Sunday, January 31, 2016

Scientific Me

Growing up I always did enjoy exploring new things, and inadvertently I was doing all of this through science.  I loved to run around with my older sister and younger brother and catch fireflies on summer nights.  I loved to see them light up and dance around our backyard in the twilight hours of the night.  Catching them in our hands and having them crawl all around us.  Little did I know I was studying them, and making my own observations while having fun at the same time.  I also enjoyed doing little experiments with my mother, brother and sister.  My mother would always set up little things for us to do at home, growing beans in a plastic bag, making “tornadoes” from two soda bottles and all of the other fun stuff!  By the time I started getting into science experiments in school I was hooked.  I can distinctly remember an assignment in my 3rd grade class where we had to make science experiments.  I made a baking soda volcano with my mother.  We had so much fun testing it out at home, and when it came time to present it to the teacher, the volcano blew up all over her!  I was so embarrassed and she took it the extra mile when she wrote it on the board the next day in her little “reflection on yesterday” area.  I do not think she enjoyed it too much, and wanted to make sure it was the same for me.  I can look back now and laugh at it, it was a funny memory and at never hindered my love for science.  The years flew by as the experiments got harder, but still I enjoyed them with the same childlike enthusiasm as the boy in the backyard chasing fireflies.  I think these memories stand out to me, because they were all great memories and while I could never fixate a date to when these happened I can still remember them happening.  Of course the 3rd grade science project was a different story, but that was because it was the most embarrassing thing that had happened to me in my life up to that point.
Looking back on my memories of science, “hands on” experiences seem to hold the most weight in my memory.  When I was actually manipulating and carrying out the experiments on my own I had a great time.  I can look back on these memories and see a positive strong foundation into my love of science.  I can remember applying the experiments into learning experiences (ex. when you add baking soda to vinegar it creates a chemical reaction that appears to “explode”).  However, if I try to look back at science experiences where I was just writing facts and figures etc. I have a much harder time trying to remember what happens.  I think that the applying of facts into the experiment helps solidify what is actually happening.  In high school physics, the labs had my full attention for two reasons. 1) They were all really fun and 2) I enjoyed them so much that it was fun to see if the math had checked out and our predictions would come true.  It was fun for me to see how the world works and apply it into the facts and figures, but only if it was bridged over with hands on learning experiences.  I owe all of the successes in scientific knowledge to my teachers (mother included) for being able to tie together lessons with labs that helped solidify what I was learning.  I would say that science was one of my stronger suits in school, and I always love applying things I have learned to the outside world, still to this day.
To me, science is the study of everything.  Science can be applied to every single aspect of the universe, from something as small as an electron to the vast size of the universe itself and everything in between. I had an upbringing that was very supportive of inquisitive learning that helped my curiosity flourish.  I am very grateful for the experiences given to me as a child and how much they have helped me as I got older.  Much like the science teachers that I had when growing up; I hope to tap into students curiosity and watch as they develop a deep love for science like I had all those years ago, and how it still stands true with me to this day.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

First Day of Class!

Today is the First day of class, Dr. Smirnova had us engage in various activities beginning with drawing our interpretation of a scientist.  We had a couple of minutes to create our interpretations and then also give them a name.  Next we walked around the room to see what our peers had created.  Surprisingly many of them shared characteristics.  Once we observed our classmates drawings we sat down and discussed what stereotypes were prominent in all of our drawings and why we thought it was like that (ex. mainly male, crazy hair).  It was very interesting to see that subconsciously we all had very similar interpretations of what a scientist looked like in our heads.  For our next activity we were presented a sealed bag, and were asked to guess what what was inside of it.  After we made guesses the bag was passed around the room and we were able to hold it for 5 seconds in an attempt to figure out what was inside.  We heard squeezing and rattling coming from the bag as students manipulated it.  We were then asked to make new guesses as to what was inside the bag, the consensus was either a baby toy, dog toy, or potentially instruments we also guessed there can be more than one item in the bag.  Dr. Smirnova then asked us what else we could do to come to a better conclusion as to what is in the bag (without opening it).  We gave answers such as, weighing it, burning it, holding it for a longer duration of time, putting it in water and many more.   Dr. Smirnova then told us that we were using the scientific method to help us come to conclusions.  After this activity we began setting up our live binder and blogger profiles.  We will be using these accounts through out the semester to post and discuss events in the class, assignments etc.  Finally we created our groups for our fieldwork assignment and began discussing what we will be teaching for our group lesson.  This was the conclusion of the first day of class and we now have only 14 weeks until summer!