Field of Science

Educating at the High School-College Interface

In ~3 days I'll be off another foray into the great white north (which is actually extremely green ATM) to teach incoming freshman some biology. Its a way to whet their appetite in different aspects of research and study but mostly it helps the students establish some contacts and colleagues before the chaos of college actually starts.

For the past 3 years I've taught a little module on environmental sensing in microbes and the students do a little morphogenetic experiment that works great. The way I set up the lab, they get exposed to a little actual science because we discuss controls in the experiment (which they have to figure out), among other things. However, there is a good deal of down time for the students, where I lecture on something or other. Last year we discussed logic and arguments. This year Im thinking about talking about the nature of science what separates a scientist from an engineer for example.

This thought comes from how I think the general public views science/scientists. If you ask people what is science or what do scientists do, Im willing to bet the answers you get line up better with what is engineering or what do engineers do. Since Im repeating this 8 times this year, I should get a pretty good sample size on this issue (at least from the biologically minded recent high school graduate demographic anyway). Ill let you know how it looks, if Im completely wrong I should know that early on and Ill go back to getting into arguments with students and looking for logical fallacies (I find the who's a better quarterback Peyton Manning or Tom Brady is a great starting point).

BTW its Peyton Manning.


Lab Rat said...

Welcome to "Field of Science!" I don't know if you've seen this little cartoon: but it seems to cover the difference between science and engineering quite nicely :)

The Lorax said...

Thanks for the link Lab Rat, Ill might use that when we compare science and engineering (although Ill have to recreate on a chalkboard). Also, thanks for the welcome, its great to be around so many excellent science writers.

GamesWithWords said...

That's a cowbirds in love cartoon. Just credit where credit is due -- and it's one of my favorites.