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How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

Posted September 19, 2010 7:35 AM

Connect a Million Minds (CAMM) Worldwide, a new effort launched by Time Warner Cable, will promote science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) among young people here in the United States. Its goal is to "put a human face on a very sobering statistic." The U.S. ranks 35th in math and 29th in science worldwide. Understanding mathematics especially is important to succeeding in today's world. The question is, though, what can we do to get kids to study these important subjects?

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#1

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/19/2010 10:25 AM

its may be a matter of delivery. Apply it in a fun way. "Bill Nye, The Science Guy" was good at this. For all ages.

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#45
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/21/2010 11:08 AM

The main way to get 'kids' or 'adults' interested in anything is the 'fun' factor.

In most cases this is the 'hands on' application. If you give them projects, things to do as teams, something to build, they will flock to the class. Only doing bookwork drives most people away.

Have a son in University of Phoenix, all paperwork and no projects. Darn tough to keep anyone interested that way. He struggles with it but looks to finish it.

Schools and classes of all types need to keep this in mind.

How many of us went to lectures/classes and fell asleep in the first 10 minutes?

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#46
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/21/2010 12:08 PM

University of Pheonix?

Working in teams has the downside of not being able to measure the performance of the individuals. Teams frequently creates the problems of driving away the most competent people as it favors the least competent driving everyone towards the average, choice of team mates early on becomes far more important than the skills developed during the class. Teaming is necessary in some cases, but it leads to a reality TV method of teaching where, much like survivor, you might see one team carrying alone a pretty girl becasue a few guys on the team want to make time with here, competent people might get teamed with someone incompetent or lazy and the work product suffers. I have been on a couple of team project during college where one person jsut decides they have to mucyh work in other classes where they don't have a team project to depend on the tream, begin to focus on those other projects and jsut don't show up or get their scope completed leaving it on the team.

I think the fear of books and knowledge presented as a child grows up by a parent fearful of such becomes a cyclic process of fear that gets carried down generation to generation. Learning by hands-on experience is a much slower method of acquiring knowledge, obviously, and severely limits the capacity of a child to learn. You must make the learning interesting and reach the imaginations, examples are good as are sopme interactive projects. However, there are severe limits to what you can do as a project to demonstrate advanced concepts, at least many of those above the high school level, in a cost effective and timely manner. What a project is really used for frequently is to evaluate the capacity of people to work together to get a end product developed, ability to complete a long duration task as a group, and in some situation ability to manage others.

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#47
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/21/2010 1:52 PM

We were talking about getting kids excited about learning Math and Science, not starting a new Survival TV show. If all kids have to look forward to is endless book work and long lectures they quickly tune out. By intermixing team projects (which also teaches working together as a group problem solving unit) and hands on projects this will keep kids interested in Math and Science.

When I went to Junior High the best class I took was Science where we did simple things such as making our own soda pop. Got to test out why when 3 or more people are linked to a D.C. hand cranked generator NOT to break contact with each other. And a few other 'cost' effective simple projects.

Worse class ever was Algebra I where the teacher droned on and on and handed out only examples culled from the book. So ineffective, he flunked half the class.

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#48
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/21/2010 4:47 PM

A final exam for a junior high science calss was why people should not break continuity to conduct current? Maybe what you are really saying is not make it more interesting but rather make it simple, e.g. easier to pass. You should make science interesting and inspire people, but not to the point of dumbing it down to get every possible child passing. Those reality TV shows aren't about survival they are about who can make the alliances and get others to do for them with the least of their own effort, while convincing people not to vote them off, you know a group effort without any real risk. If they made those shows more about the survival aspects all of a sudden you would see the talented peoples value increase and the social connivers decrease. This is much like the current economic situation, when the economy was artificailly inflated education and skills did not matter as much and the pay scales reflected that more, now that we are more in a survival mode education and skills people are of more value to compete. You can make science interesting, but should not test people as groups and definitely not dumb the education or testing down to get everyone through. Some people need failures to learn. Good parents generally consider that in a world market more skills and education for their children is better, and don't take the easier rode of complaining that the education is too hard now for their children to learn, they just devote some of their own time and effort to assist the children. When the parent shows some interest the children tend to take some interest as they perceive some value, same as when the teacher shows some understanding and interest. Math and Science are not in and of themselves about entertainment, they can have aspects that intrigue or entertain, but entertainment should not be the ends as a basis for the means of educating these subjects. The easy way out and then passing the buck along to the next person has lead to current economic situation such that now someone has to pay the bill. Why can Thai student learn math and science so much more effectively than americans and they have upwards oof 60 students in a class?

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#2

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/19/2010 11:33 PM

Introduce simple calculus at a much earlier age- say, 6th grade. Not the really difficult stuff, but enough so that when they start looking at, say, Newton's laws, they can see an application at hand. A big killer for interest in mathematics is the question, "What will I ever use this for?" which usually begins with Algebra...

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#3
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/19/2010 11:57 PM

Get it out of the books and into their hands...why do we love and respect math.......because we do stuff with it........reinstate programs that have been cut like wood shop, metal shop, auto shop, basic CNC and PLC labs and last but not least CAD.

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#4
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 12:15 AM

Absolutely- get their hands on it, whatever it is. I remember in grade school playing with magnets and growing plants and all sorts of fun stuff. give them old clocks to tear apart, or just boxes of stuff like pulleys (an erector kit would be even better!) and see what sort of Rube Goldberg they can come up with. Of course, in junior and high school, the old shop classes (including mechanical drawing- you ought to know how to do it by hand before you try it on a computer) were fascinating...Although some of us learned in shop class we had better look for other occupations...

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#25
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 12:51 PM

Why would you think to convolute math and science with classes taught by "teachers" less educated in math and science than your english teachers. I took wood shop, electronics, metal shop in junior highschool, and they were just quaranteed As for the kids with no math or science skills of any kind, luckily my family including parents and grandoparents are all general contractors, mechanics and such. The shop teacher actually tend to alienate the intelligent student in favor of their own clique of relatively academically inept, much like the arts teachers do and so forth. The best teachers of science use hands-on techniques, but actually know some science and math. I had a couple of physics teachers who took an interest in applying physics through little engineering design projects in classes, I had a chemistry teacher who would have labs to make things that the product was something we actually use like aspirin, or table salt from acid and Lye. Erector sets are a good idea. another thing is to have science and math teacher actually proficient in their skills. A cousin of mine had a science class in Junior high school with a project to model and present a hydrogen atom, I assisted him in developing a relativistic model of hydrogen and helped him understand the model. The teacher gave him a D because she said it should have been a sphere for the proton with a stick and a smaller sphere to represent the electron. I sent a note to her letting her know that I have a BS in chem and assisted him with the model which was reasonably accurate, and that she should not have penalized him for having a better model and understanding of the mechanics than she had taught. so she raised his grade to a C, but I understand she was very unhappy that I ws involved as apparently she only had a BA teaching degree in biologic concentration and she was unhappy that he was being taught something ahead of the class (and the way I hear second hand from some friends who are teachers there, was over her head). This is a example of a horrible teacher, there for a pay check with no real skills and a lack of interst in the fields she teaches. She teaches sciences across the board because they can not find enough teachers with physics or chemistry backgrounds who are willing to work for the same wages as people educated solely as teachers with a concentration in fields like biology. This is the same problem with shop classes except the teacher have an even lower understanding of the actual math and science. I never had a shop class teacher who could accurately explain the science, spent more time on H&S for working with tools. It is far better to have a science teacher who incorporates some shop, or even better engineering, components and then applies these in little competitions like bridge building and the best one was wind energy to electricity in small scale functional models. For physics we then had to do a presentastion of the mechanics of the system we modeled and how it works, and the general science.

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#5

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 12:34 AM

When I was a teen, Martin Gardner's "Mathematical Games" column in Scientific American was in its heyday. The collected books are still available, and are well worth revisiting.

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#6

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 1:48 AM

What a monstrously frustrating question. Not because there are no answers, but because there are so many answers, and apparently nobody is listening...

The one pivot for the entire nation is the injection of funds from the fed, into the economy. When this happens, the money supply is diluted, and not proportional to the GDP. This has a trickle-down effect of causing every person of working age to have to work much harder, in order to support their life and family. Call it what you will, but this fact is of overwhelming influence.

That dreamy life people fantasize about called the american dream.. is continuosly eliminated by this mechanism, as surely as a wood shredder eats branches.

People are so worried about money and jobs, that they generally don't have time or energy left over to teach their children and grandchildren, how to learn and think.

Chris

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#7

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 2:08 AM

The EAA group I was involved with was working with kids and getting them involved with aviation. We were showing them how math and science were involved in solving practical problems involved with flying and have modest success.

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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 2:21 AM

Another good program (or it used to be) was Junior Achievement, where businessmen helped high school students set up small businesses...

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#9

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 3:37 AM

Three words: abolish public schools. Public school teachers generally don't learn math, so they can't teach it. Not only that - they don't want to. After all, they got their jobs through entitlement, so it just isn't fair that their students actually be required to know something to get ahead in life. The teachers see no value in mathematics; it follows that they can't communicate to the students an enthusiasm that they themselves do not feel.

Forget about lobbying the school board; public schools get their funding and their mandates mostly through the Feds these days, so local school boards don't even have the minimal influence that they had in my youth.

If you can't afford a decent private school - and not many people in the USA can, after paying taxes to support the government indoctrination centers ("public schools") the only remedy is to find a parent who actually knows and likes math and has some time to teach enrichment classes evenings and/or weekends, and making it worth his while to do it. Of course you won't save everybody that way, but two in ten is better than zero.

