Unscientific American | The way we are taught science in school from grade school to college

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  • #36
gmax137
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I'm not really arguing for more experiments

OK, then I guess I don't get your point. If you are now a degreed EE, you should be able to find, read, and understand more advanced materials (textbooks, papers, whatever) to answer questions you may have as to "fundamentals." Learning doesn't end when you hang the diploma on the wall. It is just starting.

I'm just saying that fundamentals are just that fundamentals and you can't progress without having a deep understanding. I get that not everyone has the time to research this stuff, my problem is with academics, why teach me stuff when you don't even teach the fundamentals. why talk about integrals Fourier transforms when we don't even fully grasp an understanding of ohm's law.

I think you have this backwards when it comes to "science." The understanding of fundamentals becomes more deep the further you go, not the other way round. That's the point of the Feynman story about magnets. The more you know, the more you realize you don't know.
 
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  • #37
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I'm using it to prove a point. I hope that's ok. I'd rather not take this to another thread.
That's fine, but answers here need to be about the teaching methods topic and not about the Ohm's law topic.
 
  • #38
fresh_42
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Do you think that the way we are taught science in school from grade school to college is unscientific?
Honestly? No.
Thanks :)
I do not understand this comment. I said, no, I do not think it is unscientific.

Could it be that you are less interested in correcting your false position than you are in looking for confirmation, even if it is to the price of misinterpretations? Your position cannot be held. I thought I had elaborated why.
 
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  • #39
This is absolutely 100% not the problem! The teacher is teaching a class and is not on trial. There is no “proven guilty” involved and such language is unacceptably adversarial!

The problem is not the authority or accuracy of the teacher. The problem is that this method of teaching teaches students the results of the scientific method without teaching them how to do the scientific method. They wind up with knowledge from the past but no skills to gain future scientific knowledge on their own.

What you say is a problem with science education is simply an attitude problem on your part. The teacher is not on trial, nor are you. There are no charges of murder nor any prosecution. It is not the teacher’s job to make a case beyond reasonable doubt, nor are the students a jury. Your attitude towards the classroom is horrible, and your choice of analogy is both inappropriate and telling.

Why do you think its acceptable for me to say that teachers statements are basically true until proven guilty.

OK, then I guess I don't get your point. If you are now a degreed EE, you should be able to find, read, and understand more advanced materials (textbooks, papers, whatever) to answer questions you may have as to "fundamentals." Learning doesn't end when you hang the diploma on the wall. It is just startin

My point is that if an electrical engineering graduate still has questions about ohm's law (I'm not the only one, in fact I'm in the same boat as 99% of the people I know), then we really aren't teaching science in school. I get that you should continue learning, but you need foundation first, and I don't think schools provided that.

I think you have this backwards when it comes to "science." The understanding of fundamentals becomes more deep the further you go, not the other way round. That's the point of the Feynman story about magnets. The more you know, the more you realize you don't know.

I disagree because ohm's law is a fundamental law. You will struggle with semiconductors if you don't grasp ohm's law. Sure you're knowledge will get deeper as time goes on but only if you have a solid foundation.[/QUOTE]
 
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My point is that fundamentally the scientific method isn't being used and that people just memorize information
I'm not really arguing for more experiments
Sounds like you are being inconsistent here. Using the scientific method requires experiments. You cannot argue for more use of the scientific method and not for more experiments!
 
  • #41
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Why do you think its acceptable for me to say that teachers statements are basically true until proven guilty.
I don’t think it is acceptable. Language like that is adversarial and toxic to a classroom.
 
  • #42
I do not understand this comment. I said, no, I do not think it is unscientific.

Could it be that you are less interested in correcting your false position than you are in looking for confirmation, even if it is to the price of misinterpretations? Your position cannot be held. I thought I had elaborated why.

I was just saying thanks for your comment. I never said I agree with you. I didn't think I needed to reply since I keep repeating what I said, but I'll repeat it for you.

I'm not saying you can't take any fact from another scientist and use it. What I am saying is when you're learning science the fundamentals should be solid and that we really don't teach the fundamentals we just make people memorize them. Again OHMS law. if you don't know ohms law then I'm not really sure what you know about electricity.


