Distance Learning

Modeling a Remote Teaching Lesson on the Nature of Science (NOS) and the definition of a PLANET

Hello to my Elementary Science Methods Pre-service Teachers and anyone else who would like to join in!  Our face-to-face sessions have been postponed, but the learning goes on here.  Everyone can find a copy of the instructions my students received Friday morning attached. 

Please join in the discussion; please watch the webinar (which is OUT OF THIS WORLD and presented by PLANETARY EXPERTS!)  When you reply to this post, do so by entering a NEW post by clicking on the "Post Reply" tab and not by reply to this particular post frame.  (That way others can respond to your individual post.)

Choose one (my students will choose two from the four) of the following questions to respond to.  (My students will also do at least one more post that responds to another participant.)

1.     Why is it NOT okay to continue to teach what is in science textbooks if we know the information is outdated/no longer factual? Justify with evidence. 

2.     How is that cutesy song/ mnemonic we learned (and then relearned with only 8 planets) limiting/stifling our students’ understanding about the number of planets in our solar system? (My Very Educated Mother Just Serve Us N…)

3.     There are other pieces of scientific knowledge that you learned in school that have turned out to be incorrect or misleading.  Depending on your age, there may be a LOT of them – especially involving planetary science and astronomy in general!  If you can think of one, share it here.  Use the sentence starters:  I used to think…. Now I know….This is because…

Going a bit beyond:

4.     So many interesting stories can be told about how our scientists before us came up with theories that they couldn’t explain at the time.  New technologies, new discoveries, and amazing math skills provide evidence to support the claims of our scientists sometimes many, many years later.  Pick one below (or choose another one) and give a short synopsis of the story of that scientist’s contribution to science.  Some examples:

a.     Darwin’s orchid and the  hawkmoth’s proboscis: https://www.calacademy.org/explore-science/darwin%E2%80%99s-hawkmoth

b.     Alfred Wegener and the rocky history of plate tectonics:  https://ucmp.berkeley.edu/geology/techist.html

c.     How Isaac Newton finally explains gravity: https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/08/29/how-isaac-newton-figured-out-gravity-with-a-little-help-from-his-friends/#88ca92347341

d.     Mendeleev’s Predictions of Elements not yet discovered on his Periodic Table: https://corrosion-doctors.org/Periodic/Periodic-Mendeleev.htm

e.     Do you have another story? What example can you share?

It is important that we include the NOS in our curricula!  It is important that we share our scientific genius’ mistakes, discoveries, errors in thinking, progression of scientific thought in the absence of evidence to back it up, great discoveries, etc. Students need to know that it is okay to think beyond the box!

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

2.     How is that cutesy song/ mnemonic we learned (and then relearned with only 8 planets) limiting/stifling our students’ understanding about the number of planets in our solar system? (My Very Educated Mother Just Serve Us N…)

 

 In the webinar that we watch about the planets, we are limiting our students when we ask them just to memorize a song or phrase to remember the planets. We aren’t giving them the basic background on why they are formed, what they are made of, and why they are important for us to study. We teach more about our geological planet than we do about our solar system. We should be teaching the students more of the why not just focusing on the memorization of a topic.

Elaine Donovan
Elaine Donovan
924 Activity Points

3.     There are other pieces of scientific knowledge that you learned in school that have turned out to be incorrect or misleading.  Depending on your age, there may be a LOT of them – especially involving planetary science and astronomy in general!  If you can think of one, share it here.  Use the sentence starters:  I used to think…. Now I know….This is because…

 

I use to think that depending on how far the sun was away from us would depend on what season it is. Now I know that it is the tilt away from the sun that makes up the seasons. This is because of my college professor in my astronomy class and also Professor Mohs who have taught me that the knowledge before was misleading and incorrect. I plan on teaching my students the correct way rather than these misconceptions.

Elaine Donovan
Elaine Donovan
924 Activity Points

Hi Elaine,

Thank you for sharing one of your misconceptions (that a lot of people still have): I use to think that depending on how far the sun was away from us would depend on what season it is. Now I know that it is the tilt away from the sun that makes up the seasons. This is because of my college professor in my astronomy class and also Professor Mohs who have taught me that the knowledge before was misleading and incorrect. I plan on teaching my students the correct way rather than these misconceptions.