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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 11:12 AM

Public school teachers generally don't learn math, so they can't teach it.

You just hit the nail on the head IMHO.

GA from me.

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#10

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 3:46 AM

The most early education is taught by women who don't know how stuff works themselves.
We educate the curiosity and creativity out of kids.
As someone else said they think 'what's this stuff used for'? The answer to which is generally nothing.
And as for calculus...what!???
Teach them about it and it's uses but please relate it to real life with plenty of graphs. One graph is worth a thousand equations in my experience. I'm sure there are areas where tons of calculations are the order of the day... but not in my cat world.

Get 'em makin' stuff, I'll bet they'd learn more making a Chinese Repeating Crossbow that they would doing a shed load of formal maths.

Oh yes, while I'm ranting:- Schools treat playing cards as if they are the creation of Satan himself.... no! Teach the darlings to play bridge, and they are great for teaching about probability, and building card houses, they are cheap too, I'll bet schools pay a fortune for sets of contrived number and matching cards.

Del

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#12
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 8:19 AM

The most early education is taught by women who don't know how stuff works themselves

Seriously? Don't say naive/sexist things like that, please.

For one, don't blame women. Just because they are not engineers, does not make them any less of a teacher. Early education is focused on the literacy aspect of someones life. Literacy is something that once you learn, you use it every day. Math is sort of the same way, except most people can get by well without good math skills. If you can't read to figure out how to get to your next class, however, you are in trouble.

Second, early education is just as much educational material as it is behavioral attitudes. Pre-school and kindergarten is just as much a babysitting center as an educational one. Can many men can handle the babysitting part of the equation?

Third, if you want it done right, do it yourself. If you want your kids to be true A+ students, it helps to have parents that get involved. When your kids have problems with their homework, don't blame the teacher because they didn't teach them right. Teach them yourselves! You are as much a part of their education as their teacher in the childs early stages of development. When I had math tests in elementary school, my father would create a test for me to practice with. If he never did that, I doubt that I would have so much interest or skill in mathematics today.

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#13
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 9:08 AM

And please don't assume that I don't know what I'm talking about.
If you divide my assertion into two parts,
a) Most junior education is taught by women.
This is demonstrably true in the UK, and I expect it is true in the US. It is not sexist, it is a statement of fact.
b) Who don't know how things work.
This statement may well apply regardless of gender, and it's based on my observations over the years detailed next. Obvious it's proximity to statement a) opens it up to a charge of sexism, but I can only comment on the data available. Young male teachers may also be lacking in scientific aptitude, but that would be supposition on my part.

Mrs Cat has worked as a special needs teacher for many years at several schools here in the UK and I am familiar with the teaching staff in all those schools. I feel that although my comment is somewhat of a generalisation it is representative of the teachers I've met, very few of whom had any scientific background or aptitude.

I also feel you are guilty of the generalisations you accuse me of!
My kids are A+ students and I have taught my Daughter to do stuff, mend things, and be interested in science and technology. She's changed clutches, big ends, drive shafts and such like on her vehicles.
I certainly had no wish to offend, and maybe my comments would apply equally to male junior school teachers, however in their absence I can only comment on that which I have observed.
Del

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#15
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 9:32 AM

I don't think that I ever assumed that you didn't know what you were talking about and I don't think that I ever said that. I was just pinpointing that you had to say women and not just generalize with "people." I am very well aware that most you educational teachers are women, but when paired with your second statement, it just seems sexist. That is the part that boils my blood. I do agree that most early education teachers are less interested in how stuff works than other teachers, but when you made the link in the sentence between "women" and "not knowing how stuff works" is when I start to get offended.

The third one was not meant to be a generalization of you, but I can see as to why it was taken in that context (). It was what I was thinking of commenting before I saw your post. I know I said "you," but it wasn't pointing fingers at you, just in general. I tried to hit two birds with one stone (Epic Fail).

A lot of posts about education like to blame teachers for not properly educating their kids. I have seen a lot of parents who point the blame and would rather be involved in the blame game portion of their childs education rather than actually playing an active role in teaching themselves (as you and I both described - playing the teacher role from time to time). Both the school and the home need to be a place of education.

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#21
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 11:52 AM

Another hot button, eh?

"...like to blame teachers for not properly educating their kids." 35 or so (can't do the math without a calculator ) years ago, my high school trig teacher scolded the few kids that had a calculator to "Put that thing away... learn the math and you won't need the crutch." Today, grade school children are being ISSUED notebook computers and have their own iPad, ThinkPad, full feature cell phone, portable games... Now, how is a teacher, a common human being, to compete with these things for the attention of a seven year old mind?

When I was about ten years old, I bought a kit at the store (with money I earned mowing lawns and doing neighborhood chores. This purchase after weeks of deliberation and discussion with my dad) to make a gas-powered airplane (string plane). Printed plans, sheets of balsa and tissue, dope and glue (yes, dope and glue were not controlled substances at one time), and a .049 in3 gas engine. Ten hard earned dollars, 5 or 6 hours assembly, about 7 seconds of flight time, and auger into the earth at full throttle. My next plane was better, my flight skills were better, and I got almost a minute out of that one! Lessons: learned about airfoils and control surfaces, kinematics (the bellcrank system fascinated me), two-cycle engines, solvents and chemicals, and to BE CAREFUL! Lessons like this also put a value on time, money, effort... the value of being proud of an accomplishment, and something that looks like a failure might be (probably is) a learning opportunity. Today a kid can whimsically purchase a radio-controlled helicopter or plane (with parents money because they cannot/will not say NO), ready to fly, crash it, and A: Simply buy another, or B: Lose interest and abandon. Lesson: I am unsure. None I suspect... perhaps it reinforces the self involved, reliant nature of a child.

So, How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science? Is there a workable solution? I hope so.

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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 12:19 PM

I am guessing that if a teacher nowadays said that kids couldn't use calculators for simple math (addition, subtraction, multiplication, division), there would be resiliency. Not only would they be going against the norm (most everyone is pro-graphing calculator), but the parents of these students would argue because their little darling can't be wrong. In all reality, it is best for the student if they don't have "the best money can buy" to begin with. This allows them to think and work things out.

I think 95324 made a lot of sense with his comment. People preoccupy themselves with blaming other people when, regardless of whose fault it actually is, their child is suffering. They blame others (or anything else but themselves) when their kid comes home from school not understanding their homework rather than helping them and giving them the leg-up they need. A childs education is one of the most important things a parent can give their child.

I definitely think that the parental side of the student education equation is missing, or severely lacking, at best. I think it is safe to say that the more a parent (or even older sibling) assists or helps (note: I didn't say doing the work for them) the child, the more likely they will be successful students.

I hope that there is a workable solution too. Realistically, I fear that the solution isn't attractive for parents who aren't so keen on teaching.

(As an aside, I believe that parents can always say no, but they will not. Who would willingly choose to defy their child who will then throw a tantrum until they get what they desire? Most skip to pleasing their child to avoid unpleasantness. It is probably in their best interest that they learn that they cannot always get what they want... It is better that they learn that early in life rather than later, where the consequences of their actions are more than a verbal reprimand, but can get them seriously hurt or in trouble!)

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#27
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 2:12 PM

I think you are both right.

Del, no question, kids love to learn about those cool things.. even simple things like a trip to the maple sugar bush to learn the process. I always loved the trips to the museum...

Jaxy, I took a 4 year old to preschool the other day, and one of the first things the organizer said, was that one of the main purposes was to help prepare kids for kindergarten, and attitude was crucial, along with being able to understand the structure of the teaching program. (sit, listen, group activity, play, timeout, nap, snack, etc.)

I am reminded of the line from the movie "Conspiracy Theory" where Mel says "They Baden Powell all the boys and Betty Crocker all the girls.." and I have found this to be true.. in raising a pile of kids over the years, so there is a cultural bias in the treatment of children, to package information and activities in this sort of sexist manner, such that women don't get as much 'hard science' growing up, and men don't get as much 'domestic' information.

We are on the trailing edge of thousands of years of paternalistic cultures. I am happy to see the rise of women to equality, and strongly promote equality whenever the subject returns.

Let's not have boiling blood. Let's have humor. the social changes will happen anyway... but we reap what we sow.

on another note...I think women are great... every man should own one!

Chris

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#14
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 9:29 AM

Ignoring reality to preserve "politically correct" expression is not going to get you any closer to the problem or the solution. While you may find the "sexist" implications of Del's comment personally offensive, it is very difficult to ignore the general truth of his observation.

As an aside, I would like to point out that females are not the only ones that suffer from "sexist" stereotypes, a I painfully learned years ago when I was a Scoutmaster for the Boy Scouts of America. There is a general perception, quite incorrect and sexist, that grown men with an interest in working with youngsters have a single, very nasty motivation, and unwarranted suspicions and innuendo can threaten ruin to a career and personal life, independent of actual reality...

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#16
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 9:45 AM

I am not ignoring reality. I listened to what he said and agree for the most part. The problem with everything that is proposed on CR4 and possibly the most irritating to me is that these great ideas will probably go to waste. No one from the school board is looking for extra ideas and as a result, likely won't be implemented unless a parent goes to the school board and fights hard. What's more, many people get deeply offended when you point out a flaw or offer your personal advice on their parental style (or anything to do with their life, for that matter). There are no "right" answers to questions like these, in my opinion. It depends on so many factors that it is really a case by case basis. Even with all the right intentions, you still get kids who don't want anything to do with math or science.

