Sunday, May 18, 2008

Research--A Heirarchically Based Science Course for Elementary Students: Part 3

Over the weekend, hubby and I went to two library book sales. I'm always looking for children's science and history books, Nancy Drew, and early readers. The good news for me is that libraries are trying to get rid of outdated books--but the only science and history books I really want are all from before the 70s, generally. This time I also picked up whole lot of Rex Stout books (someone was obviously getting rid of a collection). I've never read Rex Stout, but I did enjoy some of the Nero Wolfe TV shows. I also thought they looked a bit like pulp fiction.

I also checked out the adult science and history sections to see if I could find anything that might be helpful with getting the information I need for the course. I'm a total amateur when it comes to science. I have a degree in mechanical engineering, which means I'm not intimidated by the thought of delving into science, but, let's face facts, as hubby (who has bachelor's degrees in physics and math and a masters in computer science) points out: there was physics for physicists and physics for engineers. Guess which one was harder. Same goes for math. I may have taken five semesters of calculus, but I learned more about using it--never had to go into proofs like he did.

So, what I'm basically saying is, I'm a novice in the scientific world and I know it and I know I need a lot of help to get up to speed. I've always been a perfectionist, so I can guarentee that I do not need to know nearly as much as I am going to try to find out in order to present science to 1st through 5th graders. In the back of my mind, I think even just the "How Did We Find Out..." books might be enough--if I reorganize the information presented across a number of books. It seems to be the right depth for elementary age.

I did, however, find a few histories or compendiums of science that I'm reading. I've got my index cards and I'm treating the class like a really ill-defined research paper. After I take a good amount of notes, I'll come up with an outline (trying to follow Dr. Peikoff's advice on communication) and then fill it out from there.

So far I've discovered one of the books starts back at the definition of time and the calendar (too early for my purposes) and another starts at Copernicus (too late!). The first chapter of another Asimov book (boy, I knew he was prolific--but I had NO IDEA how prolific) seems to be about right--though I don't yet know if the book itself presents information chronologically or not--the other two do.

Part 1
Part 1a
Part 2

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