What IS this thing called SCIENCE?

It would seem to be a good place to start with a definition of science, although definitions always eventually bring up difficulties. They have usefulness within restricted discussions and should be abandoned or rejigged in cases of failure to reach agreement

Such definitions as
WiS1

SciDef2jpg

do not help the person first trying to understand if that person has little knowledge including that of scientific method.

It MAY be helpful to think that science is not a ‘body’ –a group of scientists or a set of words and diagrams in a textbook, but to understand  that it is a set of processes

It is always important to distinguish the processes of science from the actual conclusions from these processes. Processes can be refined and conclusions changed.

In this blog, we will try to consider science as a
‘Set of Processes’

Continue reading What IS this thing called SCIENCE?

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SAFETY FIRST, not FIRST SAFETY

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It is noticeable that this section is not the first that you read in this blog. However so far we have only been setting the direction. NOW comes realisation of dangers that can follow.
It is perfectly possible to get the idea of science methods using NON Hazardous materials indeed without using materials at all. The ‘thought experiment’ is most valuable.
It is true that in general the dangers involved in doing your own science possibly without supervision ARE VERY GREAT. The dangers are twofold. One to the experimenter and second to anyone who encouraged you along the path that led to the danger. Hence for my safety the inclusion of these warnings… all the time, of course NOT telling you what to do or trying not to.

I shall say two things

1 Try out science techniques and methods with anything other than chemicals – especially corrosive – skin eating, flammable or explosives, biochemical hazardous materials and voltages above 20volts. Not everything dangerous has these labels on.
Hazard Symbols
Avoid the Spectacular -fizzes, flashes and bangs except as demonstrations by trained Scientists or under strict supervision by the same. Safety awareness comes from active thought BEFORE active engagement. Accidents can change you life.
2 Science is a SOCIAL activity i.e. scientists share their thoughts, collaborate and give their results to the world. You are invited to tell the world of your ideas –OK your friend, colleague, Mum or Dad will do at first. Let them check your ideas and expose them to the light of reason and previous knowledge which [Admit it] you do not have.

IF YOU HAVE NOT TALKED YOUR PLANS OVER WITH ANOTHER OLDER OR MORE EXPERIENCED PERSON……

…..DO NOT DO IT

NB That was occasion #1 on this blog where you were told what to do or rather what NOT to do.

As a teacher my worst experience involved a boy in my Chemistry class who went alone to the woods with an iron tube, a nail, a hammer and some chemical powders. He came back with one less finger and fewer opportunities for work in his life. Further Reading:-
http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/science/edexcel_pre_2011/chemicalreactions/chemicalsinthelabandhomerev2.shtml

ABOUT ME

I  have always believed in making science more human, personal and understood. I am a person who in my 77th year is at last realising how to possibly increase implementation of these ideas.
Further, SCIENCE IS FOR EVERYONE, ALL THE TIME, EVERY UNIVERSE.
I was brought up in British comprehensive education followed by a degree at Liverpool University in Chemistry and Metallurgy ; All my teaching has been in the 11 to 18rs age range and reached scholarship standards ; Served as a Chemistry teaching assistant in 3 grammar schools [one abroad] and 2 private schools ; acted as a co-author in two Chemistry books which were support for the Nuffield science scheme, Acted as an assistant GCSE and CSE examiner ; Assisted in the dissemination throughout the HOME counties of the Nuffield A level Chemistry course; Gained an M.A in Education at Reading University. Most importantly I spent 30 years as the Head of Chemistry at Reading’s first comprehensive teaching using where possible Nuffield Chemistry. All the while bringing up 3 children of our own and helped with 5 grandchildren. ‘Retirement Careers’ included Social Interviewing, stress management and computer based training.
I have learned most from teaching the Nuffield Science schemes – not available when I was a pupil – and from all those brave children, mostly in my comprehensive schools who asked “Please sir, what do I do next?”. Nuffield Science has IMO given the greatest responsibility to pupils in drawing conclusions from investigations – but not across the full spectrum of abilities – as I would have wished.
Further reading :
1. A wider list of my activities are best found by looking up my page in the LINKED IN application. I am on Facebook and on Twitter as @mcflewster.
2. http://www.nuffieldfoundation.org/curriculum-projects

VIDEO DISCUSSION: Important points about CHANGE and UNCERTAINTY

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There is a lot to be gained by changing the public perception of science. If this blog points out some of the blockages preventing change then perhaps society will change naturally as science is a natural set of process anyway. It is worthwhile looking at the principles the teachers behind this video used to try out the experiments with the children in their rare but not unique style. *Phrases in Blue with asterisks* are taken straight from the video. I should like them to underpin a lot of your thinking about the rest of this blog. IMPORTANT: Did you try out the game at the start of the video?

*EVERYTHING begins with perception*

*Perception underpins everything we believe ….our hopes, our dreams, the clothes we wear, falling in love,…*

*Perception is grounded in our experience*

*Perception begins with a Question*

SCIENCE ALSO DOES

Will there ever be a mass change of perception in the public view by looking AWAY from their own science education or lack of it? How fundamental does this change of perception have to be? Why do some scientists and educators think that their own science education should be good enough for everyone?

*BOTH PLAY and SCIENCE*
• *Celebrate Uncertainty*
• *Adaptable to change*
• *Open to possibility*
• *Co-operative*
• *Intrinsically motivated*

*SCIENCE IS A WAY OF BEING*

*An experiment ‘is’ a game*

*Anything new and we step into the space of uncertainty*

WHERE I WOULD DISAGREE is:-

*Uncertainty is a bad thing*

Perhaps though this is more my personal view because I have accepted the LIMITATIONS OF SCIENCE and the reproducible prediction that we can never be sure of anything.

BUT SCIENCE,

I BELIEVE, GIVES US THE BEST CERTAINTY WE CAN CURRENTLY GET AND THE TIME UNLIMITED HOPE THAT WE WILL GET EVEN BETTER CERTAINTY

When I am criticised for my untidiness I say to myself

“You need a little bit of chaos in order to know how to control it”,
and indeed I often, not always, enjoy the processes of tidying and the feeling you get after ‘A spring clean’. Certainly for a scientist the start of a new experiment is the start of a possible new realisation and a possible new ‘chapter’ in your own personal development. Indeed the phrase *Celebrate Uncertainty* is used above and that is where the blog is aiming.

WILL THIS BLOG GIVE MORE PEOPLE, ALL PEOPLE THAT’ EUREKA FEELING?
ONLY THROUGH TACKLING ONE’S PERSONAL UNCERTAINTIES

Why this? “IMPORTANT: Did you try out the game at the start of the video?” [above]…… because it is important to test and know your own “game readiness”.

ENJOY THE REST OF THE BLOG!