I didn't think that I was being narrow-minded as to thinking that only females are victims of stereotypes. The thing with stereotypes is they affect everyone and are offensive. I am just trying to correct stereotypes that offend me. Sometimes I am abrasive because I am upset. In the same respect, I may also be more sensitive to misinterpretation of the original meaning. Trust me, I know what Del was trying to say, but I still can't help that a little part of me wanted to correct it.

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#19
In reply to #12

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 11:25 AM

That is a very sexist comment. I do agree that a considerable number of public school instructors do not know the basics (reading, writing, math). When I was in college after I retired from the military my son was starting algebra an I helped him with his home work. I showed him the basics of problem solving on his homework. The next day he was very upset when he came home from school. The teacher had marked all his problems wrong. I went over them and then took them to class the next morning. After class I asked my college professor to take a look and see of aything was wrong with the problems. He looked at them and said other than I did everything long hand (no short cuts) everything was correct. I then went to see my sons teacher. I asked her to show me what was wrong. She copied the problems from the book and then started coping the answers. I took the book and placed it on the desk and asked her to work the problem. She couldn't. She told me that she didn't even have a minor in math. How do you get a degree without math. I went to see the principal and after a heated discussion had my son pulled from the class. This is just on example of what is wrong with public education today. Gender is not even in the question. Qualification and desire is.

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#11

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 7:58 AM

We can not read minds. Each and every person has different capabilities in their thought processes. But we still put the student in a class with 30 to 40 others and preach to them. Putting out the information in hope that they learn it. I know I got bored listening to the same information over and over to benefit those that did not grasp it first time put to them.

All children desire to learn. That in it self is usually motivation enough. We though can not set the pace they do. If it too fast we over whelm them. If too slow we lose them due to boredom. A lot of the knowledge that our schools teach could be self paced.

The individual pace through the information would show their need not grades. The teacher can be one on one with those that are in need help grasping the information. They can actually teach!

They say our schools are over crowded. That there are too many students to a class room. What says that the information required for high school education has to take 12 years. Letting each student set their own pace would help. It would also allow those with gifted minds to shine. None of those would fall through the cracks as in our present system.

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#17

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 10:57 AM

I may be too late to join this discussion, but need to chime in as I hear about this daily when my wife comes home. As several others have stated, the main problem is the Feds hold on the schools through the funding that is taken and redistributed with strings attached. No public school system can resist that kind of power.

With our PC society, the standards are lowered to the lowest common denominator and, as a result, no one's needs are met. The latest trend is to place the "special needs" kids in with the regular students so they will not feel they are "different." However, most of these are behavior problems and disrupt the class so much no one can get the benefit of a teacher's attention. My wife loves to teach science and math (elementary level), but the school system now requires so much time to document the progress of the latest program they are pushing, less time is available to actually teach children. I believe the inmates have taken over the asylum.

Sorry for the rant, but there's a lot of reasons that math and science are not being taught.

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#20

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 11:31 AM

I would say that parents must also play a role in this. If the teacher has explained the subject and the kid doesn´t get it, explain it in some other way. Parents must get involved in the learning process of their kids. School is not the only responsible player in this game. I know it is much easier to blame the system, but if there is a lack of something and the school system doesn´t provide it, why wait? Do something about it. Just this weekend, my son asked for help in math for his final exam. At first I was reluctant, but after a good heart to heart with my wife she came out and pointed the following: " If your willing to teach someone else´s kids (I teach college students), why not teach your own?" She is absolutely right.

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#22

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 12:09 PM

One way to interest students in science is to let them run experiments on their computer. An example is several tutorials I loaded onto YouTube showing how to use a powerful and free circuit simulation program, MCap10 evaluation. It lets a young person have the equivalent of an electronic workbench with parts, instruments, wire and power supplies to use to build circuits and test them. There should be more such programs in various science fields, that introduce students to an exciting rush of understanding science without the initial crush of complex detail and computation. Perhaps some of you could load science oriented tutorials onto YouTube for students to examine. Type Frank1H2P into the YouTube search box to view my tutorials.

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#28
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 2:56 PM

Running experiments on the computer is a wonderful idea, but it will never replace the thrill of listening to the crystal radio set you put together from a Radio Shack kit (do they still make these???). Once upon a time, one could buy all sorts of science kits that let children get some real hands-on science experience (I suspect the do-gooders have pretty much put an end to the once-ubiquitous chemistry set, but there should still be cheap microscopes and such that can capture a youngster's interest for hours, and lead down a wonderful path of discovery). Electronics kits that let them build buzzers and flashing lights entertain (and teach) for hours. Anybody seen an analog computer kit being sold lately? Nothing but a few pots and switches and some form of readout, but wonderful for teaching basic math...

I don't even know if these sorts of toys are even available today- last time I was in a Radio Shack store, it was hard to find anything other than radio-controlled toys, already assembled and ready to run. Not much education there...

And what ever happened to the erector set?

Hands-on is important- something they can show off to Mom and Pop and Friends- "Hey, I did this with my own hands!"

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#23

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 12:16 PM

Many methods can be devised to promote science and technology, engineering, and mathematics among young people. But crux of the problem is not in developing methods but to persuade kids to take up these subjects seriously enough.

Westerners having attained very high level of living standards is paying a penalty for creating a society in which the citizens need not have to struggle hard unlike their less fortunate counter parts in developing world where learning a skill is essential for survival. Advanced societies having removed the challenge for survival have also effectively nullified the need for response and there is no incentive for the children to acquire creativity based education.

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#29
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 2:59 PM

It is not the fault of the children. Children from every society are born with an innate curiousity and need only a little encouragement and guidance. The issue is that, at least in the US, the common attitude is, "Let the Government do it." Parents are the ones that are not living up to their primary responsibility. If your children are not getting a proper education, it is YOUR fault, not society's fault.

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#31
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 3:29 PM

When it was local schools and local school board control that was still ok. Now we have the Federal government directing things from afar and we have school boards that are totally out of control. When my youngest was still in school I went to his high school and asked several teachers and administrators in passing how the school was doing. I got all kinds of information about the football and basketball teams standing. This was the same year that they needed school supplies sent to school by the parents, but they could spend 1.1 million on an outside locker room for the football team that later had to be rebuilt before it could be use because the contractor buddy of the superintendent wired it in an unsafe manor. The county building inspector declared it unsafe for habitation. The contractor had already been paid because the superintendent had already signed accepting the completed building.

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#35
In reply to #31

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 3:56 PM

Judging by you comment I would say there is just as much graft, incompetence and inertia in the local school board as there is in the federal dept. of education. That squares pretty well with my experience. Some private schools are better, but many are just as bad or worse. I believe that if we start giving school vouchers the increased demand will speed the decline in private schools as well. As long as we the people are content to live our lives at the animal level and idolize under-educated celebrities and athletes, and even elevate them to leadership positions based on their physical strength and attractiveness, we will face a serious up-hill battle.

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#37
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 5:05 PM

I am in full agreement with the voucher idea. That will put the incentive back in the system. People will vote with their feet, I mean money and the good schools and teachers will profit while the bad and mediocre will fail. That is the way things are supposed to work and will work if we get the government out of the way. That is also the way business works, the good ones profit and the bad ones go out of business.

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#26

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 1:36 PM

It's all about the 'cool'. Teaching math and science to kids would be a breeze if math and science were cool. Only somebody who is cool can persuade others that something is cool. Parents and teachers are rarely seen as cool. Parents and educators can only do so much in this media saturated world, where cool is defined by consumption, attitude and physical appearance.

I applaud Time Warner's effort, and wish them (and all of us) good luck. If they and the other media empires will join the effort, if they are truly serious and in it for the long haul, it could work.

But I think it has to be aimed directly at kids (students), and the media will need to use all the tricks they have developed over the years to make it work. The psychological techniques they have used for decades to sell us stuff we don't need and don't know we want (until we see the ad), will need to be turned full bore on selling us something we need desperately. They will also need to turn down the volume on their less helpful contrary messages. This is unlikely since media income is from paid advertising, and advertising tells us we can become cool, not by changing who we are but just by purchasing the right products.

Or this could just be an excuse to feed stories to adult viewers about how modern day kids just don't cut it. Clearly most of the adults in our society don't cut it either, or we wouldn't be in this mess to begin with.

If we can't persuade kids to study math and science because it's cool, there may be an alternative already at work: fear of the future. I have two college aged sons, and they have both recently changed from cushy majors in English and History, to math and medicine. Many of their college friends seem to be changing direction as well.

One important step the media could play in this would be to stop the nonsense about 'economic recovery'. The newspapers, magazines, and cable news networks run stories about some politician or other claiming that if we just changed tax and spending policies we would be back in fat city again. This is rubbish. Most of the economic downturns in living memory were cyclical, and could be expected to end quickly. Politicians would change tax and budget policies, then wait a few months and claim credit for their 'solution'. This one is structural: we are overpaid and undereducated.

We will either become better educated or much, much poorer. The better our students understand this, the better the chance that they will bring some realism into their educational choices. Our president has been making the case that 'countries that out-educate us today will out-compete us tomorrow'. He could use some help. He's not all that cool.

