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How to teach the origin of science - Thales

  1. Jul 11, 2013 #1
    Hello, everyone!

    I have some education problems about how to teach(or share?) child the origin of science.
    By the way, I'm Taiwanese so my English talking ability may not be good...

    I've studied so many physics educational theses, history of physics and philosophy..and realize the importance of history of science. Recently, in next week, I'll teach a 13 year-old girl science. It's her first time to learn science seriously so that I want to make it as perfect as possible.

    I discuss some ideas with myself as the following:

    Q:What's important to me if I want to learn something seriously?
    A:Tell me the reason why I "should" learn and persuade me.
    Q:What kind of things do I should learn?
    A:Something benefits my life.

    Afterwards, I found I need to let her know HOW science is closely related to life, HOW human beings created "science". I want to show her the differences between science, myth and religion. In addition, I think the information on the textbook is not good. Most of the science textbooks treat history of science just as "stories". It's not a good way to use history of science to teach students the way to discover nature, ask good question, reasoning from known facts. Instead, it makes science far away from our life experience, just like myths.

    So, I want to teach her how ancient people thought about sky, stone, and all natural phenomenon. Try to use these history facts make her know what myth is, what kind of attitude the ancient people take towards the nature. Next, I'll introduce her the leap of Thales. What's the significance of Thales's thought about nature? What is reasoning? How does Thales's thoughts affect the human beings? And finally, what exactly is science? HOW do we benefit from science?

    I plan to teach her the contemporary science knowledge until all of the above ideas are practiced and completed.

    However.... I'm not confident. I can't find someone else who does something like this on the web. I'm not sure if I can do it well. And I don't know how to imagine what kind of problems I'll meet on the class.
    I need someone who have this kind of experience to share some ideas and thoughts with me.
    Please give me some suggestions....

    Please help me! Thank you very much!!!!!..
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 11, 2013 #2
    I think it's very important to have a good interaction between teacher and student. With that I mean, you should actively try to find out what she finds interesting, and then go into that and use those things as examples.

    I'm sure you have a lot of ideas right now, but you should be flexible and realize that these ideas should all change by getting to know her personal interests, and by things she knows already.

    Furthermore, science is experimental in nature. So don't shy away from doing experiments. Don't restrict yourself to only theory and saying only facts, but do bring things into practice. The best thing you should do is that science are not just a collection of facts that people made up, but that it is something that we can verify ourselves experimentally.
  4. Jul 11, 2013 #3
    Thank you very much!!! You're right! It's very important to have a good interaction between teacher and student. It's also troubling me now. I'm not familiar with her... I'll do experiments and thank you for encouraging me!

    Hmm...How about telling her why "science" exists? Okay...maybe she won't have that kind of problem. After all, she's just a kid used to accept things blindly...
  5. Jul 11, 2013 #4
    It's ok not to be familiar with her. But you should try to interact as well as possible. So get to know her by asking good open questions. Try to get her to say what her personal philosophy is. Don't focus only on questions with a right and a wrong answer.

    The best thing you can possibly do is to get her to stop accepting things blindly. Get her to start thinking critically about things. If you can at least do that, then you achieved something remarkable.
  6. Jul 30, 2013 #5


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    Not everyone at that age has the maturity to see the point of all those lovely and ambitious things you want to put over. Or maybe it is the opposite, it is at a later age that the attitude 'Francis Bacon? - what's this guy got to do with passing the physics exam?' attitude sets in. Not to mention parents. So you will have to be, as micromass suggests, flexible.

    Don't forget scientific experiments are in truth often a long way from what people think of as 'Nature'. Maybe the more dramatic and colourful ones should at first be preferred over 'instructive'!
  7. Nov 3, 2013 #6
    I have recently read one book Conceptual Physics, which really shed light on the relation between daily life and physics. This book benefit me a lot even I'm now a senior student in physics.
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