Just like you and I are able to change our misconceptions into accurate conceptions about scientific phenomena by re-examining our thinking and understandings through the lens of new, more accurate information, so do the scientists change their discourse as they gather new evidence about the way things work in the natural world.  Here is a lesson plan that provides students with some tools for examining this topic - the Nature of Science:

Teaching Through Trade Books: How Do We Know What We Know About the Universe? S&C (Sept 2014)

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

1.     Why is it NOT okay to continue to teach what is in science textbooks if we know the information is outdated/no longer factual? Justify with evidence. 

It is not ok to teach outdated information that is in science textbooks because it reinforces misconceptions about important information, like the definition of planet and how many there are in our solar system. According to Dr. Kirby Runyon, teaching about space accurately and the word choice that we use, affects how we (our students) conceptualize, organize and synthesize information. If we do not address this outdated information and teach the proper, updated information, we are not teaching accurate information! I loved when the experts in the webinar said that we can use this as a teaching opportunity to talk about the process of science. 

2.     How is that cutesy song/ mnemonic we learned (and then relearned with only 8 planets) limiting/stifling our students’ understanding about the number of planets in our solar system? (My Very Educated Mother Just Serve Us N…)

Up unitl today, I thought this song was still accurate and helpful. During the webinar, I even asked my husband (who loves learning about space and I think knows much more than me) how many planets there are, he ansswered eight. I have always been intimidated by space because I know that we know very little. This song has mislead nearly everybody in the world because rather than teaching about the different zones in our solar system, it makes us think that these eight planets are the only planets that exist. The song is limiting our students' understanding because it is not important to memorize names of specific planets, it is more important to know about the zones and how the elements within those zones are the same as the elements on Earth but are different because they are further or closer to sun. So, they can be gaseous or solid. 

Anne Willingham
Anne Willingham
838 Activity Points

2.     How is that cutesy song/ mnemonic we learned (and then relearned with only 8 planets) limiting/stifling our students’ understanding about the number of planets in our solar system? (My Very Educated Mother Just Serve Us N…)
 This song only focuses on the 8 planets rather than all the ones after those 8 planets. Students think that is the end of the solar system since that’s the only ones that the song talks about. This song also doesn't give any information about the planets except their name. Students will learn/memorize the names of the planets but they won't have any knowledge about them. They won't know why they are sang in that order, the background/how they were formed, what they are made of, etc. 

3.     There are other pieces of scientific knowledge that you learned in school that have turned out to be incorrect or misleading.  Depending on your age, there may be a LOT of them – especially involving planetary science and astronomy in general!  If you can think of one, share it here.  Use the sentence starters:  I used to think…. Now I know….This is because…
I used to think heat rises. Now I know that is not true, this is because heat is not a substance; it is energy being transferred. 

 

Cheyenne Schmidtbauer
Cheyenne Schmidtbauer
696 Activity Points

 How is that cutesy song/ mnemonic we learned (and then relearned with only 8 planets) limiting/stifling our students’ understanding about the number of planets in our solar system?

 

The song I learned in school was Interplanet Janet by Schoolhouse Rock. This song was not rechanged after pluto was no longer a planet, but I remember our teacher explaining to use afterwards that pluto was considered a dwarf planet now. I think this song does a decent job of actually teaching about the planet rather than using rote learning to have students memorize the planets’ names and order from the sun. Interplanet Janet actually talks about how the sun is a star, mercury has mercury, and venus has clouds. The song isn’t extremely informative though. I would maybe use it as a launch to my lesson to get students excited about learning about the planets. Maybe you could even ask students to come up with their own song about the solar system. 

I also just watched the Magic School Bus that was all about the solar system with my son and I think they did a good job talking about the effect of gravity on the planets and how some of the planets were just a mass of gas. I know that’s not a song or mnemonic device, but I think it’s a similar idea that actually doesn’t stifle students’ understanding. Overall, teachers shouldn’t rely on these things to teach their lesson. First and foremost, students should know the characteristics of planets rather than their order from the sun.  