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#30
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 3:04 PM

Maybe they are changing degrees in part because of a current public fears over a perceived tight job market. Math isn't really a high demand high paying degree, but some offshot induzstries such as application in graphics and the stock market are developing well into profitable jobs, and well as long as w pay Nurses with a AS degree as much or more than General Practioners, Doctors will always be a high demand job. It might be increasing pressures to seek out secure jobs. It used to be for about 12 years there that jobs in marketing and real estate were high paying and easy to get with little or no aptitudes, such is not the case now as you have implied. We currently have a relatively large cross-section of our society that spent a decade learning no skills because they could be paid better than skilled professionals, and they have to compete in a tighter job market (actually the market has probably just corrected back to the way it had been during the prior centuries, and away from the artificially inflated market of the late 1990s through 2006). This kind of increased competitiveness in these lesser skilled job sectors means more competent young people may have a tendency to migrate towards more secure jobs that may require greater technical skills and upfront educational effort. (Of course the public demand may just make our higher educational institutions lower the standards in those fields to do what they have done for the last 2 decades with Teachers and Nurses, and become diploma mills.)

Media is a reflection of the publics perceptions, particularly thing like mass fears. While it is good that they try to take a more active role in shaping our perceptions, the money is in saying what people want to hear. A lot of the problem seems to be that many people themselves are pporly educated in science and math, particularly elementary school level teachers, adn as such they don't understand it and create a perception amongst those they teach about how nerdy the subject is. Maybe schools need to push for better education in these fields and less in liberal arts. Maybe junior high school science teachers should understand chemistry at least as well as, if not better, than engineers with chemistry degrees. We might have more interest, if teacher actually were educated in the subjects they are supposed to teach and certified based more on that skill, than educated in how to educate no matter the subject (which is actually a silly concept anyways). It is hard for someone who barely understands science to explain what exactly it is applied to in the future career fields and daily lives of children. If you have ever sat in a higher level physics or chemistry course being taught by a professor who specializes in that field you can see the enthusiasm him brings with him and how he can explain the relevance and details behind the subject, and that can really make a subject interesting to children

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#33
In reply to #30

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 3:37 PM

'elementary school level teachers.... don't understand it and create a perception amongst those they teach about how nerdy the subject is.'

I think you have it right. They also teach young children that science and math are so complicated that even their teacher doesn't get it.

BTW: my 'math' student is also studying physics and computer science. I don't think he's looking for a job - I think he hopes to create one for himself.

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#32

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 3:32 PM

One day when I was about 12, and my father and a couple of brothers and I, were digging a hole behind our log cabin cottage for a septic tank, (and distribution lines)

The ground was very stony and thin, as we were on an island... and we were having doing a lot of stone picking, but we came to a huge rock, about 3 feet in diameter...

We had no other location for the tank, so the stone had to go. We tried lifting it with 4 guys.. no way. We tried to chisel a line across it, and split it.. no way. Then my dad said, we need to build a fire on top of the stone, heat it up, and then douse it with cold water, and that might crack the stone.. and make smaller pieces.. so we spent a few hours doing that... no change. no splits.

Then my dad says, we need to make a windlass. and he starts organizing that.. cutting poles, getting rope, etc. Us boys had no idea what a windlass was, and when he explained it, we didn't think it would work. We knew that there was nothing short of a back hoe that would get it out. and that would have to wait til winter to get a hoe on the island... and we had no budget for that anyway.

before long, we had a simple windlass built, and the rock was harnessed every which way with ropes around it. (a lot more digging to get that done)

and then slowly, this rickety frame, rope, and pole system raised that beast out of the hole. I remember being completely impressed with it all, and that my dad knew that technology. I had more respect that day. I learned a lot..

Experiences like this, with blood sweat and tears, and eventual success, form the basis of a lot of learning later. This is a practical engineering application, don't you think?

Chris

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#34
In reply to #32

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 3:51 PM

GA Chris. Hands-on+ parental involvement+ practical application= EDUCATION

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#36
In reply to #32

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 4:06 PM

Xlnt for those of us lucky enough to have been born to parents with such practical knowledge, but what about the rest of our species? My dad brought us up that way, and I have tried to do the same for my sons, but seriously - have you met our neighbors? I agree that hands-on experiences are crucial, but for too many people 'hands-on' means holding onto the TV remote.

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#39
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 5:22 PM

More importantly hands on only works if it is a learning experience, which means some one there should understand the mechanics of the system to explain it while they are developing it. This is where you see a serious deficiency now, fathers typically do not really understand exactly how these things work and /or are not particularly good at explaining what they do know to others, and mother do not typically get involved in such things (with a few exceptions in both cases). In addition parnets do not like to be reminded about how much knowledge they lack. We complain about how american children are undr-performing, but they still tend to know more than most of their parents. I don't beleive it is that our children are getting dumber but rather that in general other countries parents take more pride in their children being more knowledgable then they are. Most americans you meet will get very irritated when their children tell them things they themselves do not understand, and say things like the education system needs to go back to the basics they learned under, e.g. the three Rs. Of course the Three Rs the way it was taught in the 50's and 60's would just lead to children being even further behind other societies. Our problem is really the arrogance and egos of the parents who believe they were more knowledgeable at that age, that their children's learning should be the responsibility of the schools alone as they have better things to do, and that education doesn't reflect the real world (like their job). Intersting story I was talking to our administrative assts the other day and they were talkign about how nice their childrens teachers were and how they hoped they got same type of teacher this year. My query was they were nice but how much did your children learn. they could not answer they question, all they knew was these teachers were great to meet with during parent teacher meetings and their children never got into any trouble or have any academic problems. This is how parents tend to think today, as long as their childrens education doesn't disrupt their lives or embarrass them, all is good and the kids can hopefully get a NFL contract or union job out of high school.

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#40
In reply to #39

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 6:09 PM

Well said. You can always hear stories about how bad our education system is. The dirty little secret is that it has been bad for a long time, and the adults who were educated in it are just as damaged as their children. The blind lead the blind.

It seems to me that a few months back there was a discussion in CR4 about 'adopting' a science class made up of troubled kids to provide the knowledge that their teacher freely admitted he lacked. I haven't heard of anything coming from this idea, but it seems like a good one. As you say, too many families lack the knowledge base required to play this hands-on learning game.

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#42
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 8:04 PM

Actually what Iw as saying is that the adults were probably well educated in their time, but things progress or evolve, and other societies are acquiring the knowledge and conveying this greater amount of knowledge on to their generations faster than we are. Inessence we may have some people who are static with a 1970s concept of the knowledge base children need, but the information and understanding now has evolved since the 1970s or 1960's or such. Plus there are a lot of AMerican Adults who believe in the concept of this knowledge was good enough for me in x grade my children should be learning it, I know enough to get by well enough now, blah blah blah.

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#43
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 8:34 PM

" Of course the Three Rs the way it was taught in the 50's and 60's would just lead to children being even further behind other societies."

Let's see. I learned the 3Rs in the 50s and 60s, so that must mean that I'm an ignoramus now that the world has moved on. Why is it, then, that I am constantly teaching what should be basic knowledge and skills to people expensively "educated" under more "modern" methods?

What utter nonsense. As my much-missed friend Ladislao Pazmany used to say: "de laws of physics, dey do not change."

The simple truth is that innovations in pedagogy are simply window-dressing, used more often than not to cover up inadequacy. People have been teaching other people for as long as people have existed. Certain ways of doing it are known to work. What needs to be taught is equally well known, and doesn't change much at the elementary level. Spare me the buzz about computers, the Internet, etc. Try using those if you can't read and write, and then tell me that the three R's don't matter.

Teacher qualifications are another known quantity that does not change. A teacher must:

1. Know his subject matter

2. Know how to teach it.

Well, duh. But I would have to say that most teachers whom I encounter today fail at least one, and too often both of those tests. Our dismal ranking in science and math, despite the heaviest per-capita spending in the world, is easily explained: teachers can't teach what they don't know, and teachers are not being taught science and math. Duh.

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#38

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 5:10 PM

Books ......... my personal experience and how I became interested in math and sciences was books. Many of my teachers were like those described in previous posts with only a few exceptions, my dad was a white collar banker who was a workaholic so not much time spent there. But I still remember my first Arthur Clarke book like it was yesterday (Childhood's End), then came Issac Asimov's fiction and then his non-fiction. I believe that if children are given the gift of reading (thank you mom) they will follow their own curiosity where ever it leads and in spite of poor teachers and busy parents they will learn.

My only complaint with this theory is that science fiction literature is given such a bad reputation. Like all types of literature there is the good stuff and the poor stuff but in my day nobody considered Sci-fi as literture. Even that produced by the masters.

Get children to read and all the other subjects will follow.

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#41

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/20/2010 7:07 PM

Remember the line from the movie " The Graduate?" "Plastics." Unfortunately, we've made "it" all about money in our society. Younger kids (3-4 yrs. old) aren't interested in money, per se, but are usually interested in sugar, by that time. Bribing, I mean, er, rewarding, as insidious as it is, can help. My brother and I were rewarded with some spending money depending on our grades in school each year. Of course, if one is inclined, cheating can get those rewards. I didn't cheat. It did play a role in my effort studying, although, honestly, my effort and grades depended much more on my interest in the class and subject matter. If I wasn't interested, money didn't seem to help much. Each child has a natural inclination for subjects taught in school. I decided to major in Physics in college because of my high school class and teacher. His effusive enthusiasm and true awe of the wonder of math and science was "catching." Now, 40 years later, I think too much emphasis on science and math as the saviors of humanity is overplayed. I wouldn't disagree that competency in math and science would help make a more informed citizenry, but it's hard to make someone interested in math or science if they don't already have in inkling of interest. No matter how many ways you try to inspire some to math and science it just won't "take" in some. I, also, wouldn't present the subject of science as the "cure" to all man's ills. This is easy to succumb to, given our advances, but our advancements have actually raised as many questions about the universe as they have answered. Dark energy and dark matter, for example.

