Become a Future Science Leader!

No matter whether you’re an aspiring Biologist, Physicist, Chemist, or inventor, the IB Diploma is a fantastic stepping stone to studying your subject at university. However, an ambitious student can be left directionless with so many choices and questions – which subject should I follow? How do I break in to the science industry? With that question in mind our academics set about creating the perfect course for aspirant scientists - “Future Science Leader”. What is it? Future Science Leaders is a new ...

Nature of Science

This month has seen the first examinations of the new syllabus and the Online Curriculum Centre (OCC) is awash with comments and discussions. Some of the comments I have read relates to disappointment that the Nature of Science had a marginal role within the papers. Though NoS was perhaps not as prominent in this exam as some may have thought, it does not mean it is peripheral to the course. Good science teaching requires a sound understanding of the Nature of Science. It should, ...

Is Economics a Science?

Robert J. Shiller is a Nobel Laureate in Economics and an Economics professor at Yale University, in an online article published in 2013 he addresses the vexed question as to whether Economics is a Science. Whilst acknowledging the limitations of his subject as a science readily enough he cannot bring himself to altogether abandon that label. Moreover, he almost seems more interested in highlighting the failures of other disciplines as sciences (chemistry, physics, politics, astronomy…) than to provide evidential support for ...

Liberal Arts & Sciences – is this the degree for you?

What is a Liberal Arts & Sciences degree? Liberal Arts and Sciences is not a new idea and in fact began in Ancient Greece aimed at facilitating high quality, academic studies to develop critical and analytical thinkers in a broad range of disciplines. Typically (but not exclusively) the Liberal Arts and Sciences Colleges today are small, selective, campus institutions where students work in small groups with lecturers who work with the students face-to-face offering a very personal and interactive style of ...

What will they understand 20 years from now?

This morning my Flipboard reading brought me this news commentary: Do You Really Understand Why Water Boils? New Survey Says, Probably Not.  by Nadia Drake.  Ms. Drake writes about the newest Pew Research Center Science Knowledge Survey, asking some very pertinent questions that anyone teaching in an IB school should recognise. She writes: The key with such surveys, says the University of Michigan’s Jon Miller, who’s been studying science literacy for nearly four decades, is to ask questions about core concepts. Things like what molecules are, what ...

breakthrough in science: gravitational waves

In my last post, I was captivated by the immediate impact on Andrei Linde himself of the recent breakthrough in astronomy, as recorded while Chao-Lin Kuo announced the big news that his theory concerning the Big Bang and inflation of the universe had been significantly borne out with evidence.  I was most interested in the humanity of science, and the people behind a major breakthrough. But what does this breakthrough illustrate for TOK about the nature of science?  What does it ...

Understanding science requires a science

Natural Science Natural Science is a fascinating area of knowledge. You only have to start scratching the surface of  science before you come across a litany of examples of its awesome nature, especially in regards to its impact on our lives. We also very quickly realise that there are many myths to do with science. I suspect that your TOK classroom has involved a discussion about the ‘basic scientific method’ (BSM). This is a very good starting point for understanding the ...

The Game of Knowledge

In my TOK classroom, there are a number of occasions when I use the metaphor of a game to convey an idea on the nature of knowledge, especially in maths and science. Usually, I reference chess as the ideal game, played by a set of rules. In a lesson on Maths as an AoK I tell a story where in a distant past TOK class I challenged a student who was a brilliant chess player to a game. In front ...

more on the quake trial

Have you been following the story of the scientists convicted for not giving adequate warning of the dangers of the earthquake that killed 308 people and destroyed much of Aquila, Italy in 2009?   For background, see my earlier postings "Earthquake shock: prediction and responsibility" (October 23) and "Scientists on trial for failing to predict"(October 8).  This case, in which the Italian court found the scientists guilty of manslaughter, has brought international condemnation from the scientific community for unrealistic expectations ...

A better you? Have a brain implant!

By Saturday, November 10, 2012 , , , 0

“Could become an intense class discussion,” writes my friend Lena as she sends me the link to this article:  “How Science Can Build a Better You”.  Yes, it certainly could!  “If a brain implant were safe and available and allowed you to operate your iPad or car using only thought, would you want one? What about an embedded device that gently bathed your brain in electrons and boosted memory and attention? Would you order one for your children?” Writer David Ewing Duncan ...