Sunday, November 22, 2015

Scientific Laws and Scientific Theories

While I have students after school waiting for buses to dismiss, we watch education related videos. Sometimes we watch CNN Student News and sometimes we watch Ted Education videos. This is their new one this week. If you believe a theory graduate into a law, you need to watch this.

In my Science Teaching for Middle Grades class I took in grad school, we discussed this topic a lot. Most people have misconceptions of what a scientific theory is and think that it will one day "graduate" into a law. (Which is what I thought at one point in my life.) A theory in science is not like a theory in other content areas.

So when people here things like the Theory of Evolution or the Big Bang Theory--they hear theory and think there is not enough evidence to support the theory to become a law so it should not be given too much weight. Not the case. 

Having a scientifically educated population is important for our future and our children's future. Teachers need to make sure they understand what they are teaching. Many elementary teachers are not given proper training in science teaching--or the time to teach it. I love teaching math and I think it is extremely important to my students futures that they understand the basics of it--especially financial literacy and reading graphs. An understanding of science affects who we vote for, what policy are leaders create, what gets published in textbooks, etc. 

Unfortunately, most schools are not going to provide the training to make sure that teachers know what they are teaching. It is up to teachers to research, read peer-reviewed articles, have subscriptions to journals, and ask when they don't understand. This way they are doing everything they can to provide the best lessons for their students with the most accurate information. 

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