I haven’t really had time to read the science blogs I’m subscribed so even though I would rather enjoy blogging about one of those updates I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s mind is buzzing about this “Scientifically Speaking” essay so I decided to start a post in which we can discuss and share topics, ideas, and pieces of writing. Honestly, I wasn’t too sure about the assignment at first. As I’ve said before I’m not very scientifically inclined so I wasn’t sure what to write about but after bringing in our artifacts on Monday and having our discussion in class today I’m glad to say that I better understand the essay prompt and am actually excited to get creative with it.
My topic is “The Development of Scientific Thinking in Children”. In high school, I majored in early childhood education. So for fours years I studied children from ages 2-5 and theories based on how they developed cognitive knowledge. The act of “play” was one of the most mentioned sources from theory to theory so in my essay I plan to discuss the importance of toys when it comes to children’s scientific thinking. Toy makers seem to play a role in the technology race. Everything you see in toy stores are pretty much electronic and though they are very cool, they aren’t the best type of toys children should be playing with. When it comes to scientific toys, many of them come in sets or kits that can only be used once and then the content will more than likely have to be thrown away. What exactly is a child supposed to remember from doing something once? Absolutely nothing. Children need toys that can be used repetitively. Scientific thinking in children is more than just chemistry, biology or anatomy. Its made up of general skills like reasoning, experimentation, discovery, problem-solving, comparing/contrasting and measuring. Those are skills that aren’t developed through kit or electronic toys but through hands-on repetitive activities.
Anyway, I want to share two of my sections with you all. My first section will act as my introduction its analogy based on a conversation with my EDU teacher and the writing was meant to imitate Skloot’s in The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks book.
On Chemistry Sets
“A chemistry set!” I answered, proud to have finally gotten a words in over the other seventeen eager girls.
My EDU (Education Careers) teacher, Mrs. Kirby stopped pacing back and forth in front of the classroom and looked at me. Her cheeks were a pink contrast to her pale white skin, her hair curly and dry like she hadn’t heard of hair oil, which she was probably allergic too, like she was to everything else. Her light blue eyes, they almost looked grey, swelled with tears and her lips drew inward, her cheeks puffed outward as if she wanted to burst in to laughter. She had asked “what toys could be put in the center to enhance children’s scientific thinking?” I thought a chemistry set was the best bet but after seeing her reaction I suddenly felt numb. My cheeks felt as pink as her own as they burned in embarrassment. I leaned back in my chair and sunk downward, trying hard to escape her twinkling gaze. She took a deep breath and placed a wrinkled hand over her heart.
“Jada, what are they going to do with a chemistry set? They’re five years old.”
This next section is my response to a quote from Professor of Education Sciences at CMU, David Klahr in an article on ScienceDaily.com
On a Professors Opinion
“Instead of looking at this issue from a science education perspective, we looked at it from a cognitive and developmental psychology perspective,” said Klahr, the Walter van Dyke Bingham Professor of Cognitive Development and Education Sciences at CMU.
It is seen in this quote taken from an online science journal, Science Daily, that David Klahr truly understands the meaning of scientific thinking as it relates to children’s development. Scientific thinking in children is about discovery and inquiry, two more words that define cognitive development. For children, when it comes to the subject of science, Klahr implies that it’s not about science in education, meaning biology, chemistry or anatomy, but its about science in development, pertaining to skills discussed in “On Scientific Thinking”. Many of todays science-based toy makers seem to be developing their products to reach far beyond the level of scientific thinking children should be encountering. It’s strange to think that the people making toys for children really don’t know anything about them. After careful research, I found that many science-based toys are kits that can only be used once or they are electronic robots and does all of the thinking on its own. However, to develop scientific thinking children need toys that can be used repetitively and drive them to make the scientific connection on their own, which is exactly what I believe Klahr was getting at with his quote.
I would appreciate feedback on my writing and if you guys feel comfortable, I’d like to know what you guys are working on as well.