Sounds like you are being inconsistent here. Using the scientific method requires experiments. You cannot argue for more use of the scientific method and not for more experiments!

I'm not asking for experiments, I"m asking for REASONING. Experiments help but they are not the end all be all. I'm saying that the reasoning for the fundamental laws are very weak or just plainly memorizing.
 
  • #43
gmax137
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My point is that if an electrical engineering graduate still has questions about ohm's law (I'm not the only one, in fact I'm in the same boat as 99% of the people I know)

But you do know *what* Ohm's law says, right? And you know how to use it, right? I'm guessing you don't know "why" it works? Or why it "really" works? And your issue is, nobody ever answered those "why" questions?
 
  • #44
Dr. Courtney
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A lot of science education in the US is moving away from an approach emphasizing experimental data and the careful logical path from experiment to theories. This has two main components:
1. Moving away from citing published data (usually of historical significance) that supports the key ideas. One may not have enough time to do original lab experiments for every key idea in a course, but teachers should be able to point to the original (or repeated experimental) data and reasoning for any key idea they teach.
2. Moving away from testing hypotheses that relate to key concepts in laboratories and requiring careful analysis and reasoning relating to whether the experiment and resulting data supported the hypothesis. Time limits the number of possible experiments, but enough should be done so that students internalize the logical, data driven process in cases where historical data is used rather than original lab experiments. No more worksheets! Lab reports with data analysis and conclusions relating to the hypothesis under test.

This outcome has resulted from an emphasis on scientific "facts" on many standardized tests. We need more teaching and accountability for the process of science and less on the consensus results.
 
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  • #45
But you do know *what* Ohm's law says, right? And you know how to use it, right? I'm guessing you don't know "why" it works? Or why it "really" works? And your issue is, nobody ever answered those "why" questions?

I do know what Ohm's law says and I do know how to use it. It's really more of what does it mean. Like what is current and and what is a voltage. You really have to read a history book to get a historical view of how they thought of these concepts. I do know the answer and actually it's really easy to show, there is nothing complicated about it, but it just drives me crazy when people just can't simply say I don't know. They just insist that ohm's law is true without themselves being able to prove it (another word is that they have faith, although they probably don't like that word).

My real point is that we are a faith based science when such fundamentals are not understood. I didn't want to say this at the start but people here already make it look like I'm not humble. I think the real problem is that physics has become just another math course. Somewhere in 1920-1940 professor started to write books that required heavy use of mathematics whereas before more focus was on experiments. Not that experiments were everything but they helped in reasoning certain laws. Before that time it was a If you actually read physics books from 1800-1910 you will see that most of the math was just algebra used in physics but they had a real understanding of physics. My other point is that by understanding how ohm's law came about you will not understand how laws are discovered. You sure as hell won't be able to understand electromagnetic waves.

Its just very interesting how we see science in modern times to how they viewed science in 1800's.
 
  • #46
ZapperZ
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Why do you think its acceptable for me to say that teachers statements are basically true until proven guilty.



My point is that if an electrical engineering graduate still has questions about ohm's law (I'm not the only one, in fact I'm in the same boat as 99% of the people I know), then we really aren't teaching science in school. I get that you should continue learning, but you need foundation first, and I don't think schools provided that.



I disagree because ohm's law is a fundamental law. You will struggle with semiconductors if you don't grasp ohm's law. Sure you're knowledge will get deeper as time goes on but only if you have a solid foundation.

Ohm’s law is NOT a fundamental law! It is violated often.

Zz.
 
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  • #47
gmax137
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Its just very interesting how we see science in modern times to how they viewed science in 1800's.

Well I think maybe you have some things right and some others not so much.

wiki said:
Ohm's law was probably the most important of the early quantitative descriptions of the physics of electricity. We consider it almost obvious today. When Ohm first published his work, this was not the case; critics reacted to his treatment of the subject with hostility. They called his work a "web of naked fancies" and the German Minister of Education proclaimed that "a professor who preached such heresies was unworthy to teach science." The prevailing scientific philosophy in Germany at the time asserted that experiments need not be performed to develop an understanding of nature because nature is so well ordered, and that scientific truths may be deduced through reasoning alone.
from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohm's_law (emphasis added). Sounds more like Plato &co. rather than "German science" doesn't it?
 
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  • #48
fresh_42
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I'm not asking for experiments, I"m asking for REASONING.
Now we get to the point! To learn does not free you from thinking. Of course you should always ask why, but you must not look for a spoonfed answer from your teacher. Ask yourself! It has never been easier to search for additional or background information.

Let me give you an easy example. You have been told at school that 1+1=2. What do you else expect to be taught?

  • Where does this come from?
    You are free to break it down to the very nature of natural numbers, down to sets and Peano. But in class there is no time for it.
  • Is it always the case?
    No, it is not. You are free to ask about a solution 1+1=0 and learn about the characteristic of a number field, groups and rings. But to introduce those things if counting is taught would end up in confusion.
  • Why is it 2?
    You can think about the nature of binary operations as well as the meaning of numbers.
  • Why this sign?
    Feel free to learn everything about the signs we use today and how they found their way into our classrooms. Hint: start in India.
Nobody prevents you from doing all these and as mentioned, you won't even have to go to the library nowadays. Your smartphone will do. Learning does not mean to explain everything to the very basics. It means to give you a guidance where and how to find more! It is an enabler, not baby mash.
 
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  • #49
Ohm’s law is NOT a fundamental law! It is violated often.

It is in circuit design. Plus you didn't explain ohm's law.

from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ohm's_law (emphasis added). Sounds more like Plato &co. rather than "German science" doesn't it?

To be fair I only read American English university physics books.




Now we get to the point! To learn does not free you from thinking. Of course you should always ask why, but you must not look for a spoonfed answer from your teacher. Ask yourself! It has never been easier to search for additional or background information.

Let me give you an easy example. You have been told at school that 1+1=2. What do you else expect to be taught?

  • Where does this come from?
    You are free to break it down to the very nature of natural numbers, down to sets and Peano. But in class there is no time for it.
  • Is it always the case?
    No, it is not. You are free to ask about a solution 1+1=0 and learn about the characteristic of a number field, groups and rings. But to introduce those things if counting is taught would end up in confusion.
  • Why is it 2?
    You can think about the nature of binary operations as well as the meaning of numbers.
  • Why this sign?
    Feel free to learn everything about the way of the signs we use today. Hint: start in India.
Nobody prevents you from doing all these and as mentioned, you won't even have to go to the library nowadays. Your smartphone will do. Learning does not mean to explain everything to the very basics. It means to give you a guidance where and how to find more! It is an enabler, not baby mash.

Why not give us the explanation for ohm's law directly. Why go to hypotheticals. I clearly stated ohm's law will be our standard and everyone has feel short as of now. I'm asking a simple question. I'm not asking to be spoon-feed. If you don't know the answer, don't lecture me. Just say I don't know.
 
  • #50
fresh_42
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It is in circuit design.
No, it is not. It is an idealization.
Plus you didn't explain ohm's law.
I've read it on Wikipedia in five minutes how Ohm found it and where the limits are.
 
  • #51
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I do know the answer and actually it's really easy to show, there is nothing complicated about it, but it just drives me crazy when people just can't simply say I don't know.

Wait a minute. Earlier you said:

if an electrical engineering graduate still has questions about ohm's law (I'm not the only one, in fact I'm in the same boat as 99% of the people I know)

So do you know or don't you?

And even earlier, you also said:

I'm not a student anymore, I can look them eye to eye.

So let me get this straight: you're not a student any more, you're not paying any of these teachers to teach you, you're just asking them questions, why, exactly? To yank their chain? If you're not their student, why do you think you're even entitled to the time of day from them, let alone answers to whatever questions you feel like asking? And it's even worse if you already know the answer, because then the only possible motivation I can see is that you want to mess with them.