Aryssa Jassoy
Aryssa Jassoy
684 Activity Points

1. Science textbooks are, by their very nature, outdated. Becasue of the time it takes to author, assemble, edit, and publish a textbook, the information in a traditional paper textbook is generally outdated by 5 years by the time we open the brand new textbook. This is why paper textbooks must be used with caution in the science classroom. For some topics for which our understanding has little potential to change (e.g., the rock cycle), a paper textbook might be a very safe way to introduce some content knowledge or engage in an investigation. For more dynamic topics though, like all things astronomy, textbooks cannot keep up with the rate at which our understanding is expanding and changing. Just this year the body of science around how many stars are in ourt own Milky Way Galaxy has changed.

This is why school districts having an overwhelming need to adopt an official textbook or other learning materials (which they incorerctly call "curriculum") is by its very nature harmful to students' education. A textbook or other learning materials cannot account for recent, topical science news. They cannot integrate local phenomenae. They cannot take into account students' assets, needs, and interests, nor can they integrate the relationship between the student and the teacher.

Some of this is slightly off of the original topic of why teaching old science is bad. It is actaully important for students to understand how the body of scientific undestanding is in constand flux, changing and developing. They should be taught to scrutinize and verify information, and to think critically with healthy skepticism. It might be a useful exercise to use an old textbook with outdated information to demonstrate this point.

Jake Schulke
Jake Schulke
1035 Activity Points

2.     How is that cutesy song/ mnemonic we learned (and then relearned with only 8 planets) limiting/stifling our students’ understanding about the number of planets in our solar system? (My Very Educated Mother Just Serve Us N…)

The mnemonic for planets is limiting the students because they are only learning 8 or 9 planets that are easy to remember and that only helps them think there are that many number of planets in our solar system. However, we have many more planets they should know of. As they keep doing research they will probably find even more planet that students should learn of. Listening to the video you provided us there are many new things I did not know of. Things that are different from when I was in Elementry School have changed and students should not be learning the same things I learned many years ago. The only reason I do remember us having 9 planets was because of “My very Educated Mother, crying Just Served Us Nine Pizzas” I never thought there was more planet than the ones I was taught to memorize. We have to keep up to date on what is going on in our systems. Based on the video I learned there are 3 zones and in these 3 zones, there are more than 100 planets and more that we probably do not know of.

Yianet Garcia
Yianet Garcia
889 Activity Points

Hi Yianet!

I found the webinar very enlightening, as well.  I agree with you that we have to keep up-to-date! Having a resource like the recent webinar is one way to get up-to-date information.

Another resource that discusses why there is so much controversy over Pluto and its demoted status is, "The Controversy Over Pluto: Planet or Astronomic Oddball?"

It makes us realize that definitions DO matter and that when scientists make new discoveries, definitions need to be revisited and revised based on new information gathered with the technologies of the day.

Prof. Mohr

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

Yianet, 

I couldn't agree with you more about how much we are limiting our students by only giving them something easy to memorize. They are more planets to learn about and also more to learn about each of these planets other than just their order in the solar system. We need to give the students the tools to expand their own knowledge by exploring more about each of these planets. We need to guide them into a growth mindset with our planets, rather than having a test on what they memorized. 

Elaine Donovan
Elaine Donovan
924 Activity Points

Yianet,

I really like what you said about the song. I also thing that songs like those are limiting the students because they are not able to memorize all of the planets. What good is it to memorize a song about the planets if you are not going to memorize them all? What makes the nine that we memorize so special? These are just two questions that may come up if we still teach the students this song. Beyond not knowing all the planets, I think that memorizing the song will limit them to learning the actual content about planets. Having teacher teach the way planets are organized, the three zones, will ultimately help them understand where the planets go in the solar system rather than just memorizing some order. I agree with you that students now should not be learning the same things we earned when we were in school. The webinar taught us that things are always changing and that we need to change the curriculum to keel up on the changing times. 

Nice thoughts Yianet!

 

Kendra Logar
Kendra Logar
883 Activity Points

Hi Yianet, 

Just like you mentioned in your post, the "song is limiting our students". One of the things that striked me from the video was the speakers difference in approach to the teaching of the solar system. Even if the let's say there were 9 planets, which we know they are not, was this an effective way to teach about them. Did the song help us understand the planets? In my opinion, it did not. As the speaker suggested, teaching them about the three zones, and what characteristized each one,  will give our students a better understanding. I think so much of my early years in school was based on memorization, and not understanding. It is more important to understand and be able to apply that just  know the words. We will remember more and be able to appy it to our real world.

