Harmony of the Worlds & A Look at the Evidence & Investigation Unit for Grade 6

Once again I watched an episode of Cosmos tonight, in this case the third. It started out by discussing how constellations were imagined, and goes on to talk briefly about the pseudo-science of astrology. This in turn leads to a look at the life of Johannes Kepler who is described as the last astrologer, and the first scientist. Dr. Sagan goes on to describe in great detail how Kepler formulated his three laws of planetary motion, and then explains what they mean and how they affect our knowledge of the space sciences to this day. It is hard to believe that this show is well over thirty years old, and still produces awe in those to see it. Somebody must have written a curriculum unit based on this series, so one of my goals will be to find one. And if one doesn't exist, then I guess I'l have to write one.

In other news, I did my first (and second) presentations on the Evidence and Investigation unit today, and as I feared the students were fully geared towards looking solely at crime scenes. I believe this is a major failure with the Alberta curriculum for grade 6, as in actuality the concept of evidence and investigation is the basis for all of the sciences, and I believe if it was presented in this manner that students would have a better appreciation for the wonders of science itself. Unfortunately because the whole unit is based on crime scenes, and because of the influence of television and in particular shows like CSI, Law & Order, and many others students not only use this to focus all their thoughts about evidence and investigation, but they are convinced the these shows are telling and showing them the absolute truth. They are aware (or at lest I hope they are) that the show is fiction as far as the story os concerned, but unfortunately they are convinced that the scientific methodology and principals portrayed on these shows are accurate.

I feel that allowing these shows to be shown without some type of disclaimer, is doing people a distinct disservice, and is in fact corrupting how they see the world of science in general. I believe I'm going to have to look into some of these shows more in depth, and begin to pick them to pieces. Not sure when I'll do this, but it is definitely something that has to be done.



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