Thursday, August 30, 2012

Value Systems and Science: Khan Academy and Your Essay

Evolution, natural selection...Do these ideas fit your values?  Have you researched them or blindly repeated what you've heard said?  Data are truth.  Many religions seek truth.  Have you thought about truth?  Science and religion share that they are about truth-seeking.  Some students get excited about science when they study it from the point of their own value systems.

First have students jot down ideas for an essay on evolution from any perspective that they would like.  They can make a map of their ideas, or, use an outline, chart, picture, or list.  Let them use any way they would like to form a presentation of their ideas.

Next, have them put an opinion or feeling they would like to share.  They can circle this or put a box around it...Use some way to keep their sentiment or point in focus.

Set these items aside.

Now, here is a video to watch:

Have the students watch the video.  They may take notes.  They don't have to take notes.  They may use any format for the note-taking they desire if they do take notes.

Have them jot down the major points of the film and then box their feeling or opinion about the film they would like to share.

Have students then take some time even a week or two to write a comparison and contrast essay between their initial ideas and the ideas presented in the video.  Have them add information from 5 other sources of their choosing, religious books, newspaper articles, texts or story books, or, even and hopefully at least one journal article...  Be sure to have them cite the sources.  (They can use a style manual for that.  The librarian can help you find one or you can find some on line.  I suggest using a science one or one for publishing articles in a magazine.)

The purpose of this essay will be for the students to examine science from their own value systems as they are.  The work should not be steered by any adult or voice.  Let the student think deeply.  Let them know that this is where they are now in their thinking and their is no "wrong-ness" in thinking their own thoughts.  Explain that throughout life we use our value systems whether cultural, religious or other, to influence how we think and what we think about topics.  If they were writing this essay in 5 years, their views might be different because of their life experiences, their learning, and their deepening of personal views.  Let them know that periodically re-examining where they stand on issues is a good thing.  Stagnation is not a good thing, on the other hand.
Let the students have fun exploring their values and how they relate to science and how they relate to growth in life.
(c) 2012 J S Shipman

No comments: