I’ve always found textbooks to be behind the times. Because of the amount of time it takes to write, edit, publish and distribute textbooks, by the time teachers and students have them they are years out of date. Not to mention the number of years they remain in circulation. I’m not suggesting we move entirely towards the most current thoughts on subject material. Quite often the most recent science reseach is plain wrong. Fact is students could not comprehend the level of writing and knowledge required.
The fact is though that the material is on the net and is available to be updated immediately. Old webpages can be identified and steered away from. Old textbooks tend to be handed off to other districts and hang around like a bad disease. [Thats overly harsh but it sounded good]

Whats my point?

I find that science curricula is in the same position as textbooks are. By the time we agree on the content [which remains fairly constant] the context has moved away. I would much prefer being able to focus on science issues that contain the content we want students to learn rather than the other way around. The content can be so focused, so specific that finding modern issues to highlight the content is tough.

I’m all for diluting the content to specific scientific principles that we know to be immutable [or mostly so]. The grand theories of science that are needed for any scientific endeavor and use current issues to package the science. The following are some definate requirements to graduate from high school:
atomic theory
laws of thermodynamics
newtons laws
evolutionary biology
nutrition, health and fitness
**more but I don’t want to think TOO hard

Let us as teachers use modern issues to deliver these central concepts. As an example, I actually like teaching the grade nine space curriculum. It is the final frontier. But really, is it relaly necessary for success in life? Can’t we package the content within a context of evolution and our place in the universe? Curricula tend to seperate the areas when they could be combined into such a coherent issue based structure.

It would be so much more fun to teach too!

Blah – what do I know.

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