For every Bernie Madoff that gets caught, there are probably hundreds.. no, thousands who don't. As long as getting money is more important than how it's a tough row to hoe.

I notice some blame here for Federal involvement. That still comes back around to involvement of citizens to know what their representatives in Congress are up to and voicing their opinions. Bad participation=Bad government. We should have never stood for all the Gerrymandering of districts. Should have demanded term limits. Should have put people in jail for using their powers while in government to benefit themselves once they got out. Should have kept the view of corporations that the founders and early congressmen had in the beginning -- limit their power and lifetime -- i.e., make their charters renewable and revocable. They are not living and breathing human beings and should not have the rights of living human beings. Get money out of politics and let some fresh air and sunlight in there. Ask for the highest ideals in elected representatives. They should come from the ranks of the common man, but should also be the best examples of "right living." Truly speaking, I think banking should never have become a business and a "profession."

"60 Minutes" recently repeated a segment about Medicare fraud, and how it has become a very costly crime robbing our tax dollars. Where is the outcry about health care costs?? My wife head surgery recently and was in the hospital for 10 days. The bill? Try $80,000!!! We asked for and got an itemized bill. A box of facial tissue was $28.00!! That isn't fraud??!! We all moan about the government. It's us folks! We've got we we've got because we have allowed it to happen.

I'm not saying I think the government is doing a great job. It's doing a lousy job. But let's get the ultimate source of the blame right. We have met the enemy and it is us.

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#44
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/21/2010 10:18 AM

GA. Pogo for President.

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#49

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/21/2010 6:36 PM

I have been doing this for twenty+ years. I lead a 4H science club and have been told I can't ever leave 4H. We are trying to go to the Lemelson-MIT Eurekafest 2011 as part of Inventeams and are currently working on a project to present next June.

http://web.mit.edu/inventeams/apply.html

We also do the Tech Challenge at the Tech Museum in San Jose Ca. live from Essex County New York, via web cam.

http://techchallenge.thetech.org/

4H is all hands on and I act only as the coach. The team really has to solve the problems and talk to the judges for themselves.

You can do something this too, from where ever you happen to be. Acta non verb

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#50

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/21/2010 8:25 PM

Raise the bar! Make the testing 'blind' so the teacher doesn't know what is going to be on it. That way they can't teach the test. There are many programs out there that will do this for you. You input an infinite number of questions and answers (multiple guess, obviously) and when it is time to take a quiz or test you print one out. Not even the teacher will know what questions are on the test.

Don't give the school districts advanced copies of the CAT exams, again so they can't teach the test. They were doing that when my daughter was in school and the weeks prior to the CAT they were teaching the test.

No more do overs when they don't get a high enough score. If you fail and want to take it again, both of the scores are averaged. No way to change that D into an A by retaking it. And a minimum passing score to graduate will get them motivated also.

Making it more interesting is up to the districts, if they buy a boring book there is nothing that you can do about it.

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#51
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/22/2010 11:46 AM

...the CAT exams.

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#53
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/22/2010 1:27 PM

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#52
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/22/2010 11:58 AM

Exactly, it should be a blind test to the teachers, as it is also a measure of the teachers performance. Teachers unions need to start considering how much damage they do to themselves by making every attempt to support and protect the weakest performers in their industry at the cost of the better teachers. The unions should want blind testing so they can determine who is qualified and competent. Competent people don't want to get stuck in that kind of corrupted industry where skills do not matter, which leads to a trend of more corrupted lazy people entering the industry as labor because it is a easy income and they prefer babysitting to having to have a real job where production and quality count.

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#54

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/22/2010 6:20 PM

I think it is interesting to see how many comments are made by so many different people. I think that shows how important it is to find a solution to the problem of our kids (not mine, we have Homeschooled our 3 kids for the last 17 yrs.) not learning critical thinking skills and information that is relevant to living life successfully in society as interdependent contributors.

I have heard it said, and I agree, that the job of a teacher is not to communicate facts but to inspire learning in their students. That takes on a lot of different facets by way of lecture, hands-on, practical, group activity and learning from those who are using the information that is being communicated.

I visit with quite a few young people who are in college and many, if not the majority of them, don't know what they want to do with the courses they are in. My advice to them is to finish the semester they are in and get a job, for free if need be, in the field that interests them and get some hands-on experience and visit with people who are and have been working successfully in that field. When they go back to school they know why they are there and will be more motivated to learn because there is a purpose or "end in mind" like Stephen Covey wrote about in Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Also, if they are paying for the education themselves they will be more apt to apply themselves. What doesn't cost us we don't value.

If you know what you want to accomplish, learn from someone who is successfully working with that "vehicle" and has the results you are looking for, then do what they do, preferably with their help. I think it was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said that "most men/women live lives of quiet desperation". That is because most people aren't doing what they love. They are doing what is available or out of obligation rather than live a life of priority and purpose.

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#55
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/22/2010 7:05 PM

similar concept as I was describing as a shortfall in the unuionized teacher we curently employ, you have presented the idea of integrating the relationship to real world work in with the educational experience. This may be accomplished at a college level by an internship typically near junior year once they have achieved some knowledge base, and still relativvely rare (plus most students can not afford to not work in their free time to pay for college). However, at a lower level where they have no knowledge base for higher skills like sciences, math, engineering, etc. and internship is extremely hard to achieve with a interesting company in the field of interest to that student. I work for a huge engineering company and we only offer a handful of internships located in only our largest offices in the largest municipal areas. It is much more useful if the teachers have some real world experience in the industry that helps them correlate the knowledge between the abstract concepts and how you would really apply them in a job. Additionally, the teacher would likely be more astute coming from industry, since teaching degrees are not based on educational standing and working experience like professors but rather educational training in State approved courses for certificates (Many tenured civil/mechanical engineering professors have to have achieved their PE for tenure in most ABET universities, have to publish research in their field, and frequently have at least a few years of experience in the industry outside of academics, while almost no full-time public school teacher has every worked as a professional in the field they profess to teach). so how can we expect teachers to make any subject relevent to the students, if they themselves do not understand the applicability.

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#56

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/23/2010 2:54 AM

One of the issues that has disturbed me for years about "Public Education" is an inherent conflict of interest between the goals of Government and the greater benefit to society. Government generally has a desire to educate in a manner that produces good citizens. Unfortunately, "good citizens" very rarely are going to rock the boat. On the other hand, it is easy to argue that society benefits most from the "free thinkers"- those who can come up with innovative solutions to issues that arise. Innovation disturbs the "status quo"- "Free thinkers" rock the boat. Government benefits by educating the natural "creativity" that can be witnessed in almost any pre-schooler...

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#57
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/23/2010 11:14 AM

Government generally has a desire to educate in a manner that produces good citizens. I'm not sure it is the government per se that has a particular agenda to promote. I think there are powerful people and organizations that have a very liberal agenda that can only be instituted by creating a certain mindset of dependency in the citizens. They want to create a society of people who have the mindset of sheep, where all is provided for them and they are led everywhere by a few chosen people who don't lead they dictate. People who know and understand the TRUTH about freedom, free enterprise, capitalism and what makes us a great country (contrary to what our current administration thinks about our country and who is apologetic for the greatness of the United States of America [with it's faults, I know we're not perfect]).

An example of this is the slaves in America were not allowed to learn or to be taught how to read, even by some of the slave owners who wanted to help them, because the people with an agenda knew that if they were able to read and be educated that they would, in an even greater way, understand and desire freedom.

This all very much comes down to an ideological battle for the mind and heart of our citizens. There is a great picture of an individual that those powerful people and organizations don't want to have around. I hope you enjoy The Rascal Manifesto.

The Rascal Manifesto by Chris Brady, "I was born free and I intend to live like it. This means that I will live my life while I'm alive. No one owns me except my Creator. No one can put me in a box, a category, a social group, a voting block, or a classification. I am fiercely independent (interdependent). I know that with my freedom comes responsibility. I take responsibility for my own actions, and I hold the bar high on myself. I am not afraid to struggle, because it's the struggle that makes me great. I know that excellence always lies on the other side of inconvenience. I am a learning machine. I read, I confront brutal reality, I grow. Long term, no one and nothing can defeat me, because I will keep coming back, stronger and better than before. I will educate myself about the true principles of freedom, and I will strive mightily to preserve freedom for the next generation. I rely on no man and no government to provide for me. I will not follow the herd of mediocrity and victim-thinking. I don't follow herds, instead I run with a pack – a pack of Rascals. Let others bask in their privileges, as for me, I will invest them in my purpose. I will defy description. I will charge the hill. I will make a difference. I'm a Rascal!"

This is not the kind of individual that our educational system can turn out. It is incumbent on those of us who fit in the Rascal Camp to pass it on to our kids and the next generations through them.

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#58
In reply to #57

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/23/2010 1:01 PM

So let me get this straight: some slave owners wanted to educate their slaves but generally could not because of 'powerful people and organizations that [had] a very liberal agenda' who wanted to keep the slaves illiterate and uneducated.