Veronica Cinquegrani
Veronica Cinquegrani
2013 Activity Points

a.     Darwin’s orchid and the  hawkmoth’s proboscis: https://www.calacademy.org/explore-science/darwin%E2%80%99s-hawkmoth

This article talks about how Darwin's contribution to science was when he was one day was sitting in his office inspecting an unusual Star-of-Bethlehem orchard that was sent to him by a colleague. The plant had a foot-long nectar spur with the nector pooled to the very bottom and so he thought what insect could suck the nector.  The species that could do that was the African hawkmoth that demonstrated Darwin's theory of coevolution which was the development of two species that is driven or modified by other people.  They now keep Darwin's Hawkmoth alongside a star orchard to be able to discuss the coevolution of plants and its pollinators. 

Yianet Garcia
Yianet Garcia
889 Activity Points

How is that cutesy song/ mnemonic we learned (and then relearned with only 8 planets) limiting/stifling our students’ understanding about the number of planets in our solar system? 
            Having a little tune to teach students the order of the planets does not rally help them learn any content about the planets. A memorization technique is best suited for simpler things or to memorize concepts of order. For example, the webinar talks about how teachers would not use a tune to teach the students all the elements of the periodic table, but they could, however, teach the students a way to memorize and understand how the periodic table is organized. Teachers could show the students that the periodic table is organized by number of protons which will then make it easier for students to understand where the different elements go. For the solar system, having the students know how it is organized, the 3 zones, will help them understand where the planets belong in the solar system. It teaches them more content about the planets about their characteristics which also helps the students understand why the solar system is categorized the way it is. Memorization of a song does not help the students with their pedagogical learning, so teaching the reason behind the organization and the characteristics of each zone is the best way to help your students.
 
What do you know now to be different from when you were a kid?
             When I was in school, we were taught that there were nine planets, Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. We were taught a little jingle to go along with it that must have been drilled into our heads because I still remember it all these years later. I did not really know why they went in that order. I knew it couldn’t be organized by size, I knew it wasn’t by color, so I really did not know why they were in that order. I now know that the planets are organized in that order based on the temperature characteristic they have from the distance from the sun they are. I now know this because the webinar explained to be that when the planets are close to the sun like in zone 1, they are hot and their matter is more concentrated, in zone 2 the water is always frozen because they are giant and are further away from the sun, and zone 3 being the Kuiper Belt. Along with this, I now know that Pluto is a planet. I know this because the scientists consider a planet to be mass that is round and has not undergone nuclear fusion. So, with this being said pluto IS still considered a planet in the Kuiper Belt even though it is a dwarf planet. 

Kendra Logar
Kendra Logar
883 Activity Points

Kendra,

I completly agree with you that mnemonic devices and cute songs are not the way to go about teaching the planets to students. It lacks actual scientific content. These skills are perfect for memorizing small things or things in order, but after watching the webinar we found out that there is just too much information to try and use a cute song to memorize it all. The more imporatnt thing to do is to teach classes about planets and what they are made of or how they are formed or that there are more than one kind of planet. Simply learning the order of the planets is really a waste of time. I agree that teaching the students the zones is a much better direction for curriculum. That is a perfect way for them to conceptualize the different places each of the planets sit. I also appreciate what you had to say about what is different than when we were children in school. You said this perfectly, " I did not really know why they went in that order. I knew it couldn’t be organized by size, I knew it wasn’t by color, so I really did not know why they were in that order." That is a perfect example that we need to fix our textbooks and teach accurate and relevent data to our science students.  

Margaret Wiegman
Margaret Wiegman
736 Activity Points

1.     Why is it NOT okay to continue to teach what is in science textbooks if we know the information is outdated/no longer factual? Justify with evidence.

From the webinar we just watched, it emphasized how we should not teach our students to memorize the solar system, which may be outdated information in textbooks, but to understand how it was formed. I can picture how many textbooks have a picture of just the planets, along with their names, when in reality their is so much more. Some textbooks that are outdated, may have not updated their graphics, teaching approaches and newest discoveries, especially in topics such as Science, Social Studies and technolody. It is important to review the textbooks to make sure we are not teaching misconceptions, or passing our own, to our students.

