Jared Diamond creationism piece in TES

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Jared Diamond creationism piece in TES

Postby cathy » Fri Oct 03, 2014 8:09 pm

Bit behind with TES magazine but this was interesting thing in last weeks.

http://www.tes.co.uk/article.aspx?storyCode=6443950

Someone called Jared Diamond. Interesting idea that I agree with, know the creationist arguments and the relevant rebuttals. Even tho requires very specific bits knowledge.

Couple of terrifying stats in there. 10% of children are creationists! 1in 3 (in non faith schools) believe in some form of divine intervention in creation of universe etc.
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Re: Jared Diamond creationism piece in TES

Postby a_haworthroberts » Fri Oct 03, 2014 9:36 pm

More about Diamond - a professor and author as mentioned in the TES article:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guns,_Germs,_and_Steel
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Re: Jared Diamond creationism piece in TES

Postby Brian Jordan » Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:32 pm

An interesting artlce, thanks Ashley. It needs more thought than is available on a Saturday night but pending that I was amazed by this:
Jared Diamond, professor of geography and physiology at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)
Is Diamond a polymath (bimath?) or is UCLA short of chairs for its professors - or just short of professors?
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Re: Jared Diamond creationism piece in TES

Postby Brian Jordan » Sat Oct 04, 2014 8:45 pm

More thought needed about the originally linked article too - thanks Cathy, However again one thing struck me:
A good chemistry teacher will stage explosions and bright lights, but also teach [students] the periodic table.
To which I would add lots of practical work and even sink-chemistry. Where would we all be without Bunsen burners and rubber tubes on the taps**? Which is to say, Cathy, are the powers that be still cutting down on science practical work?
** or fill in alternative fond memories from physicists or biologists!
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Re: Jared Diamond creationism piece in TES

Postby cathy » Sun Oct 05, 2014 7:37 pm

Moot point Brian. There are still practical elements to both GCSE and A level. BUT there are moves to remove the examined practical from 2015 because of well founded!!! Fears of cheating.
http://news.tes.co.uk/b/news/2013/10/25 ... fears.aspx

The problem with practical exam is you can't just open them on the day cos you have to buy and prep chemicals and equipment. So there is a lot of opportunity to 'help' in a cheaty way.

Currently our examined AS and A level pracs involve a couple of interesting titrations to id something. Making some kind of salt. Couple of interesting identification pracs and a big four stage making and testing aspirin. The first few change each year, aspirin doesn't. So we have to do lots to prepare em for whatever might appear. The exams also run at different times thru out the two years rather than at the end.

Two options EMPA (externally marked practical assessment) or ISA (internally marked skills assessment). Chem and physics do the latter biology the former at our place. More room for dodgy practice with the ISA which is reflected in the grade boundaries which are higher. Need full marks to get an A on an ISA prac, about 80% for an EMPA. That is solely a result of too many places ensuring students have got very good marks on the ISA when they mark, very sticky situation.

Only ISA available at GCSE and only one per science. Can't say much about em other than they seem to be the fevered imaginings of a lunatic on acid sticking pins into a science dictionary. Far too many seem to have involved dripping glycerol thru holes for no apparent reasons of viscosity. Holes in film pots, hole in plastic pipettes, holes in blah blah. The other obsession is with hydrochloric acid and sodium thiosulfate which we breath a sigh of relief when we see as we understand it'll have something yo do with rates of reaction somewhere in some understandable form.

Physics seems to do lots of things I vaguely remember involving circuits or metal balls on string and springs with weights hanging off them (yes I did forget all physics the minute I walked out of my A level - trauma I think psychologists call it).

A level The practical parts are marked for things like a burrette reading within so many percent of the teachers reading or good percentage yield of a salt or saying yellow precipitate rather than precitate followed by what that suggests they've found.mAnd there is an accompanying written paper to gauge understanding, eg titration calculation. But they are marked by schools and different groups do do them on different days hence some info gets out. Even the EMPA has to be done over a period of time and there are now things like the student chat room where the schools that do them later has the advantage of students who've done it earlier going straight onto there to give away the questions.

The concerns about malpractice are real but there are fears that once those practical exams go schools will reduce practical work cos it is expensive. I'd like to think my school won't be part of that cos you learn a lot from practical work. It consolidates. But if we don't have to prepare them to be able to differentiate between say a yellow or cream precipitate the exam focused rationale for doing that prac disappears? I think doing is better than demos unless it's dangerous. Demos better than just telling. But so far we're relatively lucky to have subject specialists. If I had to do biology I wouldn't attempt any practicals if didn't have to.

I'm not sure rumblings have made any sense. They sound like the gibberings of a fevered lunatic whose spent too long looking at the Gove/Morgan chimera in horror. Not sure I've answered your question Brian, certainly not concisely. So here are some articles that might.

http://www.wellcome.ac.uk/stellent/grou ... 055595.pdf
http://www.theguardian.com/education/20 ... ork-alevel
http://www.theguardian.com/education/20 ... ks-warning
http://www.icheme.org/media_centre/news ... DGP8UaCOK0
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Re: Jared Diamond creationism piece in TES

Postby Brian Jordan » Mon Oct 06, 2014 6:53 pm

Thanks Cathy: Times They certainly Are A Changing! When I were a lad cheating was always a possibility but on the far horizon. Any efforts to stop it would have been policing the potential cheats, not changing the curriculum.
IIRC, the results of the practical exams were pretty objective too: which sulphide (usually!) did you produce in the inorganic qualitative, how much permanganate did you convert in the quant. Again, IIRC, textbooks were allowed - certainly for the qual and instructions provided for the quant - so cheating would have had to have been copying or otherwise gross to be effective.
To be fair, though, our foolish school did skip science O level exams which may well have been a different story.
OTOH I'll never forget my first real chemistry practical. Our splendid old chemistry teacher had us weigh a crucible, heat it, cool it and weigh it again. When we complained that there had been no change and so no point, he gently explained that that WAS the point.
(I'll have to postpone following your links.)
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