wisdom and experience of the elders, the elders to recognize the impatience of the youth. In contrast, not all young students are willing to cooperate in order to acquire the needed knowledge, attitudes and skills essential for a secure future. It is then a burgeoning task for the teacher to facilitate learning so that quality education will be acquired by the students. This paper will discuss the different challenges faced by the teacher in imparting knowledge about Earth Science in public secondary school, likewise it will also discuss the positive aspects in learning the subject.



My first experience in teaching earth science was on September 2005 in one of the public secondary schools in Davao Oriental, specifically in District 1. I can still remember the first day when I entered the class of more than fifty (50) students crowded in a classroom. Some of them were busy chatting with their classmates, some were busy doing different tasks in their seats, etc. The first question that popped into my mind during that moment was: how can I get the attention of the students? As I introduced myself to them as their new science teacher, I saw different emotions reflecting on their faces. There were emotions of excitement, worries, anxieties, happiness, etc. I am not really sure if they were prepared to take new lessons in earth science. What I did was to let them get a piece of paper and let them write in there: their names, favorite subject, subject they hate most and why they love/hate a certain subject, and their expectation/s of the subject. I did this just to know whether they have interest in the subject or to know what subjects they liked best and the reasons why they love the subject. From that, I learned that out of more than fifty (50) students, only four (4) said that they like science subject. When I asked them why they do not like science as a subject, the common answer was: "Science is a difficult subject". From that experience alone, I got an insight that students will have difficulty in learning a subject if they do not like the subject. Indeed, teaching Earth Science to undergraduates or high school students could be difficult "if the students are not motivated or if they are not interested in the subject".

There are several ways of motivating the students to be interested in Earth Science. In my own experience, I used songs as part of my lessons - songs which are easy to learn and frequently heard by the students. I used the tune of a particular song and changed the lyrics so that it will fit with the topic I am discussing. There are also songs introduced to us during seminars that are very helpful because students would find it easier to memorize certain science concepts by just singing the songs over and over again. Example of these songs are: "We're the Scientist" - in the tune of "Ako'y Isang Pinoy"; "Sistemang Harana" - in the tune of "Harana" as popularized by Parokya ni Edgar, this emphasizes the importance of scientific method in solving problem; "Super Science" - in the tune of "Superman", stressed on the contributions of science in enhancing our lives; and a jolly song - "Youngsters Love Science". After introducing these songs, I found them useful in memorizing scientific terms, concepts, and processes. With this, I feel happy when I heard some of my students singing those songs and sharing them with their friends.

There are different ways of motivating students to learn Earth Science. Teachers should bear in their mind that flexible approaches and connections to other subjects is the key to success in a classroom for motivating student interest. It was proven true with my personal teaching experiences. One should not stick to one option if it doesn't work. Here are the motivating techniques which have been proven to work well with most students:

1. Relate local or national or international news items to some aspect of Earth Science. One may choose from a variety of items from the news. Some of the older news items and their impact on social/political life may also be of interest to students. Any news items relating to the following are generally welcomed by most students for class discussion: Earthquakes; Volcanoes; Tsunamis; Floods; Meteor Showers; and news items related to disasters - present or from past.

2. Pick a topic of common interest to most of the students, such as social or political problem that they are familiar with: nuclear power plants, illegal logging, global warming, consequences of urbanization; and mining. In my case, I used illegal logging, illegal fishing and mining as my point of focus because these issues are really happening in our locality.

3. Historical or biblical or religious locations and the geology associated with it: the Chasm at Delphi and the Apollo Temple in Greece and the vapors that emanates from the location; the geology of biblical areas such as the ones in Middle East; the Taj Mahal in India; the Pyramids in Egypt; the Great Wall of China; Niagara Falls and Grand Canyon in USA; Stories of Precious stones and gems; and any other similar ones.