 

Veronica Cinquegrani
Veronica Cinquegrani
2013 Activity Points

Thank you for your response, Veronica.

It is important to note that we are not making the textbook companies out to be the bad guys here.  It takes time to write and publish hard copies of textbooks - even in this day and age. That makes it even more important for teachers to stay up-to-date in their science understanding and knowledge of the concepts/content they plan to teach.  Organizations like the NSTA and its Learning Center, NASA, Phys.org, to name just a few, are resources that have information contributed by experts in their respective scientific fields of study.  We are the first filters for our students.  We need to be vigilent in making sure we check information out for accuracy before teaching it.  Our personal professional development is vital and must be ongoing.  After all, most of us go into teaching because we are lifelong learners at heart!

I especially appreciate your comment, Veronica, "...to make sure we are not teaching misconceptions, or passing our own, to our students."   We are considered the experts in our classrooms.  What we say is rarely questioned by our students.  We owe it to them to understand ourselves what we want them to know and understand.

 

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

Hi Veronica, 

When I think of outerspace and teaching it, I autonmatically think of the stereotypical picture that includes the sun and the eight or nine planets. Even in the stores there are kits you can buy to represent the solar system and it would be the same thing. It is scary to me to think of all the misconceptions we could be passing onto our students and kids because we trust the textbooks to have accurtate, up-to-date information. Like you said, it is so important for us to find these misconceptions and teach our students the accurate information and also where to find it. 

Thank you for your post! 

Anne Willingham
Anne Willingham
838 Activity Points

Elaine,

 

I agree with you in both the things you said. I do not want to teach my students just how to memorize they will learn more if they can get more out of it. It's funny how you thought the sun made the seasons change. I use to think the North Star was the brightest and if I followed it, it would take me home. Knowing we all have misconceptions does make me think about how I can make sure my students do not have the same misconceptions and teach them up to date scientific information.

Yianet Garcia
Yianet Garcia
889 Activity Points

3.     There are other pieces of scientific knowledge that you learned in school that have turned out to be incorrect or misleading.  Depending on your age, there may be a LOT of them – especially involving planetary science and astronomy in general!  If you can think of one, share it here.  Use the sentence starters:  I used to think…. Now I know….This is because…

I use to think that the reason why it is hotter or colder is due to the proximity of the Sun to the Earth, and not the Sun angle or due to the tilt of the Earth axis. 

I also use to think that the hotter the water, the more kinetic energy it used, but once water reaches it's boiling point, it uses a difference energy since it started to change its state to from liquid to gas. 

Veronica Cinquegrani
Veronica Cinquegrani
2013 Activity Points

Hi Veronica, 

I also had that misconception about the proximity of the Sun to the Earth. I didn't have the same misconception about the hot water, but you just taught me something new! I honestly never thought about hot water and energy so I didn't know, but now I do. Thank you. Great Post!! 

Cheyenne Schmidtbauer
Cheyenne Schmidtbauer
696 Activity Points

1.     Why is it NOT okay to continue to teach what is in science textbooks if we know the information is outdated/no longer factual? Justify with evidence. 

From the webinar, I have learned a LOT of new things. My idea of the solar system and our planets was much different before watching the webinar. Just like myself, students create ideas and construct knowledge about the solar system based on what they are learning about it at school, many times from old textbooks. Now that advanced in technology have been made and new information has been collected, it is important that students learn about these up to date concepts. By learning what is in old or outdated textbooks, students will grow up learning about thinking about science in a way that is different from the reality of it. In the future, this can cause many misconceptions and can even make it difficult for students to change their way of thinking in the future. A few weeks ago in class, we learned about the scientific method. This brought back information and memories of when I learned about it in school many years ago. From this lesson now that I am older and years have passed, I realized that the scientific method is not the only way that science should be taught. Students should learn about the specific features and ideas which science. In the same way, I learned that learning about the plants should focus on specific zones in which planets can be found on and not so much on just the names and order. Students should also learn about the new information we have learned about through time and new technological advances. Learning science through a textbook that is no longer factual puts students at a disadvantage of learning the real facts and creating their understanding based on the newest information.

