My students need 30 copies of a book that describes 10 fundamental and beautiful experiments in a more accessible and appealing manner than a traditional textbook.
I teach at an urban public high school that has the mission of developing students who are advocates for their own learning with a particular emphasis on inquiry. In all of their classes, students are involved in projects that encourage them to be independent learners and engage deeply in the process of learning, so they are not simply passive recipients of knowledge. Education like this demands that students have access to a broad range of learning experiences and resources, which are not always immediately accessible to a public high school.
Too many students understand science as a thing, a collection of facts that appear out of thin air, a group of people who invented theories, and so on. What is so challenging for students to understand is that the people we hear about, like Isaac Newton, were involved in developing the theories, but that the theory didn't just happen. However, science budgets are usually limited to textbooks and physical supplies, and at an urban public school additional books are not generally available to students, despite their contribution to the learning process. Students require other ways to learn about and understand science than the laundry list of facts contained in textbooks. Independent, critically thinking adults requires education in which students are able to participate in and share the process of critical thinking that enables us to develop knowledge.
The resource I am requesting is a set of books describing experiments in science that have shaped the way we think about the world. However, rather than the traditional textbook presentation in which a theory is presented along with the name of the person who "invented" it, the book presents the thought process and experiment that enabled the person or people who developed the experiment to change their understanding of the world. In addition, the book conveys the appeal and fascination of the scientific method. Students would have access to an entirely different way to read about science, to think about the scientific method. This would be part of an ongoing project in which students would think about parallels between their own changes in thinking and how the scientific method enables us to learn.
Your donation will ensure that a generation of high school students will be able to graduate from high school understanding that science is more than just a bunch of stuff you have to memorize: it is a process that we can all be part of and play a role in shaping. You will help students learn the fundamental lesson that knowledge is not a stagnant thing, and that nothing is set in stone simply because it appears in a textbook. You will help students discover a new way to think about learning and knowledge.
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