4. Anecdotes from the scientific discoveries/contributions of great men/women of the past and present: Aristotle; Eratosthenes (measurement of the circumference of the earth); Ptolemy; Copernicus; Tycho Brahe; Johannes Kepler; Archimedes; Newton; Einstein; James Hutton; Charles Lyell; N. L. Bowen; Alfred Wegener; Harry Hess; and many more names that are worth mentioning in Earth Sciences.

5. Space exploration always fascinates students: anecdotes of Lunar exploration; Mars missions and life on Mars; Jupiter and its clouds and moons; discovery of new stars and other galaxies outside our own; and other similar explorations.

6. There are several facts that intrigue and fascinate most Earth Science students: a. Deepest mine in the world b. Deepest bore hole in the world c. Comparison of the above numbers with the radius of the Earth This can show them how little we know about the earth through direct observation. d. Compare these distances with the distance to the Moon These numbers can raise questions like "how come we did not go too far down inside the earth" and "how come we went almost quarter of a million miles to the moon". e. Latitude and longitude and their use in navigation and the time zones f. Deep sea drilling and the mid-fifties project to drill past Moho into the mantle g. The election of President John F. Kennedy and his pledge to land a man on the moon h. The theory of continental drift and the evidence for it i. The fascinating new theory of Plate Tectonics and its development

I used some of the items stated above and they worked for me in classrooms. Good general knowledge coupled with interest and knowledge of a variety of items in Earth Sciences "can help the teacher in getting the students enthused in the subject". As teacher, we should always bear in mind that Earth Science poses questions that are exciting as well as practical to children and adults alike.

Comprehension of the English Language

Provided that the students are well motivated in learning the subject, another problem comes in - how they will understand the instruction with the use of English language? It is an inevitable fact that most of my freshmen (first year) students do not understand spoken or written English. Those that can fairly understand belong to the first section but there are also students in the first section that cannot speak or write in English language correctly. This is really a problem because teaching Earth Science should be in English and all the references are written or published in English. It is also a known fact that English is the "Universal language of Science". Therefore, in imparting knowledge to students, teachers should use English as a medium of instruction. I must also admit that I am not perfect in terms of elaborating concepts with the use of English so what I did was use the vernacular in some part of my discussion. To maximize understanding of a certain concept, I translated some scientific terms into the students' vernacular so that they can fully understand what am I talking or explaining about.

In our school it was really noted that non-readers or readers with poor comprehension pull down the performance of the school during achievement test (Division, Regional or National). To partly solve the problem, if not totally eradicate, an Informal Reading Inventory (IRI) was conducted. This will gauge the reading level of the First Year students so that the school, especially the teachers can identify who among the students are non-readers or has poor reading comprehension. After the inventory it was found out that there are students with reading ability that is of Grade I level and there are really non-readers. So another burden is given to English teachers because aside from teaching their usual subject loads, they will do remedial classes for those students identified as non-readers or with poor reading comprehension. It is not only a burden for the English teachers but for other teachers as well who taught subjects with English as a medium of instruction. It should also be noted that poor or substantive English background slows down the process of scientific development because it is hard to understand scientific concepts while at the same time learning English language - this is learning two things simultaneously.

Discipline Inside the Classroom

In a classroom of more than fifty students or in some classroom sixty students, it is really important that discipline should always reign for maximum learning. In my first year of teaching, classroom discipline is really an issue for me. I easily got irritated by students who were noisy, always going outside the classroom without valid reasons, and students yelling or fighting with each other. But through reading books and attending seminars about classroom discipline, this problem was slowly been elucidated.

A well managed classroom will give the students rich opportunities for mental growth and development. Good classroom discipline produces favorable working conditions conducive to good learning and makes school work enjoyable and interesting. One aspect of the teacher's role under the concept of discipline is to help students practice self-control and to develop standards of individual values and activities that will be carried on regardless of whether the teacher or parent or someone else in authority is around or not.

The concept of discipline when I was still in my elementary years is really different as compared with modern concept of discipline which is based on democratic principles. A good discipline is one that develops self-direction and self-discipline rather than discipline based on compulsion and obedience. In addition, he laid emphasis on becoming familiar with the cause of violation of discipline in order that such causes may be minimized, if not prevented, and offenses may be more satisfactorily diagnosed and treated.

