From: Fiona Rae (FRae@hopkinton.k12.ma.us)
Date: Thu Feb 06 2003 - 18:46:27 EST
I think the sciences more easily taught as integrated courses in the lower grades where the students have not yet made the divisions. Then at the upper levels, where we can go more in depth, the students see that we can approach a topic from a biology standpoint and then the next year pick it up and look that it through the eyes of a chemist and then again in physics. The more angles we show, the bigger and better the perpective. I almost feel as though I am poaching on physics territory when we do the atom and nuclear but at least those not going on to physics have had some exposure. We teach nuclear at the end of the year when things are hectic with grades, finals, inventory and ordering, so last year I had the students do a project in groups of four. I gave them the topics to be covered with a fairly heafty rubric and lots of sites that they could draw from. It was a lot of work ahead of time but we all enjoyed the end product. The finale was that they each had to write a paper for or against the nuclear power expansion in light of what they had learned.
PS I liked the M&M activity but I would not be able to keep up with "lost" M&M's! One of our previous teachers did a similar activity to teach half lives using sugar cubes with one side (I think) colored with food color. He said that the data gave a very good exponential curve.