Sunday, December 23, 2012

Favorite Comments of '12: C T, John, Anonymous and Mrsh

On What Philadelphia 5th graders should know how to do

C T said...
I'm not keen on encouraging my child to use all five senses in doing science. She's been growing fungus (obtained from swabbing between her toes...gross) in a Petri dish, and I think purposeful inhalation of its spores would be quite stupid.

John said...
This list makes more sense if read as a checklist for a cargo-cultist.

I intend no sarcasm. These guidelines seem to assume that knowledge and skills are demonstrated in an external and straightforward manner (much like compliance to ritual is) - rather than the reality that you need to actually trip kids up by changing how questions/problems are worded so they can't rely on rote responses, and have to think to answer.

Then you need to understand their mistakes and where they come from to further refine their understanding.

Also, regarding "5 senses" - what sense do I use to determine voltage across a circuit? We don't have one, so we build sensors - and anyway, shouldn't they also learn how senses lie, and their brain is trying to fool them all the time with cognitive biases?

Anonymous said...
I homeschool and I find these vague expectations completely useless in determining what my child actually needs to know. I come from Ireland originally, so I have started using the Irish curriculum standards as a guide. They are much more detailed, so I have a better idea of what is needed at each grade. Here are a couple of examples from a long list for 5th grade math:

"•divide a decimal number by a whole number, without and with a calculator
explore the concept of division of decimals with concrete materials, money and measurement
extend the algorithm in conjunction with place value 75.6 divided by 4."

"•estimate and measure the area of regular and irregular 2-D shapes
measure a wide variety of regular and irregular shapes using square units of onesquare centimetre and one square metre"

An example from science is:

"•identify and explore how objects and materials may be moved
by pushing and pulling
by machines using rollers, wheels, axles, gear wheels, chains and belts
by pouring and pumping
using trapped air pressure (pneumatics)
using trapped liquid under pressure (hydraulics)
using wind energy
harnessing energy of moving water
design and make a lifting device that uses levers and gears
design and make a windmill, water wheel or wind turbine to spin a coloured disk or turn a flywheel"

Mrsh said...
Senses do lie, as John said...gee, this smells like almonds, it must BE shall I taste it to be sure? As the person sips cyanide...

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