2.     How is that cutesy song/ mnemonic we learned (and then relearned with only 8 planets) limiting/stifling our students’ understanding about the number of planets in our solar system? (My Very Educated Mother Just Serve Us N…)

I personally learned a mnemonic in elementary school to memorize the planets and their order. I work in daycare and during circle time we also sing a song from youtube that only focuses on 8 of the planets. Now that I've learned more about planets and how many there actually is, I'm thinking about how I'm limiting my students from learning about planets in general. By only teaching students about 8 out of more than 100, they are constructing knowledge that can then lead to confusion and misconceptions. Personally, I am going to try to explain to students that although our song only focuses on 8 planets, there are many many more. The younger the students, the harder I think it is for them to understand more detailed information about our solar system. If students grow up thinking there is ONLY 8 planets in our solar system, we are limiting them on the truth and up to date information about planets. 

Mariana Celis
Mariana Celis
936 Activity Points

Mariana, I really like how you relate the song your learned growing up to your adult life. I know most of us can relate to those cutesy songs growing up about only 8 planets. But to know that schools or day cares are teaching them as well, is not all that surprising. I didn't know there were more than 100 planets until watching this webinar. Therefore, I am sure there are still many teachers out there that don't know there are more than 100 planets. I agree with you that it is harder for younger students to understand the bigger concepts. Therefore, I love your idea of explaining to them that fact that there are over 100 planets. It doesn't have to be too complicated or a grand show about the 100 planets, that may confuse your students. I love your idea! Great post! 

Rachel Becker
Rachel Becker
891 Activity Points

1. Why is it NOT okay to continue to teach what is in science textbooks if we know the information is outdated/no longer factual? Justify with evidence. 

While watching the webinar there was something that caught my attention. One of the speakers talked about how students learned about the solar system. He mentioned that most of us had been taught to memorize the planets but nothing much besides that. This is very true. I remember learning about the names of the planets but not learning much about them. We as educators know that memorizing things is not the best way to learn since often students forget what they memorize after they take a quiz or test. Teaching students things that are outdated or no longer factual can lead to misconceptions.

 


2.How is that cutesy song/ mnemonic we learned (and then relearned with only 8 planets) limiting/stifling our students’ understanding about the number of planets in our solar system? (My Very Educated Mother Just Serve Us N…)

While watching the webinar I felt that I learned a lot more about the planets than I ever did in my elementary years. Learning about the 3 zones was something I don’t remember learning about. From song like these you only learn the name of the planets and maybe the order but have zero clue as to how they are formed or what even considered a planet. From watching the webinar I quickly learned that I was wrong about a lot of things about our solar system. I wish it had not taken me up to my junior year in college to learn this information and I hope to take the time with my future students to teach them more valuable information about our solar system so they don’t have the misconception I’ve had. 

 

Emma Lopez
Emma Lopez
767 Activity Points

Hi Emma, 

I only remember learning the names of the planets and no other information about them during my elementary years. I remember I did a project on the solar system in high school and I made a model of the solar system but I think I was only asked to research basic information about each planet. To this day, I don't know much about our solar system and I think I should! I think students gain more misconceptions each time we teach from an outdated textbook. I also felt like that webinar taught me more than I have ever learned. I never knew there were 3 different zones. I can also say I learned information that I was wrong about as well! Great Post!! 

Cheyenne Schmidtbauer
Cheyenne Schmidtbauer
696 Activity Points

Hi Emma,

I completely agree, once I watched the webinar I thought to myself "WOAH" there was a LOT I did not know about the planets. I was also taught a mnemonic that did not change after Pluto was "taken out". The mnemonic only taught me the names and order but now after this webinar I know so much more. I had many misconceptions... Through a song we use at daycare to teach about the planets, I learned a little bit more about the "planets" (just 8 of them) like that Venus is the brightest, the Neptune is made of gas, and that Uranus has lots of moons. Although these songs do not teach the whole concept about planets and the PROCESS of science, for really young children I think it at least gets them thinking about the solar system and our planets. 

Personally, I think I do remember learning about the 3 zones but I might be wrong. That part of the webinar did bring back some memories and the 3 zones seemed a little bit familiar. I also agree with what you said about memorization. I have personally used this method before in other classes to remember definitions but it was clear to me that after the test, all that information would be forgotten. It's important that as educators we do our best to educate ourselves and teach our students true information to not pass on or create more misconceptions.

