Tag Archives: science literacy

Richard Feynman on Knowledge and Ignorance

“I believe that a scientist looking at nonscientific problems is just as dumb as the next guy.”

Excerpted from: Winokur, Jon, ed. The Big Curmudgeon. New York: Black Dog & Leventhal, 2007.

Independent Practice: Johannes Kepler

If you teach social studies, or just want to induce a student interested in science to read something, this independent practice worksheet on Johannes Kepler might serve everyone well.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Independent Practice: The Renaissance

If you can use it, here is an independent practice worksheet on the Renaissance. There’s a lot of text in this document, so you have plenty of material to revise for emphasis or other purposes if you need to.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Weekly Text, November 9, 2018

This week’s Text (after missing last week) is something I whipped up pretty much on the fly about three years ago when I was assigned an eight-meeting class conducted over eight weeks on math and science literacy. This literacy lesson on the polysemous word bond is, as I look at it now, an odd melange of stuff. Depending on what it is you want kids to understand, there are materials here for one extended lesson–I wrote this for a sixty-one-minute long period–or a couple of different short exercises.

The first document, because I worked in economics and finance-themed high school, is this Cultural Literacy worksheet on bond as a financial instrument. These two context clues worksheets on the verb and noun bond in the sense of attaching or joining follow; logically, I guess, this short reading and comprehension exercise on chemical bonds rounds out this deck. I also, for some reason, made up this learning support with three definitions of bond from Merriam-Webster’s 11th Edition.

Now that I think about it, Bronx County summoned me to jury duty before I had a chance to use this material. The coverage teacher who used it did say students received it relatively well.

If you find typos in these documents, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

The Prescient Carl Sagan

“We live in a society exquisitely dependent on science and technology, in which hardly anyone knows anything about science and technology. This is clearly a prescription for disaster.”

Carl Sagan

Excerpted from: Grothe, Dr. Marty. Metaphors Be with You. New York: Harper, 2016.

Hypothesize (vi/vt)

OK, here on a insufferably muggy October afternoon in The Bronx is a context clues worksheet on the verb hypothesize. Used intransitively, this verb means to make a hypothesis; transitively, it means to adopt as a hypothesis.

Small wonder English language learners puzzle over this language.

If you find typos in these document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

Forensic (n/adj)

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been reading and editing college application essays in a couple of senior English Language Arts classes I co-teach. It has been awhile since I dealt with this kind of writing–to wit my own application essay. In any case, this is my first time teaching this course. It’s fun, but new, and therefore challenging in the way teachers hope to be challenged.

Quite a few young people are interested in careers in forensic science these days. Forensic is one of those tricky polysemous words in English. When I wrote this context clues worksheet on the noun and adjective forensic, I wanted students to understand its meaning, as you will see if you use it, as an argumentative exercise, as in a debate team. But it also means, as television shows have it, as the application of scientific knowledge to legal problems; esp: scientific analysis of physical evidence (as from a crime scene).

As time passes, I am persuaded that the best way to help students develop their own deep understanding is to start them with the Latin adjective forensis, from which the English forensic evolved. That way, students begin with the basic conceptual knowledge this word represents, i.e. public; pertaining to the courts. Then, with that prior knowledge as a foundation, teachers and students can move forward in understanding forensic in English, which is more nuanced that its Latin ancestor.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.