In the context of our sorry history of slavery I would have thought (out of deep ignorance apparently) that the 'liberal' side would be the abolitionists who wanted to end slavery and those slave owners who wanted to at least improve their lot, while the 'conservatives' would be the people who wanted to maintain a system where property rights included the right to own people and keep them ignorant. I guess I had it all backwards. Thanks for clearing this up for me.

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#59
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/23/2010 2:39 PM

Well there is that, plus the recent fiasco in the Texas over the board decisions to revise text books contrary to biological terminology standards was not a group of liberal but very conservative and poorly educated people fighting against terminology they felt was potentially contradictory to their personal religious beliefs. Teachers admittedly tend to be extemely liberal in their veiws regarding education as they have no experience or knowledge of budgetary constraints or real life industry/business, but sometimes the elected board members can be just as ignorant on the conservative side, not understanding budgets, real life industry or working processes (or any science sometimes at all). the teachers don't really have to have any real working experience in the fields they are trying to teach, but just as frequently the small business people and housewives who have the time to be on a board don't either.

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#61
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/23/2010 3:13 PM

So much of the 'federal' vs 'local' control debate seems to ignore the historical facts. The federal government got involved in this because so many local school systems were doing a lousy job. It may now be the case that the federal government is doing a lousy job as well. But if there is a solution to this it is not to get the feds out and put the locals back in control. The solution would be to keep uneducated twits (both federal and local), and the special interests who benefit from widespread ignorance out of the process. That of course would require that the public be wise enough to know who's who and what's what.

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#60
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/23/2010 3:01 PM

The slavery that took place in our American history was a travesty and should never have happened.

The idea of slavery didn't start in America and it didn't end with the Civil War and reform by and in our government and in England. It continues on today with a different face, that being a generation of people who are not forced into servitude by the lash of a whip and chains, but by a lack of education about freedom that is perpetuated by a government-run educational system that wants a bunch of dumbed-down citizenry to exploit. They are enticed by flowering promises of "free everything" and are willing to give up their freedom for a few crumbs off the table of those people who have sold us down the river for their own gain. Those kind of people don't fit in just the Democrat or Republican parties. It has been said "that if you want to truly test a man's character, give him power". We have had way too many people over the years that have terrible character and won't do what is best for our country and those they serve rather than for their own benefit.

"Above all, we must realize that no arsenal, or no weapon in the arsenals of the world, is so formidable as the will and moral courage of free men and women. It is a weapon our adversaries in today's world do not have."
Ronald Reagan

I'm not so interested in putting labels on people or groups of people, as I am interested and impassioned to affect change in people's thinking so that we recover the lost ground of liberty and freedom, politically and economically, and do whatever it takes to restore our country to it's founding ideals. We always have to go back to the source/foundation and away from personal feelings and agendas. Personal feelings and agendas that are not built upon and supported by the Constituion and other original documents outlining how we as a free, representative republic is to operate, will be clouded and lead us to wrong thinking and the subsequent results.

Because of our fallen nature we as mankind will always have the tendancy to try and gain control of people who are weaker than we are. That's why educating people is so important, they are less likely to be taken advantage of because they know what freedom is, what it cost to obtain and what it takes to keep it.

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#62
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/23/2010 4:11 PM

Maybe the 'government' does all these bad things because it is bloated, corrupt, and inept. Then again, it may be the impetus for this is more complicated. Many people (myself included) believe that our government is largely 'in the pockets' of private interests who benefit from widespread ignorance and apathy, and carries out these bad education policies at their behest.

Some private interests (lets call them businesses) benefit from an educated work force, but some businesses do better with undereducated 'cogs' on the wheel. My sense is that for the last few decades this second group has the upper hand. High tech industries are screaming for a better educated workforce, but many old industries (mineral extraction, forestry, agriculture, finance/insurance, retail, etc.) have a different agenda. They want workers who don't rock the boat or ask questions, a public that will scarf up their products without thinking about it too much, and a government that doesn't tax them to pay for luxuries like education and infrastructure.

There is nothing new about this - it's the same story of old money vs new money. Government is not so much a player in this game as it is the battle ground on which old and new money fight it out. Deflecting popular anger towards the government is one of the tricks old money uses to try and keep the upper hand.

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#63
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/23/2010 4:28 PM

I agree education with regards to politics is important. World History is important as well so people can see how democracy doesn't work, and the reasons for choosing a system more consistent with Rome than with Athens. To know such things it requires some knowledge of these different systems of government. For instance our was never meant as a absolute freedom for the people, bear in mind the Whiskey rebellion and George Washington's response.

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#64
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/23/2010 6:46 PM

You do have it backward. The "liberals" have a tendancy to take away peoples rights and liberties, i.e. gun control, overbearing taxation, smoking (for your health of course), property rights limitations, education, forcing purchase of a particular health care plan, don't drill for oil off the coast for 6 months, etc. The list could go on and on.

The "conservatives" have a tendancy to allow people to operate according to their own judgment in business and individual choices. I understand that some choices are governed, but that should not be because of an agenda or personal preference, it should be based on Constitutional guidelines and Godly principles.

I understand there are people in both parties who pursue their own agendas of power and influence to the detriment of all of us. That's why broad brush labels don't work very well, but there is "fruit on the tree" to look at and determine where a certain ideology is present. We do have problems in our governmental system but it is not the fault of the system, it is the fault of people that get voted in by ignorant (not stupid, just uninformed) voters and the corruption by power and perks. It all comes back to the character issue of those we choose to represent us. I will take someone with character over charisma, background or pedigree any day of the week.

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
Abraham Lincoln

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#65
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/24/2010 1:00 PM

Why would you quote one of the moderate liberals of his day at the end? He planned to substantially change US business in such a way it lead to a Civil war, he helped change the constitution substantially, he was one of the strongest opponents to States rights and a proponent of a stronger federal government (and through force of arms achieved his goal). Do you really think that your rant here is all that different than some Georgia cotton grower in 1859, the details have changed a little bit in the 150 or so years, but...

The current conservatives are no more liberty oriented than the liberals, both want big government and specific controls, just different controls. current "Conservatives" tend to lean toward forced religion in school and restrictions on religious freedom (except the approved religions), restrictions on scinetific research if deemed contrary to their religious beliefs, agricultural and business subsidies (but only in their own businesses) with tax money, restrictions on who lives in the US and how/where they are allowed to reside, restrictions on cultural differences (unless you belong to their culture/ethnicity), taxation for different policies while claiming no new taxes. the conservatives are split between the old business at all cost guys, and the new religion above all else people. consider the greatest replublicans were themselves considered extemely liberal in their time, Teddy Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln. the highest taxation occurred under republican administrations, 91% on the richest 1% during Eisenhower's term. More major environmental laws were passed under Reagan and Nixon than all democratic administrations during that period. On the other hand far more military actions have been initiated under Democratic presidents in the last 100 years. Maybe the battle cry doesn't match the reality, and is just a bunch of hyperboly for the ignorant masses to rally behind. Maybe democrats good intentions end up leading them into a quandry of unethical means to achieve lofty ends, which don't materialize, and republicans bad intentions lead to negotiating to head off any potential public ground swells against them which lead to loftier ends than the democrats can achieve. All the while they tell the masses a emotionally infused story, a battle cry, which is not representative of their true intentions.

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#66
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/24/2010 2:16 PM

A fine synopsis of a confusing clusterf**k. ga.

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#67
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

09/24/2010 2:44 PM

"I understand there are people in both parties who pursue their own agendas of power and influence to the detriment of all of us. That's why broad brush labels don't work very well, but there is "fruit on the tree" to look at and determine where a certain ideology is present." I'm not putting anyone in a box because of an R or D beside their name. I look at the thought process that drives the decision making and the subsequent results on the people they are supposedly representing.

I guess it comes down to what ideology we have; a big government or a more limited form of government. There is no perfect solution to the ills of our country because we are a diverse group of people. It is just better for us to follow the guidelines of our Founding Fathers who had awesome insight and vision for what this country could be when we are guided by principles and not personal preference.

We can pick eachothers statements apart and go round and round without resolving the problems in our country. One thing that we should be able to agree on though is that we are better off with a limited amount of government involvement in our lives. You and I know better how to make, spend and save our money that any government beaurocrat ever will. It has been said that "the government should only do for you what you can't do for yourself, i.e. protect our borders, our sovereignty, provide a judicial system that works for all of our legal citizens and helps us operate in an orderly society and respond to national emergency." The rest of government intervention has all been added on by people of all colors, backgrounds and ideologies that seek to gain power over their own countrymen.

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#69
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/01/2010 8:18 PM

However, there are a number of cases where the federal government has stay out of involvement and direct interaction by policy and regulation, which has frequently cased great damages to the citizen and a huge amount of backlash. If you trust corporations or even privately owned compaies to do what is right, you find a great deal of corrupt morally difficient behaviors driven by profits that arise. Some corporations have been known to dispose of toxic waste in the back 40 and then give the land to the local school district without a full disclosure of risk. Many private companies when it came to disposing of toxics in properly or disappearing them in a pond somewhere behind the plant chose the immediately cheaper of the two options hoping to never be discovered. One guy contaminated an entire town with dioxin incidental to his business operations. These things happened in the past because of a lack of government oversight, when it was not a proactive response but a reactive response. The meergency response during the disaster in New Orlean due to Katrina was the responsibility of the State through use of the National Guards and local emergency responders. However, FEMA got the blame for it, because they did what they had always been authorized to do assist in the aftermath in directing federal and local agencies and coordinating efforts, not function as a direct emergency responder. You really can not have it both ways, if you want an emergency responder then you have to allow them to set minimum performance standards and requirements to protect against costly emergency occurrences. If you don't want to have people selling you homes where they lie to you about the quality and risk associated with residing there or alternately have your home taken by the government after a hazard is discovered because it is too dangerous to occupy, then you need to have some minimum quality standards. Buyer beware is not the best policy for the public benefit, and it has become the governments job as it has evolved to address this problem while trying to balance against a need for minimal interference in business and the public's lives.

