Evolution in your schools?

Avatar for guili12737
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-23-1997
Evolution in your schools?
7
Wed, 11-09-2005 - 8:35am

I'm sure you've all heard about the recent decision by the Kansas Bd of Ed to allow students to study the "considerable scientific and public controversy" surrounding the origin of life and open the door for Intelligent design. In addition, the board rewrote the definition of science, so that it is no longer limited to the search for natural explanations of phenomena.

Has this controversy touched your district? Do your biology teachers teach the theory of evolution?

I live in New England and this has not been a problem here, but I'm curious how it is in other parts of the country. I hope we can discuss this without flames, but I will state my opinion and say I think this is a sad day for education. Students in the US are already lagging behind other countries in their acheivements in science education. This can only make things worse.

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Wed, 11-09-2005 - 10:16pm

I'm in the Midwest and luckily we haven't been involved in this one yet. Evolution is in all science content. I am concerned that it might come up around here. This area has a US Congressional rep that is so conservative that he is just plain scary. He votes against everything..Katrina relief, education funding, job training etc. He tried to get a law passed that said Congress could refuse to fund the courts and any program that the courts ruled legal but

Sherry

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-06-2005
Mon, 11-14-2005 - 7:00am

I'm with you ladies. My approach is a subtle, non-political one, though: I simply squeeze in as much teaching of REASON and SCIENTIFIC THINKING as possible into all I do with the kiddos in my class.
I recently shocked my fourth graders by giving them a pop quiz on something we'd recently studied, then asking HOW DO YOU KNOW I TOLD YOU THE TRUTH (about this particular topic)?
This certainly gave them pause.
I went on to tell them the ONLY ways you can make sure something's true is if (1) You ABSOLUTELY and completely trust that your source of information is not only honest (easy) but also infallible (heh), or (2) If you were able to corroborate this information through your own senses (i.e. through the scientific method), and/or (3) The information must MAKE SENSE to you through rational thinking!

I try to emphasize all the time on the importance of them ASKING CLARIFICATION whenever something doesn't make sense...and challenging them not to take my word for granted (I tell them I wouldn't lie to them, but who's to say I might make a mistake in the information I give them? Of course, I'm perfect, right?!? :)

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-24-2003
Mon, 11-14-2005 - 3:20pm

Great approach. I always used scientific investigation processes and critical thinking too.

Sherry

 

Avatar for galena417
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2003
Tue, 11-15-2005 - 12:59pm

I teach Biology in Ontario, Canada, and I teach Evolution - it is on the curriculum. We present "creation" as an alternative theory, as well as Panspermia (where life was brought to earth from elsewhere in the universe), but the main focus is on Darwin, Natural Selection, etc.

I'm glad I'm not teaching in Kansas, where I would have to accept "supernatural" responses to scientific questions.

Angela

Avatar for galena417
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2003
Tue, 11-15-2005 - 1:02pm

I think that's a great attitude, and I love that you're bringing up reasoning & scientific reasoning in grade 4.

I wish some of our elementary teachers did that...many of ours have a psych or english background & skip as much science as they can!

Angela

Avatar for guili12737
iVillage Member
Registered: 08-23-1997
Wed, 11-16-2005 - 10:05am
What does it mean that you "present" creation and Panspermia? Does it mean that you teach them as equally valid theories, or does it mean, this is what some people believe, but there is no scientific evidence to back it up?
Avatar for galena417
iVillage Member
Registered: 04-27-2003
Wed, 11-16-2005 - 12:41pm

We "present" the other 2 theories as alternatives on the origin of life (normally after teaching about Miller's "organic soup & sparks" experiment). We talk about scientific evidence (as in Miller's experiment) and the evidence supporting Panspermia (meteorites containing organic compounds like amino acids), and the fact that there is no scientific evidence to support creationism, that we're just expected to "believe" it. I also bring in some of the native creation stories when I have the opportunity to do so, but the emphasis is definitely on experimental evidence, the fossil record, carbon dating, etc.

Angela