Great post!

Mariana Celis
Mariana Celis
936 Activity Points

1.    Why is it NOT okay to continue to teach what is in science textbooks if we know the information is outdated/no longer factual? Justify with evidence. 

 

During this webinar, I learned so much information and facts about planets that I did not know before. I learned that the definition of a “planet” that I think of is not that actually that factual to planetary scientists. When I learned about our solar system in grade school, I learned about the 8 planets and not much else. In the webinar, I learned that the planets and our solar system is incredibly diverse. There is much more that makes up our solar system than the 8 planets that most teachers teach. This is why it is not okay for teachers to continue to teach the outdated information in the science textbooks. Just like a presenter in the webinar stated, K-12 textbooks and curricula needs to be updated to reflect the diversity of planets in our solar system. My biggest takeaway from the webinar is that Science is always changing and very diverse. Also, not all scientists will agree on things such as the definition of a “planet” and that is ok!

 

2.     How is that cutesy song/ mnemonic we learned (and then relearned with only 8 planets) limiting/stifling our students’ understanding about the number of planets in our solar system? (My Very Educated Mother Just Serve Us N…)

 

Growing up, I have heard many different songs that I have been taught about our solar system. I always thought of our solar system being a rather simple topic of discussion. I knew the names of each planet in our solar system. I knew the size and order. After watching this webinar, I now know that our solar system is so much more diverse than I could have ever imagined! I think teachers teach those cutesy songs because they’re a simple way for kids to memorize. But memorization is not the way our students should be learning anymore! I learned that there are more than 100 planets in this webinar. I did not know that before. I really like what one of the presenters said about teaching all the planets. The presenter said it’s ok to not teach every single one of the 100 planets, but it’s important to tell the students that there are that many. The concepts about our planets is key and most important. We don’t have to tell our students every single name of every planet and they do not have the memorize them. We do not have to make up a new cutesy song with over 100 planet names in them. Our students should be learning the real, important concepts about our solar system

Rachel Becker
Rachel Becker
891 Activity Points

Rachel, 

It’s definitely shocking how little we know about our solar system and how much we are taught. Even being in schools now I don’t feel that students are learning enough, I’m not even sure that I have seen much of the solar system being taught. As you mentioned, science is always changing so we definitely can’t be teaching students the same thing. Great post ! 

Emma Lopez
Emma Lopez
767 Activity Points

1. Why is it NOT okay to continue to teach what is in science textbooks if we know the information is outdated/no longer factual? Justify with evidence. 

After watching the webinar I have learned so much new information that I did not know about our solar system and the planets. It is not okay to continue to teach what is in the science textbooks because the information is outdated and no longer factual. In the webinar that we watched it had many new facts that are not being taught to the younger children. One of the presenters in the webinar stated that  K-12 textbooks and curricula needs to be updated to reflect the diversity of planets in our solar system.There are so many misconceptions about science because we are not teaching the children everything they need to know about the solar system. When giving students information from outdated textbooks you are not teaching them the accurate changing information that has continued to be found about space and the planets, and everything that is in it. 

2. How is that cutesy song/ mnemonic we learned (and then relearned with only 8 planets) limiting/stifling our students’ understanding about the number of planets in our solar system? (My Very Educated Mother Just Served Us N…)

When I was in elementary school I think it was third or fourth grade the musical that we had that year was based on the solar system, or what I remember the planets. The only song I can remember singing is the planet song that I still say in my head today when putting the planets in order from the sun to the outer ends of the solar system. This is still happening in schools, and children are being educated in the wrong ways about the solar system. When singing this song, and learning about the planets I thought that these are the only planets in the solar system, but now I know that there are hundreds of billions of other planets out there that we just have not discovered yet. In our solar system alone there are over a hundred planets, but the only ones we are taught in elementary school are the eight or nine planets that are in a line from Mercury to Pluto and are orbiting around our sun. Children should be learning about the entire solar system and the zones of the solar systems not just the nine planets.

