Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Atmoz and the kids or

how your child can contribute to the science of climate change
Atmoz came across some guidelines for teaching climate change and was unimpressed. As a commenter pointed out such is the nature of teaching standards. Atmoz also lays one across Steve Mc who is demanding that there be lots of equations in explanations of the greenhouse effect. Still, what concerns Eli is Atmoz' point
I’m glad to see that they specifically have weather mentioned as a topic in their science curriculum. However, it’s almost exactly as I expected for a fourth-grade level. The science being taught is “observe and describe”. Observations are very important to understanding science. However, how are 4th graders going to observe climate change in one school year? They especially aren’t going to observe global climate change.
It turns out that kids can do a lot (or at least something) about observing climate change and good science if you can link them together, something the GLOBE program has been trying to do for a number of years linking together students and classrooms in over 110 countries with earth scientists.

What students can do of course, is make observations, lots of them, also known as ground truth, and they can do it simultaneously at a lot of places, worldwide as it were, and these observations can be linked to satellite measurements. The results can be processed and fed back to the classroom. Carefully formulated lessons before and after the activities give the students context and teach them about the why and wherefore.

GLOBE at night is a simple project that has been running for a while. The map above shows the locations that reported in 2006. GLOBE at night is
a global campaign during 25 February - 8 March 2008, to observe and record the magnitude of visible stars as a means of measuring light pollution in a given location. GLOBE at Night is an easy observation and reporting activity that takes approximately 15-30 minutes to complete
and can be done by families, classes, indeed anyone.

There are many other activities available. You can get a flavor for them and how they contribute to earth science by reading through the Seasons and Biomes entry survey. Here is a more local malaria project being piloted by GLOBE


TCO said...

Students should concentrate on learning fundamentals. At fourth grade, most science is a waste of time.

EliRabett said...

Eli disagrees, yes, the bunnies need to eat their cabbage, but they need some context and motivation which is what GLOBE is good at. Part of the problem is that kids conceptualize things differently than adults (posted on this a while ago, I have to find the link), sort of the way that non technical people think about how computers work and this is very hard to change if you don't do it early.

Eli spent yesterday telling Ms. Rabett that you don't have to open Word to move a document file. Didn't work.

BTW, enjoyed your posts on the other thread,

EliRabett said...

found it :)

TCO said...

Shift gears for a second: Do you think that calculus books should be updated? Or that one can learn just as well (the content, pedagically, etc. etc.) from a 1940s book?

EliRabett said...

I'm with Wolfram on that. I think that Mathematica and Maple (and ugh Mathcad) have fundamentally shifted the game in the same way that calculators did in the 70s. One of my favorite sites when I teach pchem is integrals.com. This drives Calc more in the direction of Apostle which is also scummy. I'm also now of the opinion that linear algebra is of more use than calculus, at least Calc III or Diff Eq the later being nothing more than a bag of tricks anyhow.

TCO said...

I remember those "combined" calc/computer classes in the 80s. Those things were gawdawful. Of course maybe we've reached a tipping point. Computers are like that. Touted for more than what they deliver for a long time and eventually catching up. (Read Silicon Snake Oil).

A. what's your favorite freshman chem text?
B. Please rank Zumdahl; Stanitski Slowinski and whatsername; and Oxtaby and Nachtright. (sorry if I have names wrong, but it's been a while and I'm drinking.)