As facilitator of students' learning in Earth Science I should always bear in mind that classroom discipline is really one of the vital tools so that learning could be attained. It is an inevitable fact that the teacher can be an effective facilitator of learning only when there is discipline and proper classroom management in teaching-learning.

Making Use of Technology

The use of textbooks alone in imparting science concepts and processes is not enough. Any ordinary classroom on Earth is not the best place to observe interactions ranging in scale from solar system to the components of a cell. With just pure lectures, often learners are forced to create their own mental images to understand situations they cannot view directly. In many instances the result has been a misconception that takes on a reality of its own inside the students mind. Standard textbooks have been ineffective in changing these deeply rooted misconceptions. Students remain confused about topics involving basic spatial relationships such as the reason for the seasons. To solve this problem, there is persistent call for a teacher to be creative in his teaching and maximize the technology present.

To keep pace with the advancement of Science and Technology, teachers need to have creative and inquiring minds. Such thoughts and ideas "conceived by the inquiring minds" inspire and challenge the teacher to be creative. In connection with the call of being creative and to equate myself with the evolving technology, I constantly visit the World Wide Web so that I can make my lessons updated. This was not easy for me because the place where I've been teaching has no internet connection and only during weekends that I can browse the Internet for topics that need further elaboration through videos or flash animations. In addition, I used PowerPoint in order to make my lessons interactive to the students and I've found out that their interest in my lessons was elevated with the use of computers. Moreover, I was happy because our Principal really encouraged the use of PowerPoint in classroom instruction. In fact he proposed and spearheaded the implementation of Computer Aided Instruction (CAI) in the Division of Davao Oriental.


Students' Achievement

The first person that would feel happy in the achievement of students in terms of learning Earth Science is the teacher. I personally beam with pride when my students perform well during exams or on the top rank during contest related to Earth Science. It was remarkable for me when my two contestants for the 2008 Division Science Quiz held in San Isidro National High School ranked second and third respectively. I felt that this is my reward for exerting effort in reviewing students about science concepts not only through books but also from the information retrieved from the internet and by helping and teaching them how to use the computer in exploring the Encarta Encyclopedia. I also felt fulfilled when I see my students embraced positive attitudes in learning the subject. With this, I established in students' heart the love for Earth Science that could be very helpful in learning other sciences like Biology, Chemistry, and Physics. A course in earth sciences can provide to students an introduction to subject matter in all other sciences that illustrates their relevance and connections. With a strong foundation in Earth Science, students will no longer find difficulty in learning other sciences.

My Contribution in Nation-Building and for the Future

As a teacher in Earth Science, I can say that I have a great role in building a nation -- a nation that maximizes its resources but does not sacrifice the future. Our lives and civilization depend upon how we understand and manage our planet. Earth processes affect us all. Weather patterns influence the availability of water resources and the potential for earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, typhoons, and floods can kill large numbers of people and cause millions or even billions of pesos in property damage. If our students are well informed about those processes affecting our lives then they would be cautious in every actions they will do like cutting trees, burning too much fossil fuels, the use of aerosol sprays, etc. Every lesson in Earth science will somehow connect students to the past, as well as challenging them to think about the future.


Teaching Earth science in secondary school is not an easy task. A lot of challenges must be surmounted so that teaching-learning could be a pleasant experience for both the teachers and students. My first three years experiences in teaching the subject have really shaped my knowledge and attitudes towards the subject. Since my elementary years as a student, I still bring the passion and love in understanding the complex world of science. And now that I'm in the field, then it is my turn to permeate my enthusiasm in learning science subjects to my students especially during their first science subject in secondary education which is the earth science.

The earth sciences provide the best all-around introduction to science. The earth sciences integrate concepts from all other major disciplines of science, including biology, chemistry and physics. Thus, teaching of earth sciences throughout the elementary and secondary schools will promote scientific literacy in general.

