Essay on Cell Biology, Genetics, Water Cycle, Earth/Space

1064 Words 5 Pages
Journal Article Review
Andrea Kennedy
9/24/15
SCE 4360
Practical Work in Science: Misunderstood and Badly Used. By: Johnathan Osbourne

This article tackles the issue of practical work or experimental processes within the science teaching field. Specifically, Osborne questions the usefulness and degree to which it is used.
Most science classes are taught in a lab and are only deemed valid if a hands on activity, lab, or experiment is used in teaching the lesson. In my opinion maybe this is because we need a measurable way to assess students' understanding and without a gradable lab report, this would be difficult. This leads to the main point in Osborne's article, that to understand and appreciate science we must also understand that
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In this way, students fully understand the basis for science, and make connections between the idea and the experiment to test that idea, while learning how to develop that experiment. In this way, practical work is much more valuable than simply teaching students steps to carry out during an experiment. I find this article extremely valuable as it brings into question, are we making the most of students' time and resources. Countless times, for science labs, especially chemistry, I have gone through the steps in a lab manual and carried out the experiment without fully understanding what exactly it was I was testing until the very end, if at all. I had to follow steps, follow the proper technique, and achieve a measurable outcome or variable, which my grade was dependent upon. My observations were not really my own but graded against observations that should be

made based on what had already been done and verified before. It's frustrating and takes away from the magic and awe of science. At the end of it all, new ideas were not seen as valued nor would I have been able to design my own experiment. It begs the question, what skill are we teaching? Are we teaching students to question the world and develop ways to test those questions or are we simply teaching to follow directions to achieve a predetermined outcome? I fully believe based on my own education we are teaching the latter and should not be.
Unfortunately, teachers are subject to

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