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Letter to Obama on Physics

Discussion in 'Business, Careers & Education' started by WellGroomedMale, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. the shah

    the shah Senior member

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    i think you're on to the solution already, no ?
     
  2. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

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    Well, then you have to get the kids ready for calculus.
     
  3. the shah

    the shah Senior member

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    i don't see what's the problem with that ? finishing a first calculus course as a requirement for HS diploma isn't such a bad idea.
     
  4. Thomas

    Thomas Senior member

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    It's not a bad idea - I've done that as have many other students.

    But making it mandatory with these students and these teachers, in this culture, under the current legislative regulations, would be tough IMHO. Graduation rates would drop into the single digits in some areas, at least for a while.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
    1 person likes this.
  5. why

    why Senior member

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    Well, yes, that was implied.

    I liked Salman Khan's idea of just teaching Newtonian physics alongside calculus. I'm sure it was done that way in the past until schools started dumbing down the curriculum and pushing calculus and calc-based physics off until university so that only certain students would need to learn them.

    I also think home economics should be incorporated into the science curriculum. It's a good way to bring that back to schools that lost it and provides lots of opportunities for practical everyday applications in the lab work that can become actual useful skills.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2013
  6. QualityFirst

    QualityFirst Member

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    Agreed on the Home Ec. idea. But, that's not particularly germane to the discussion as it has evolved, or to the video.

    The other aside: Teaching physics alongside calculus is the right way to do it. There is a reason that Newton (and others, yes) invented calculus: PHYSICS. Or, more to the point, to understand the natural world. We have split up the whole idea upon which basically ALL math and science rests; applicability to the natural world. Nowadays, we could abstract that to the "real world" by including other extremely practical applications of math, such as economics, even down to personal finance.

    Now, back to the point of the video. The president doesn't have much to do with HS science courses, but the maker of the video was brilliant in addressing it to him; we're talking about it, but I bet if it was "An Open Letter to Secondary Education Majors Who Pretend to Understand Math and Science" it would not generate as much buzz, or as much meaningful discussion. So, what change is the maker of the video trying to affect? The answer is much, much, much, much simpler than reworking the foundations of the US education system (different discussion) or even how math is taught in schools. Math sidetracked the discussion, and should be a moot point; HS students simply can't have the math knowledge required for truly advanced physics. Nor should they. HS students should be exposed to the concepts. That is all. They need only a basic causal understanding of physical phenomena to know their world better. And for those who are uncommonly curious, exposure prompts further exploration.

    By way of analogy, I am willing to bet that everyone here understands the basic role DNA plays in the world, more specifically in you. That does not mean you understand the mechanism by which genetic information is encoded, much less how the code is translated into macro-level features. But you DO know about DNA, and it is (probably) important that you do. That's all the video was getting at, and I agree with it.
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. Piobaire

    Piobaire Senior member

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    I think people are taking this guy too seriously. He's a physics nerd and he wishes more people shared his passion for the field. I'm going to make a video that's an open letter to Obama requesting wine knowledge gets taught in high school, including tastings. I bet my letter is more popular with the kids.
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. JP Marcellino

    JP Marcellino Senior member

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    i bet my letter would be more popular with the high school kids if we taught them how to fart the star spangled banner
     

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