From the way you're describing this, my wonder is not that you're not getting answers to your questions: my wonder is that you're not getting responses more pointed than "I don't know." Like, for example, "Go and find out for yourself."
 
  • #52
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I'm asking a simple question. I'm not asking to be spoon-feed.

But you said you already know the answer (post #45, which I quoted in my last post just now). So why are you asking the question?
 
  • #53
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I'm not asking for experiments, I"m asking for REASONING.
Then I disagree completely with your position. I do not see this as a weakness in science education in general. I am sure a few deficient teachers exist in this regard, but it is a minor issue compared to the lack of teaching students to use the scientific method itself.

Do you have any actual published evidence that supports the idea specifically that a lack of reasoning is a problem in American schools or that schools with more reasoning emphasis perform better in some way? Frankly I am skeptical of the idea, it certainly doesn’t mesh with my experience or views on the topic.
 
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  • #54
russ_watters
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Why not give us the explanation for ohm's law directly. Why go to hypotheticals. I clearly stated ohm's law will be our standard and everyone has feel short as of now. I'm asking a simple question. I'm not asking to be spoon-feed. If you don't know the answer, don't lecture me. Just say I don't know.
Actually, I don't see that you have asked any specific questions about Ohm's law. So why don't you please do that; in the appropriate technical forum, and we'll see where that question goes.
 
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  • #55
russ_watters
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So let me get this straight: you're not a student any more...
Just to go back further for additional attempted clarity, the OP says:
"...from grade school to college..."

So the goalposts have moved (or contracted...).
 
  • #56
So let me get this straight: you're not a student any more, you're not paying any of these teachers to teach you, you're just asking them questions, why, exactly? To yank their chain? If you're not their student, why do you think you're even entitled to the time of day from them, let alone answers to whatever questions you feel like asking? And it's even worse if you already know the answer, because then the only possible motivation I can see is that you want to mess with them.

From the way you're describing this, my wonder is not that you're not getting answers to your questions: my wonder is that you're not getting responses more pointed than "I don't know." Like, for example, "Go and find out for yourself."

So let me get this straight. You expect students to not question you when they are student. Then when they graduated and are curious about things that didn't make sense and they feel more confident that then can ask deeper questions you close you're door and say you don't work for free. You're really showing you're true colors.

But you said you already know the answer (post #45, which I quoted in my last post just now). So why are you asking the question?

To prove the point that most people can't even explain the basics and how unscientific how science classes have become.


Actually, I don't see that you have asked any specific questions about Ohm's law. So why don't you please do that; in the appropriate technical forum, and we'll see where that question goes.

The point isn't to discuss ohm's law. The point is that such a it's simple law and you guys are having a hard time explaining it (i.e you don't know the basics).
 
  • #57
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The point is that such a it's simple law and you guys are having a hard time explaining it
I already told you that this is not the place for us to explain Ohm’s law. That is in the technical forums. If you wish to issue that as a challenge to this community then do it in the right place.
 
  • #58
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I do know what Ohm's law says and I do know how to use it. It's really more of what does it mean. Like what is current and and what is a voltage.
All you have to do is look up how these terms are defined. For example, current is the flow of electric charge across a surface. In essence this is the number of electrons flowing across a conductor. You could just as easily as I did look up the definition of voltage.

I do know the answer and actually it's really easy to show, there is nothing complicated about it, but it just drives me crazy when people just can't simply say I don't know. They just insist that ohm's law is true without themselves being able to prove it (another word is that they have faith, although they probably don't like that word).
I doubt this is the case. I already showed you how you could verify Ohm's Law, and you gave a weak excuse of not wanting to use modern electrical measurement tools.

Why not give us the explanation for ohm's law directly.
I already did, in post #23.

It really seems here that you have made up your mind, and are obstinately refusing to listen to the answers to the questions you've asked. Your refusal to listen seems more faith-based thann logic-based.
 
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  • #59
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At this time we are going to close this thread until such time as some actual evidence supporting the claims by the OP can be produced. If such is provided then we will start a new thread for that discussion as this one has become rather dysfunctional.
 

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