Rabu, 13 September 2017

Dream World Science: We Will Need to Discard Materialism to Find a Theory of Everything

The hallmark of science is its willingness to discard outmoded theories when a better, more explanatory model comes along. But today, science practices this principle only within the paradigm of materialism. By this term I mean a model of the universe based upon the assumption that matter came before mind, that the universe and all living things are nothing but particles in motion, and that the world we see, from the tips of our fingers to the farthest galaxy, exists independently of the mind and operates beyond its control.

This materialistic model brings us the Big Bang theory, dark matter, dark energy, reductive materialism, and the search for the "God" particle in atom smashers and for the origin of life in test tubes.

Modern scientists use the model of materialism because they believe it is necessary to practice science. For example, in a classic article on quantum physics, entitled, "Can Quantum-Mechanical Description of Physical Reality Be Considered Complete?" the authors, Albert Einstein, Boris Podolsky, and Nathan Rosen, write, "Any serious consideration of a physical theory must take into account the distinction between the objective reality, which is independent of any theory, and the physical concepts with which the theory operates."

The late Ernst Mayr, one of history's leading biologists, expressed the subject this way:

"Despite the openness of science to new facts and hypotheses, it must be said that virtually all scientists-somewhat like theologians-bring a set of what we call "first principles" with them to the study of the natural world. One of these axiomatic assumptions is that there is real world independent of human perceptions. This might be called the principle of objectivity (as opposed to subjectivity) or common-sense realism. This does not mean that individual scientists are always "objective" or even that objectivity among human beings is possible in any absolute sense. What it does mean is that an objective world exists outside of the influence of subjective perception. Most scientists-though not all-believe in this axiom."

Even though the objective-world model is a popular viewpoint -- since everyone wants there to be a "real world independent of human perceptions" -- it does suffer from one notable flaw: no one has ever shown it is either true or necessary. Indeed, no one has shown that science cannot be practiced within a different conceptual model. If there is one criticism modern scientists deserve is that they have convinced the public at large that only within the materialistic model is the practice of science possible; using any other approach, they announce, veers off the road into unscientific religious dogma and new-age hocus-pocus.

Another drawback of the materialistic model is that it has forced modern science down a series of dead-end streets as it attempts to piece together a complete theory of the cosmos while being shackled by its own model. Here is a short list of the conundrums material science now faces:

    The origin of the matter and energy that exploded in the Big Bang
    The mechanism for inflation
    The source of the laws of nature
    The character and existence of dark matter and dark energy
    The difficulty of reconciling the particle/wave duality of quantum physics with objective reality
    The incompatibility between quantum physics and gravity
    The origin of life and the DNA molecule
    The origin of consciousness
    The manner in which nature's laws appear fine-tuned just so life can exist.

Despite these deep quandaries, modern theorists give no thought to the notion that the source of the problem might not be their incomplete understanding of a mind-independent material world, but rather the very model of materialism.

Would scientists be willing to try a new model of the universe if it explained more but made them discard many of their materialistic-based theories? Or, are modern scientists so wedded to the model of materialism that they would rather practice science within this comforting -- but ultimately false -- model rather than try something different that might ultimately explain more and lead to a better theoretical framework?

Suppose we took the view that matter emerged from mind rather than the other way around? If this alternative viewpoint is in fact true, should we ignore the world's make-up and go on practicing science only within the materialist model, or should we at least determine whether science can be practiced in this mind-generated, dream world and see where that leads us?

What is Science?

Science is commonly defined as "any system of knowledge that is concerned with the physical world and its phenomena and that entails unbiased observations and systematic experimentation. In general, a science involves a "pursuit of knowledge covering general truths or the operations of fundamental laws." Empirical science,

"seeks to explore, to describe, to explain, and to predict the occurrences in the world we live in. [Scientific] statements, therefore, must be checked against the facts of our experience, and they are acceptable only if they are properly supported by empirical evidence. Such evidence is obtained in many different ways: by experimentation, by systematic observations, by interviews, surveys, by psychological or clinical testing, by careful examination of documents, inscriptions, coins, archeological relics, and so forth."

