[asa] Accuracy vs. Methodology in Science Education

From: Christine Smith <christine_mb_smith@yahoo.com>
Date: Thu May 24 2007 - 16:55:30 EDT

A friend of mine forwarded me the following tidbit

"Brian Benson, an eighth-grade student who won first
place in the Life Science/Biology category for his
project "Creation Wins!!!," says he disproved part of
the theory of evolution. Using a rolled-up paper towel
suspended between two glasses of water with Epsom
Salts, the paper towel formed stalactites. He states
that the theory that they take millions of years to
develop is incorrect.

"Scientists say it takes millions of years to form
stalactites," Benson said. "However, in only a couple
of hours, I have formed stalactites just by using
paper towel and Epsom Salts.""

Initially, I was rather dismayed at the YEC "science"
implicit in this story...but after thinking about it
for a while, I posed the question to my friend "what
are science fairs really for? Should the student be
judged based on how much they struggled with and
utilized the scientific method, regardless of the
interpretation they come to, or should it be more
about the accuracy of their conclusions?" This evolved
(no pun intended) into a more general discussion about
where the balance was between these two? And is the
criteria different in the context of tests/quizzes
versus the more exploratory context of
reports/projects? In this particular example, can we
really fault the student for coming to the conclusion
that he did? Didn't he apply, to the best of his
ability (and as much as we can tell from the article),
the scientific method?

Just curious as to the forum's take on this one...

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Received on Thu May 24 16:56:04 2007

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