RE: [asa] science education (was: YEC the default Christian belief?)

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Thu Nov 19 2009 - 11:29:07 EST

The order of science teaching ought to be physics-chemistry-biology. This makes sense since it goes in the direction of the simpler to the more complex---recall physics deals with dead matter! Therefore, one can develop a better understanding of what science is and what it is not from learning physics first rather than biology. In biology, the experimental results are often yoked to an evolutionary explanation by burdening the teaching of the experimental aspect of biology, viz. DNA, genetics, etc., which is nonsense.
Physics is more quantitative and so the teaching of physics first would remove that false notion gained by those who start science studies with biology, which is very qualitative, and damages the conception of what science is that if often irreversible. That is why students always balk at physics and say that it is very hard. Of course, physics is difficult if you compare it with biology, which does not put a strain on the brains of our K-12 students.
See the following websites.
More students need more science! (Physics Nobel laureate Leon Lederman is a leader in this effort.)
Physics First in Science Education Reform


From: [] On Behalf Of []
Sent: Thursday, November 19, 2009 11:02 AM
To: Cameron Wybrow
Subject: Re: [asa] science education (was: YEC the default Christian belief?)

I'm teaching at a Christian school, but this course sequence should still be
fairly typical, I believe in larger public schools.

9th grade: Biology
10th grade: Physical sciences (this would include geology, meteorology,
chemistry, physics, some astronomy)
11th grade: chemistry
12th grade: physics

Other electives are also available, though not every semester or year such as
Human anatomy, zoology, or botany.

It isn't that students can't take these courses out of sequence ---if the
scheduling allowed for such a thing (& in our small school --it wouldn't) they
could pile up all four science classes in one year if they wanted, but who would
want to do that? So in a practical sense, moving one science class elsewhere
means encouraging the re-scheduling for another for the obvious reason that we
want sciences spread out over their high school years.

gotta go --time for geometry class.


Quoting Cameron Wybrow <>:

> Merv:
> I think I'm not understanding you.
> Are you saying that if the subject of evolution were moved up to a higher
> grade, physics would have to be moved down to a lower grade to compensate?
> That doesn't follow, unless I badly misunderstand your system.
> I wasn't speaking of moving an entire biology *course* to a higher grade,
> but of moving *material* from a lower-grade biology course to a higher-grade
> biology course. For example, if biology in your school is studied in ninth
> grade and eleventh grade, I was suggesting moving *the evolution unit* (the
> two or three weeks spent studying evolution) from the ninth-grade course to
> the eleventh grade course, and correspondingly moving something else (maybe
> ecology, it doesn't matter, since it's only for illustrative purposes) down
> from the eleventh grade course to the ninth grade course. If physics were
> offered in, say, tenth grade and twelfth grade, it wouldn't be affected in
> the slightest by the shuffling of material between biology courses. So I'm
> missing your point.
> Or are you saying that biology is only offered *once* in all of high school,
> and physics is only offered *once* in all of high school? If that's the
> case, American science education is in bad shape indeed.
> Please describe the system for me. Suppose I enter ninth grade in a typical
> American school -- use your school if you wish -- and I know right from the
> start that I want to be a scientist or engineer, and I want to take *every*
> science course available to me at *every* grade level. What would the
> sequence be? What could I take in ninth grade? In tenth? In eleventh? In
> twelfth? How many could I get in total? (Leave out the math courses; I
> just want to know about the science courses.)
> Please indicate also if you are talking about semestered courses (running
> from Sept to Jan, or from Feb to June) or full-year courses (running from
> Sept to June).
> Cameron.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: <>
> To: "Cameron Wybrow" <>
> Cc: <>
> Sent: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 5:28 PM
> Subject: Re: [asa] YEC the default Christian belief? (was: (aliens) November
> Newsletter from Reasonable Faith)
> > Quoting Cameron Wybrow <>:
> >
> > That's an interesting proposal (to move biology to an 11th or 12th grade
> > level.
> > And maybe it would accomplish a "side-stepping" of controversy as you
> > suggest.
> > As a physical sciences teacher, though, I do enjoy the luxury of teaching
> > physics as a senior level class when students have some algebra and
> > trigonometry
> > (and maybe even some calculus) under their belt. Teaching it earlier
> > would
> > seriously weaken the content. It would be interesting to hear if high
> > school
> > level life science teachers would or could teach biology more rigorously
> > to a
> > senior than they do to a sophomore.
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Received on Thu Nov 19 11:30:23 2009

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