Another feature of science is that seeks to furnish natural explanations for physical phenomena, as opposed to supernatural or immeasurable, untestable, or unverifiable explanations. This feature helps explain why scientists generally prefer Darwin over Genesis for accounting for the variety of life-forms present on the Earth: Darwin offered an explanation verifiable by observation; Genesis simply says God did it, without explaining how. As we will, we will not need to discard any of these features of science if we change to a mind-created or dream model of the cosmos.

Why the Independent World Assumption is False

There are several critical problems with materialism's assumption of a mind-independent world. But while modern scientists show no hesitation in questioning theories and ideas framed within the materialist model (such as string theory, multi-universes, or the many-worlds interpretation of quantum physics), they never once question the underlying assumption of their own materialistic model. This is the critical error of modern science.

The materialistic model is implausible for three fundamental reasons:

First, the history of philosophy teaches us a threshold fact about the mind that most people either ignore or have never thought about. This fact is that the mind is only capable of knowing about itself. Even under the tenets of modern science images of the (assumed) external world ultimately form in the mind; since we can only know the mind, we must assume that an independent world exists outside of the mind that is the cause of the mental ideas and images that form in the mind. Some view this question as a matter of sanity: how can someone actually question whether a world outside the brain exists? But this framing of the question mis-states the issue: We may not be able to tell the difference if the mind, instead of passively receiving images of an external world as in Locke's famous blank tablet, actively projects the external world like a grand, 3-D movie projector.

This particular question -- can the mind know anything other than itself -- was the subject of one of the great philosophical debates of all time, starting with the British empiricist John Locke and ending with the metaphysics of David Hume, Immanuel Kant, G.W.F. Hegel, Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich W.J. Schelling, and others. Even though the analytical inquiry ended with virtually all of these thinkers concluding that the mind can only know itself, the project ended with either solipsism (the world is all in my head) or some form of mysticism. Idealism was unable to solve the problem of the multiple dreamers: if the world is a dream, then do we each live in our own dream world?

If our entire scientific worldview is based upon knowing about a mind-independent world, when it is also true we cannot in fact know that world, then should not scientists at least exhibit a bit more humility when pronouncing their latest versions of the "theory of everything?" If, indeed, it is unalterably true that the mind can only know itself, then we might want to develop a science -- a methodological system of thought -- that accepts this principle as given?j

The second reason we should doubt materialism is a matter of common sense and leads many people to believe in a supernatural power: where did all this supposed "mind-independent" stuff come from? This very basic question is most directly presented in the Big Bang theory, materialism's version of a creation story. Under that theory, what we now perceive as the universe of stars began in a fiery blast of matter, space, and time roughly 14 billion years ago. To account for the trillions upon trillions of stars in the sky, scientists assume that at one time all of this matter was condensed into a primordial seed, also known as a "singularity. " To ask where all the stuff that makes up the universe comes from is the same as asking where the primordial seed came from since both contain the same amount of matter and energy.

Material scientists have done an impressive job of avoiding this critical weakness to the very foundation of the scientific enterprise. When pushed, some scientists talk about "quantum fluctuations" -- "vacuum energy"-- but these theories themselves also assume some sort of energy field, and most likely an observing mind. Some scientists, such as Nobel prize-winning physicist, Leon Lederman, are more candid on the topic:

"A story logically begins at the beginning. But this story is about the universe, and unfortunately there are no data for the Very Beginning. None, zero. We don't know anything about the universe until it reaches the mature age of a billionth of a trillionth of a second, that is, some very short time after creation in the Big Bang. When you read or hear anything abut the birth of the universe, someone is making it up. We are in the realm of philosophy. Only God knows what happened at the Very Beginning[.]"

Coming up with a logical, credible explanation for how enough matter to decorate the heavens sprang from the dark void is no simple task, and close enough to impossible to in fact be impossible. And again, that material scientists have no explanation for how this miracle happened should create more humility on their part than it has.