Alexis Seiwerth
Alexis Seiwerth
828 Activity Points

2.     How is that cutesy song/ mnemonic we learned (and then relearned with only 8 planets) limiting/stifling our students’ understanding about the number of planets in our solar system? (My Very Educated Mother Just Serve Us N…)

If I were asked this question before watching the webinar my response would have been entirely different than it is about to be now. The cutesy song/ mnemonic way we learned the planets when we were younger seemed like a harmless and smart way to learn them. Thinking back on it now, I learned nothing but the names of the planets and the order that they are in from the sun onwards. When I was answering the questions that went along with the video I was honestly stumped trying to answer "What is a Planet?" The fact that I can resite the names of the planets in correct order but not tell you what a planet actually is, is a perfect example as to how it limits and stifles  our students' understanding. It is also innaccurate. I answered the question that there are now only 8 planets in our solar system, but in reality there are upwards of hundreds of planets in our solar system. The most important thing for us to teach our science classes is the fact that there are different characteristics and qualifications for the planets in our solar system and there are different types. Rather than memorizing whatever, or however many, planets we decide our important to know, we should emphasize on how to distinguish a planet, from a moon, or a dwarf planet.  

4.     So many interesting stories can be told about how our scientists before us came up with theories that they couldn’t explain at the time.  New technologies, new discoveries, and amazing math skills provide evidence to support the claims of our scientists sometimes many, many years later.  Pick one below (or choose another one) and give a short synopsis of the story of that scientist’s contribution to science.  Some examples:

c.     How Isaac Newton finally explains gravity: https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2016/08/29/how-isaac-newton-figured-out-gravity-with-a-little-help-from-his-friends/#88ca92347341

Issac Newton is a common name for figuring out gravity. It was interesting to read that he actually had some help in this dicovery. Newton was interested in studing how planets going around the Sun are seen to obey Kepler's three laws of planetary motion. Those three laws of motion are that the orbit of a planet is an ellipse, with the Sun at one of the two foci., a line segment joining a planet and the Sun sweeps out equal areas during equal intervals of time, and  that the square of the orbital period of a planet is proportional to the cube of the semi-major axis of its orbit. Issac Newton was using Keplers laws to justify and establish his law of universal gravitation as true scientific knowledge. He used the calculus he had created (infinitesimal calculus) and used a formula to in orbital geometry, allowing him to describe mathematically the motion of bodies acted upon by various force laws. This allowed him to demonstrate in a mathematically rigorous way that all three of Kepler’s laws follow from an inverse-square law for gravity. Newton went on to show that the same law for gravity could explain the orbits of comets, the tides, and the Earth’s axial precession. 

Margaret Wiegman
Margaret Wiegman
736 Activity Points

Maggie,

I think that your post was so good, and hit on many key points that I too noticed and agree with. When you said “I learned nothing but the names of the planets and the order that they are in from the sun onwards. When I was answering the questions that went along with the video I was honestly stumped trying to answer "What is a Planet?" The fact that I can resite the names of the planets in correct order but not tell you what a planet actually is, is a perfect example as to how it limits and stifles  our students' understanding.” I learned the exact same way and it just shows that elementary schools everywhere are using these same limiting understandings of space and our solar system. This needs to change, and something needs to be done about this because at the age of 23 I should not just be figuring out that there are different “zones” of outer space and there are hundred of planets that we know of and billions that are still out there. It is crazy that the students are not learning this sooner, and just continuing to use the outdated material from the original discovers. Future educators need to bring more up to date material to the classroom. Thank you for sharing this was a great post!

Alexis Seiwerth
Alexis Seiwerth
828 Activity Points

Hello Everyone! 

The planetary scientists and experts in the field of astronomy would be happy to hear that viewing just one 56 minutes webinar really helped those of us who watched it to understand how scientific information can change as new knowledge is uncovered/discovered. That is THE NATURE OF SCIENCE:-)

I end my beginning post with this: It is important that we include the NOS in our curricula!  It is important that we share our scientific genius’ mistakes, discoveries, errors in thinking, progression of scientific thought in the absence of evidence to back it up, great discoveries, etc. Students need to know that it is okay to think beyond the box!

Here is an excellent resource providing ideas and techniques to enhance your science teaching as it relates to helping our youngest students learn about the nature of science:https://common.nsta.org/resource/?id=10.2505/4/sc18_055_05_78  This is an article from Science & Children (Jan 2018).

 

 

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
86483 Activity Points

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