It seems pretty self evident that what you are asking for, much like many ultra conservatives, is non-government interference, except where you feel you need the governemnt to aid and protect you as the common standard for everyone. However, the areas you want less government,except where you want more protection and aid, are not common to every US citizen. If you were gay, you may have a different perception about where the government should intervene and where it should stay out. The majority, which by the way women make up the majority gender, may feel the government should intervene in some areas of our lives you would be extremely uncomfortable about. The size of the government is a reaction to pressures from the constituency. The FBI and ATF were government reactions to constitutional criminal activities in the 1920s. Homeland Security was a reactionary response to the constituencies fears about muslims and foreign terrorists. The government just grows to keep filling in the loopholes that others take advantage of that may cause harm in some manner to the important constituency of concern to some agents of the government, the public and corporations drive and control this growth (with some representative who are seeking popwer through the growth). You can not actually look at the government from the perspective of the limited, and by modern terms extremely poorly educated, founding fathers (don't get me wrong for their day in this region they were relatively well educated, though probably still poorly educated even at that time in comparison to the elite of europe). there were just too many things that our founding fathers had no knowledge of, Heroine, automobiles, modern large scale corporations, large scale banking, telecommunications, rapid dissemination of information, computers, etc. for instance.

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#70
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/02/2010 1:28 PM

"by modern terms extremely poorly educated, founding fathers (don't get me wrong for their day in this region they were relatively well educated, though probably still poorly educated even at that time in comparison to the elite of europe)."

Being "well educated" really doesn't have just to do with the precise details of a certain field. I will take someome with an attitude of responsibility, accountability, work ethic, Biblical based morality, character, etc., over someone who has lots of letters behind their name but doesn't have a proper sense of the characteristics listed above. You can teach facts about history, economics, science etc. but that world view and approach to life comes much harder and is a long in the making. History is replete with people who tried to govern over people without those characteristics and failed miserably. It was because of that that the Roman Empire fell. Our Founding Fathers were fallible individuals who didn't have a "lock" on what would work the best, but you have to agree they established a form of governing that has worked very well in principle for 234 years. The problem comes in when we introduce people who, like I mentioned in an earlier post, operate without those guidelines of responsibility, accountability, work ethic, Biblical based morality, character, etc. They operate according to their own sense of right and wrong for the purpose of their own self benefit and glory. That's where the problem comes in. There is nothing wrong with the system, there is fault in some who participate and operate in the system.

I am not adverse to government involvement, I just want it to be according to our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Those documents clearly delineate the role of the Federal government.

This puny, ill-equipped little country of ours went to war with an oppressive government that tried to increase taxes by 2%, among other things. How much do we pay now in taxes (>50%) to another oppressive government that is out of control?

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#71
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/02/2010 1:46 PM

If they thought taxation without representation was bad, how about taxation with representation?

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#72
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/04/2010 3:10 PM

I would probably strongly dispute any reference to biblical morality as a reason for the fall of Rome, as it fell nealry a century after becoming a singularly christian society, and much more biblically moral than it had ever been previously, and in fact the acceptance of biblical morality may have helped lead to the fall of the Western Roman Empire. Actually in part Rome fell because over time they established a system the substantially segregated the rights of persons within the empire from those of the citizens and the upper classes, they became severely restrictive on the ability of others to attain citizenship, they began using these subordate classes of citizen for all the dirty work that was beneath the Romans, they expanded what was beneath the Romans, they suffered religious transitions to a single religion which substantially increased religious oppressions in the empire, and they had risen in prosperity relative to the surrounding adjacent countries and peoples which remained in the memories of many outside the empire. Decadence and immorality were common place in Rome during its rise and height of power, Rome fell after nearly a century of christianity and christian reforms/oppressions. These created conflicts with the migrating German tribes, that romans tried to play off against each other and use for their "dirty" work. Eventually all the critical jobs in roman societies were being done by German Foederati, such as all military posts of field command through the highest levels, slave labor, personal and household servants, political aids, etc.. Add to this that the german typically were of a different sect, arianism, than the catholic romans, and frequently the romans would try to oppress and outlaw other sect within christianity alone (let alone any other religions) as the government had become integrated with their single religion. Additionally, over time the German progressed more rapidly in educational levels relative to the Romans, as the romans began to become static in their technological growth and education (though not in the arts and religious philisophy). The Germans being in charge of the military, as it had become beneath the Romans, as capable and knowledgeable as the Romans, and providing all the service work simply eventually overthrow the Romans and subordinated them. Heck Rome was a republic still when Crassus 6,000 slaves along the appian way, let alone the old abandoned practice of decimation of roman citizens in the military for failure. What you do see happen through roman society is a decline in personal responsibilities, accountability, glory-seeking and risk-taking, much more politicking they got where they could find immigrants or non-citizens for those roles and romans could just run and operate the business of rome from executive positions deferring the rest on others.

Maybe this is what the Founding fathers had an understanding of , as they had recently within 100 year come out of a severely oppressive religious religious based government in England also. Maybe this is why they wanted the Church to stay out of government. After all biblical morality tends to be subjective to the interpretations of the reader, and theological leader are not typically the best and brightest, but rather the most zealous, committed, and sociopathic.

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#68

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/01/2010 4:26 PM

Spend quality time with them.

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#73

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/14/2010 3:45 PM

A cane is how to do it. If you think i am joking think again, my whole schooling was destroyed when my very persuasive head master left the school and was replaced with the modern weak twat headmaster, it is in the word MASTER, and you shall obey or get it. The new one when it was found children were making a mess on the playground just banned sweets, how pathetic and lame was that. the old one would have got to the root cause and the problem would be no more and we would still have sweets.

This does not apply to all children but i did to people like me who need a strong hand and strong mentor otherwise i walk all over them. Life ain't a box of chocolates and the old school was the way it was for a reason. To many people have it to soft, life is hard, and when you have a tough upbringing it makes things easier. People are not born rich, and those that are will pay a price for that wealth unless they are specifically taught to deal with their wealth and class, a majority are not taught the lessons in life they need. Private schools and university education are great, but in the scheme of the world they are not the be all and end all.

Most wealth starts with hard people who have a goal, or are tough and work hard and these lessons have been lost to the majority of our pathetic weak society that was to much say and too many poxy rights. just take it like a man or woman and bloody get on with it. My grandad did not complain when he was in north Africa shelling the crap out of the Germans (our now past enemy) and being shot at for queen and country. There are people that need to be told and people that don't. and with the rise of dysfunctional families in our country it would benefit us all if some of them were told occasionally, as many do not know what a strong decent figure of a man is.

This is why in our country people still attract to the less desirable side to our society, ie the big tuff criminal, bring back the day when a tough decent man can kick the ass of such scum take back the influence and be looked up to for not taking any crap, our society has listed.

But i do know for practically minded kids in my day you just left with nothing, being that the school system at the time was academia only, and if they taught a lesson right and made it interesting and inclusive for all students the cane would gather lots of dust.

Good Health Dub

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#74

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/14/2010 8:52 PM

........MUSIC.......MUSIC.........MUSIC (especially acoustic, guitar, piano, Indian flute, etc.) from the womb onward. It may be one of the essences of life.

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#75
In reply to #74

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/15/2010 7:08 PM

Absolutely GA. Also, I understand that some families have a tradition having meals together, sometimes even talking about things like science and math over the dinner table. Or discussing books or articles they have read during the day.

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#76
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/18/2010 12:15 PM

Of course given the severe lack of current science and mathematical knowledge of most parents, how would this be helpful, as communication with parents tends to bring out their obvious disdain for science and math, due to their ignorance, and this disdain gets conveyed to the children. Would be much better to have a enthusiastic and knowledgable teacher in school to try to overcome this expressed disdain in the household. The obvious problem becomes that we hire teachers not because they have any undestanding or experience in the subject, but that they have been trained in teaching as a generic approach to all subjects, and they have a generally tendency to be some of the least knowledgable college graduates in the subjects of math and science, unlike college professors in those subjects. Why is it that a college professor has to be highly competent in their field of teaching, and general tenure requires some working/industry experience. However, instead of a substantive background in science and math, public school teachers require training in teaching methods and how to deal with special education and second language issues to teach science and math. Get qualified people who understand the industry and the subject matter, and the students will see these people for their intellect and see the reality of the subject, how it impacts them daily.

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#78
In reply to #76

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/18/2010 1:26 PM

You're right on both point: we need better parents and better teachers. As for the parents, they don't need to be knowledgeable so much as honest, curious, and enthusiastic. An appropriate level of humility also helps. There's nothing wrong with saying 'I don't know much about that Johnny... let's google it'. The cure for ignorance is learning, and never in the history of civilization have we had so much knowledge at our fingertips. Improving the quality of our teachers is going to be tough. As recent reports have shown, most of our K-12 teachers come from the lowest fifth of their graduating class. Some teachers are very knowledgeable, and they are willing to put up with low pay and lack of respect because they understand how important their job is to our future. This is going to be a tough nut to crack, but other countries like Finland and Estonia have done it so it must be possible. Having just bashed teachers for their ignorance, I would say that since we are pretty much flat broke, what we can do is work on the respect side of the equation. If we as parents and tax payers could just 'pretend' that teaching is a respectable profession, maybe after a few years we would see some of our brighter students go into teaching. Then we wouldn't have to pretend anymore. Sometimes a little hypocrisy (we used to call it manners) can go a long way. So I say screw that hot-headed teacher-trashing bastard johnfotl! BTW, in 7th grade I had a Geography teacher who was trying to explain how the tilt of the earth's axis caused our seasons. She sort of understood the concept but had somehow gotten it into her head that the axis wobbled throughout the year. So when she drew the diagram on the board it ended up that it was always summer in the northern hemisphere, and always winter in the south. When I objected, and showed her how to fix the diagram she was actually very thankful (she went to the principal and suggested that they had made a mistake of putting me in the 'dumb' classes). But many of the students in the class were pissed off. So it seems in this case the teacher was ignorant about astronomy but willing to learn, while many of the students were ignorant and damn proud of it. As I said earlier, this is a 'Pogo moment': 'We have met the enemy, and he is us'.

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#79
In reply to #78

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/18/2010 1:54 PM

I like what you said about learning and the need for it to be a continuous process. Someone once said "ignorance is like the itch, the less you have of it, the better off you are." One of our goals, regardless of whether we are in a formal teaching position or not, is to never be content with what we know. The more I learn the more I find out how little I know.

Teachers/professors though especially should be on an ongoing hunt for more knowledge and how to better communicate so they can better inspire their young charges to grow in knowledge and how to apply that knowledge. They have a greater responsibility since the number of people they influence in a formal setting, regardless of the age of the students, will either be inspired or have a devil-may-care attitude towards learning and its subsequent application.

The respect you mentioned that we should have for teachers doesn't come ex-officio with the position though. Respect is earned when there is observation of a life of integrity, character, a track record of activity and results over a period of time.

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#80
In reply to #78

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/18/2010 2:28 PM

Teaching as a profession may be like a Noble Prize in Economics, sounds like a Nobel Laureate but isn't actually a Noble Laureate (or alternately maybe it is more like a Noble Peace prize award, technically is a Noble Laureate but no one really considers it on the same level as the awards in science or medicine). It is hard to make teaching sound like a respectable profession, when in reality it doesn't fully meet the criteria of a profession. Teachers are represented by 2 of the most powerful unions in the nation and paid wages just like any unskilled labor force, and unlike professionals, i.e. Professional engineers, doctors, et.al.. In addition, it is typical for poorly educated people to have a lot of disdain for educated people who are ignorant, and any college educated person knows where teachers actually stand in relation to the education skills required to be employed in the field. It is very hard to consider them respectable professionals considering how many are fairly incompetent in comparison to the requirements for most professionals, having no performance based pay tied to the quality of the deliverable (a good doctor gets paid well and bad one does not) rather than a standard pay scale based on certificates and year working, and being part of such large unskilled labor unions whose benefits derive from having increased enrollment and geenral payments from governmment checks rather then high quality workmanship. Admittedly, the problem is societal, as we have allowed primary school level teaching to migrate from a profession in the 19th century into a unskilled labor profession by the 21st century. I think parents would be more supportive if they had some basis for pay, many teachers earn more then the average person in their communities, they just tend to cap out sooner. A 30 year old teacher earns more than most 30 year old doctors, just as doctors grow into their profession, finish residencies, establish practices and clientele that appreciate their work quality and cost points, they continue to grow in earnings. Maybe teaching should be a profession, they need to contract to schools on a individual basis, establish a clientele, demonstrate in proposals their expertise and qualifications to earn the contracts (definitely the unions only hurt them, in the perception of most people who tend see unionized labor as labor not professions, much like autoworkers, airline workers or teamsters, which might jsut as much complain about public respect).

As far as parents go, well most of them got left behind in the late 1980s with all the advances in science and technology. They can not explain how things work, they just know they hit this button and someone gets a IM. The growth in knowledge for many people over 35 has been significantly slower than the knowledge base has been changing, and most 35+ don't want to have to learn anything at all, let alone new. Compounded by the fact that the ability to manipulate like minded people and profit from it has become more valuable then technical skills. Afterall, you can find a engineer or scientist in India cheaper, but a salesman/manager with sufficiently low enough ethics (and well technical skills because you wouldn't want their knowledge interferring with getting the job completed), hyper-aggressive enough, sufficiently high self image, and skills to deflect responsibility takes special training (some institutions such as banks, hedge funds, and real estate agencies make for prime training grounds). Under the current model direct subject knowledge isn't valuable any more in business in the US, knowing where to find a acceptably knowledgable person who will work cheap is.

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#81
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/18/2010 7:22 PM

Yet this forum is full of individuals well over 35 who are fanatical about continuing to learn new things...And some of them are even parents, and a few teachers. Let us not paint with too broad a stroke here.

Teachers are not the only problem. When a local school district has more support staff than teachers, when teachers have to spend more of their personal time filling out government-mandated reports rather than developing improved lesson plans, you have a problem, and it isn't the teachers, and the unions are only partly responsible for this circumstance. Then you couple this with Kansas and Texas mandating that evolution be taught as "only one theory among many", equal to Devine Design (or whatever they are calling it these days), and you have to wonder about a lot more than just teacher qualifications.

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#82
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/19/2010 12:00 PM

And yet surprisingly, if you read up on what John Legend and a few other entertainers are doing with Charter schools and you see it really is the Teachers. they simply improved the teachers and administration, and had marked improvements.

With regards to the religious right, well they are frequently irrational. Though they are correct in the in the ends (though their argument there is irrational). Evolution technically really doesn't qualify yet as a scientific theory, it is just a concept of Darwins he published. This discussion has occurred before, it does not meet the criteria required for a scientific theory to be accepted, yet. There is not rational argument in a logical language that has gone through scientific peer review, no experimental tests designed to attempt to disprove the theory, and it can not make any testable prediction. Bear in mind that DNA is not evolutionary theory. This is where biologists frequently try to bring in chemistry to confound nay sayers and create stick man support for their concepts. It is just the best concept to explain things at the moment. It is constantly being dramatically revised dramatically.

BTW isn't Devine that tranvestite actress who did those odd movies in the 1990's?

BTW isn't Devine the

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#83
In reply to #82

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/19/2010 1:37 PM

Then you couple this with Kansas and Texas mandating that evolution be taught as "only one theory among many", equal to Devine Design (or whatever they are calling it these days), and you have to wonder about a lot more than just teacher qualifications.

Since when has evolution become part of science? There is no certifiable data or evidence that says it is true or provable. It is simply an unproven theory that is ok to bring into the classroom when it is presented with Intelligent Design thinking also.

You make an interesting statement that the "religious right are frequently irrational". Is that simply because they have a different point of view than you, or is there real evidence of irrationality? I am a part of the "religious right", as you call it, and I am neither irrational or close-minded. Regardless of what "side" we are on, casting dispersion on a group of people who don't see things exactly from our viewpoint isn't beneficial to a discussion. The value of a discussion is bringing up points and evidence to see and think about. If you want the right information you have to ask the right questions. Only then can conclusions be drawn that are correct.

Bear in mind that DNA is not evolutionary theory. This is where biologists frequently try to bring in chemistry to confound nay sayers and create stick man support for their concepts. It is just the best concept to explain things at the moment. It is constantly being dramatically revised dramatically. DNA research doesn't change the science of cells etc. we are simply learning how magnificent and intricate the structure of cells are and how difficult it is to think that the structure just came about by randomness.

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#84
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/19/2010 2:27 PM

Of course, there is never any certifiable data or evidence that proves a scientific theory, only experimental data that, when developed to rigorously test the theory, doesn't disprove it. Evolution is more along the lines of a scientific precursor to a theory, something along the lines of a scientific concept. The approach to the observations has been similar to the initial stages towards development of a theory. But no evidence ever proves a theory true.

Mendel demonstrated a much more scientific approach to developing a scientific theory in his paper Experiments on Plant Hybridization, and this is why genetics is more robust and scientific in its approach, it has a sound scientific foundation. There really is not much room for debate on genetics at the foundations of the science. There is substantial statistical evidence in support of the theories, experiments to test the genetic theories, the theories have rational arguments in a logical language.

You can collect data forever and never prove a theory. Evidence or experimental data collected can be consistent with the theory for a million times, but it only takes one piece of evidence to potentially disprove a scientific theory. This is where science and engineering differ, as engineering theories just have to be generally applicable most of the time and do not necessarily have to rationally explain the underlying mechanics of the system.

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#85
In reply to #82

Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/19/2010 3:26 PM

No, "Divine" refers to Andy Devine, but that probably ages me.

I personally hope some form of evolutionary hypothesis is true- I would hate to think that the human race is doomed to maintain its current state of development till the end of time (or, at least, until it goes extinct). Also, there is strong evidence that our supposed ancesters of a couple million years ago looked a whole lot different than we do, yet there is also chemical evidence (DNA) suggesting that Eve lived in Africa some 170,000 years ago (unfortunately, Adam was either a whole lot older or a whole lot younger- I don't remember which). Of course, pre-Noah, humans tended to live a lot longer than they do today....

My head hurts. Can I be excused from class for the rest of the afternoon?

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#77
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Re: How Can We Get Kids Excited About Math and Science?

10/18/2010 12:36 PM

GA for music and quality time (#68)?

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