The third reason to doubt seriously the independent-world assumption of material science concerns the laws of nature. The material world, as we know, follows precise and predictable laws, such as gravity, the laws of motion, electricity, gases, and chemistry, which are describable in the language of mathematics, constant and regular. But once science disconnects mind from matter, this mind, the only intelligent force in the universe over which we have direct knowledge, can give matter no help in arranging itself into the laws of nature. The quest for the source to the laws of nature -- or the source of mathematical constancy -- remains one of science's greatest challenges.

The Independent World Assumption Leads Scientists Astray

It can be seen that many of science's more bizarre theories result from its adherence to a materialistic conception of reality. It is as if any twist or contortion to a theory is permissible so long as it is framed within the material science worldview. This practice simply perpetuates a foundational error.

In some theories, such as the Big Bang theory, material scientists simply assume the necessary (near-infinite) amount of matter and energy to fill out the theory. But other theories show how scientists encounter multi-layered puzzles when, after having made the independent-world assumption, they then use it to explain other phenomena. For example, one outcome of the standard Big Bang model is that scientists have no credible explanation -- other than plain coincidence -- for why the wildly chaotic Big Bang led to a universe that is almost completely flat; specifically a universe in which the repulsive force from the Big Bang precisely cancels out the attractive force of the exploding stellar debris (the "flatness problem"). Nor does the standard Big Bang model explain why vastly separate regions of outer space have exactly the same temperature, when there is no physical means for the separate regions to have shared information. (the "horizon problem.") Rather than view these two critical problems in their theories as rooted in the unnecessary independent-world assumption, material scientists use them as reasons to devise more complicated theories requiring more ad-hoc assumptions.

Thus, their solution to the critical problems in the standard Big Bang model is the inflationary Big Bang theory. With this convenient modification, the universe just so happened to inflate by a factor of 10E51(the number 10 with 51 zeros after it) in 10E-36 seconds -- and then paused to track the normal expansion of the universe predicted by the Big Bang. This wild expansion occurred in an unimaginably brief time -- one-billionth of the time it takes light to cross the distance of an atomic nucleus. Inflation allows scientists to maintain the materialist model by using a wildly speculative, ad hoc concept as the solution for the flatness and horizon problems.

Of course if scientists did not make the independent world assumption in the first place they would have no need to make matters worse by resorting to the unrestrained speculation of the inflationary universe model.

A remarkable feature of nature is that its laws appear finely tuned just so life can exist. This observation, known generally as the anthropic principle, strongly suggests that "something is going on:" the deeper scientists delve into the fundamental constants of the physical world, the more it appears as if some force turned the dials to the precise settings just so life can exist.

To escape the mystical overtones of the anthropic principle, some scientists (most notably Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow in their book, The Grand Design) have advanced theories which predict that inflation caused not one but 10E500 universes to spring from the void. (Of, course, so far we have found firm evidence for only one of these many universes, which seems to be enough.) In one of these multiple universes, the authors explain, the laws of nature would have turned out just so life can exist. But, again, if the one universe we see is in fact mind-created, we would have no need to postulate the existence of 10E500 other ones to explain the odd fit between humans and the universe.

Another example of how the independent-world assumption creates untold difficulties for material science theory comes from the field of biology and concerns the origin of life. Having disconnected mind from matter in their theories, material scientists are left to speculate how mindless residue from the Big Bang arranged itself into intricate workings of living cell, including the codes of the DNA molecule.

According to Occam's razor, the fewer assumptions in a theory the better the theory. Would not then a theory that explained the world without making the independent world assumption be a better theory than one which does make the assumption?

Science is supposed to be the emotionally detached search for truth. If a better theory came along that managed to explain the physical phenomena of the world without the independent world assumption of material science, would not this theory at least deserve a look? In different words, if the metaphysical assumption of material science is not true, it would be necessary to re-work many of its theories, but it would not eliminate the field of science. Instead it would re-orient science upon a stronger footing, while also joining the field of science with philosophy and religion.

