Elementary Education:
The Brain as Scientist and Science as Story Telling

Paul Grobstein
Notes for Conversation
Lansdowne Friends School
11 January 2006

Lansdowne Friends School

Bryn Mawr College

Starting points for a collaboration?

Science as Story Telling and Story Revision

Linear scienceSeriously loopy science
Science as body of facts established by specialized fact-generating people and process

Science as successive approximations to Truth

Science as authority about "natural world"

Science as process of getting it less wrong, potentially usable by and contributed to by everyone

Science as ongoing making of observations, summarizing, making new observations, making new summaries

Science as skepticism usable by and empowering anyone at any time about any thing for any purpose

Science as Practical Tool, Continually Being Adapted
"The Crack" as Feature Rather than Bug (multiple possible summaries)

The Brain as an Explorer/Story Teller/Story Reviser

For further exploration:

Post discussion notes

Importance of making "science" more prominent/visible in relation to parental expectations, students' own breadth of aspirations

Notion of helping students acquire skill at distinguishing observation from interpretation as central to science education (at all levels)

Possible Center engagements ...

  • Affiliation would itself help to make science more prominent/visible
  • Summer institute
  • Add perspective of scientists to review/revision of curriculum plan
  • Provide scientists to consult/work with individual teachers on their own curricula
  • Provide praxis course that would engage students/faculty at both institutions in rethinking elementary science education
  • Provide students to work with particular teachers, and to develop usable classroom modules
  • Provide some expertise in environmental sciences to assist in planning for outside renovation integration into curriculum
  • Visits to college for students
  • Assistance with developing computer use in curriculum (particularly forms that facilitate rather than lessen individual and community interactivity)