Material science is like an extremely slow, diligent portrait artist who insists that his model remain perfectly still throughout the lengthy session; to capture the moment, the artist, like material science, must assume the model is independent of the artist's creative powers; he is painting a figure of the natural world; fixed, self-sustaining; independent. In the same way, scientists objectify the physical world because they believe doing so is necessary to study it.

In summary, material scientists assume the independence and objectivity of the natural world (e.g., stars, planets, living bodies) to study its composition, movements, and history, and their test results indeed show the unchanging nature of the physical world.

Science Remains the Best Approach for Finding Truth in a Mind-Generated World.

But both of these elements of scientific knowledge remain in place if the source of the external world is the united mind as opposed to some mysterious, energy-generating external force (whatever caused the Big Bang per the creation theory of material science.) Scientists can still assume the independent existence of external objects in order to study them. They can still calculate the regularity of the planetary orbits; falling projectiles; spiraling galaxies; electrical forces; gas pressures; chemical reactions; quantum mechanics; and virtually every other physical force or life process. But in the end the picture they draw is a self-portrait. What changes is simply our perspective and the depth of our understanding.

Of course, viewing the world as a dream or mind-created will alter certain theories of modern science but it will not change the fundamental purpose of science which is to describe the workings of the physical world according to coherent theories. In the end, explanations of the existence and regularity of the external world lead to the mind as the ultimate cause, but it does not change the fundamental task of cataloguing the regularities of nature.

Science in a Dream

If the universe we live in is indeed a dream, then there is no doubt that some theories of modern science will need to be overturned, and others overhauled, while some remain unchanged.

Among the theories that must be overturned completely are those dealing with what might be called quasi-creative processes, such as the Big Bang theory (including the inflationary theory), galaxy formation, dark matter and dark energy. Why each of these theories will need to be overturned outright may be self-explanatory.

For example, the Big Bang would be false because the universe of stars would not have originated from a mind-independent force, but as a projection of the mind. Accordingly, science would have no need to resort to the radical inflationary Big Bang theory in order to account for the present universe of stars. Note here, by the way, that science does not end by simply saying "well it's all in the mind, so who cares about anything else?" Rather, we look at the stars and wonder how this particular arrangement appeared in the form it did: why did the Mind create this particular universe, rather than another one?

Dark matter, another peculiar theory, also goes by the wayside. Dark matter is an add-on assumption used to account for the observed lack of the necessary gravitational mass to hold galaxies -- and thus the universe -- together. Dark energy, another unobservable force, would also be unnecessary. This mysterious force has been presented as a means to account for the observed accelerated expansion of the universe. The problem with dark energy, like dark matter, is that scientists cannot observe a physical source for the repulsive force. But again, if the universe is mind-created, the fact that far-away galaxies appear to be drifting away at an accelerated speed may show, among other things, the mind in a constant state of creation, or in fact nothing at all.

Now the point here, it must be remembered, is not (yet) to prove that in fact the world is a dream, but to remove any resistance against "dream-theory" based on a fear that science can no longer be practiced. No such thing happens. Instead, viewing the world as a dream simply eliminates many of the unnecessary assumptions of modern science and dispenses with its most bizarre theories.

In addition to eliminating materialism's beginning-of-the-world theories, dream-theory also eliminates materialism's end-of-the world theories. These theories are based upon the sun running out of fuel and dying, the universe reversing its expansion and retracting into a Big Crunch, or some other theory modeled after an aging machine. Now, if the world is instead mind-created, the "out-of-fuel" scenario is no longer valid because the sun and other stars in the sky are ultimately fueled by the mind's desire to live and dream, not by the quantity of hydrogen in the star's core.

Medical science is another field of material science that will have to undergo dramatic modification if the world turns out to be a dream. This one we should rejoice over. As noted, the underlying assumption of material science is that the physical world exists outside of the mind and operates beyond its control. This supposed independent physical world includes the human body. As most of us know, medical science, contrary to quite a lot of evidence, assumes that the human body operates on its own accord and is unaffected by any positive or negative thought in the mind. This is why science tells us that no matter how much we believe otherwise, we are doomed to wrinkle and die; and, of course, if the human body is a machine independent of the mind, this thinking is likely true.

But if the world is a dream, then the entire physical world, including the human body, would be a projection of the mind, and therefore controlled ultimately by the mind. This simple fact would explain the workings of the "powerful placebo," and the long history -- though mostly anecdotal -- of how strong belief heals.

Now on this point, one would need to question why a material scientist, and for that matter anyone, would at least not consider the truth of dream theory. Like Pascal's famous wager that it is better to believe in God than not, just in case one really exists, so one might want to place a few chips on the space marked "dream theory" just in case the world really is a dream. Upon further thought, it might even be wiser to go "all in" on dream theory, as the rewards may very well be limited only by the imagination.

Jumat, 01 September 2017

Science for Kids - How to Teach Kids About Science

Science education is a gradual process, and early childhood is a perfect time to begin learning science. Many parents are uncomfortable with math and science themselves, so they avoid these subjects with their kids. But don't let your own fears stop you. Teaching science to your kids doesn't have to be hard. And it can actually be fun for both of you.

Children learn best through practical, hands-on activities. You can use everyday tasks and simple projects to help your kids develop a love for science. Give them lots of opportunities to experience science in a relaxed way, through games and fun activities.

Don't expect very young children to understand and grasp difficult or abstract concepts. Focus science lessons on things kids can touch, taste, hear, see and smell. Their natural curiosity will drive them to want to learn more.

Kids love to discover new and interesting facts about the world around them. They like to ask questions about how things work. Asking questions helps them make connections between things that they have experienced in practice. You may get tired of all those questions, but try to be patient.

You should encourage these questions, even if you don't know the answers yourself. In those situations, you should not invent an explanation. Tell them "Let's find out together" and it can lead to some wonderful quality time spent with your child. Search online for answers, or take a trip to the local library. And if you don't find a satisfying answer to a particular question, then be honest about that, too. It's OK to let kids know that scientists don't know everything about how the world works, and that there are some scientific questions that still need to be answered.

When you get tired of answering questions, turn it around and ask your child some simple questions. Then, encourage their creativity by giving them an opportunity to discover the answers themselves. Asking questions also gives you a better idea about their knowledge of a topic.

How can you use everyday tasks and activities to teach kids science? Here are a few examples:

The kitchen and cooking provide many wonderful opportunities. Talk about solids, liquids and gases using water as an example. Explain freezing and boiling points. While cooking, show them how to follow a recipe and make accurate measurements. Demonstrate how yeast causes bread to rise, and the many ways cooking changes food.

Turn a light on, and explain how light bulbs work, what electricity is and how it gets to your house. While dusting and vacuuming, explain where the dust comes from. Water the plants, and explain why plants need water and light to live, and how they make oxygen for us to breathe. At the gas station, talk about how cars work and where the gas comes from.

Toys are great tools to teach kids about science. You can buy simple science toys and kits, or create your own easy science projects. Make a vinegar-baking soda "volcano." Drop a mentos candy in a diet cola. Make paper airplanes. Design a balloon "hovercraft." When toys break, let your kids open them up (under your supervision) to find out what's inside and how those toys work.

A field trip provides an excellent opportunity for science learning. Take children to a park, zoo, lake, seashore or some other place in nature. Let them get dirty, touching and exploring the environment. Point out different plants and animals, natural features of the land, cloud formations, stars and the moon, etc. Take them to one of the many wonderful hands-on science museums. Go to the library and let them browse through the children's science section for books that interest them.

There are countless teachable opportunities every day. Remember, it's OK if you don't know the answers now. Just plan ahead, and take a few minutes to look it up.

Science education is very important for kids and has many benefits. They will expand their curiosity, develop a love for learning, and exercise critical thinking skills. And they will be ready for the many challenges ahead.