Sunday, December 13, 2009

Standards Sundays: Grade 5 investigation and experimentation

Both are focused, just on different things.

The fifth grade standards for investigation and experimentation are very similar to the other grades' standards for investigation and experimentation. They just added a little more complexity with each grade level. Almost as if it was a "copy-and-paste" job. Almost.

But what I'm questioning now is less the completeness of the standards. I'm pretty sure no one can say that the California standards are not utterly complete and thorough (maybe a little too thorough).

I'm wondering what happens when the student's goals of investigation in science do not align with the standards? Or the textbooks? What if they have other questions? What if their focus isn't necessarily the focus of the "focus questions" that MacMillian/McGraw Hill (and Open Court) love so much?

Because frankly, I sometimes can care less about what a textbook is telling me to focus on during my teaching. I would rather focus on what my student's specific needs are in content area, social skills, and critical thinking skills.

Is that wrong? Instinctually, I know it's not. Most people would say it isn't. But then, I also have to justify it with what the state and the school governing boards think are important for students to learn. And that gap is sometimes wider and more vast than any ocean on earth.

Perhaps education should move towards what graduate students do. I like how I'm able to study anything I please, as long as I'm doing it in an academic fashion. What is wrong about analyzing, critiquing, and creating rap music? That can be academic in so many ways too.

Not to mention this would solve the incredible pressure on teachers to differentiate, differentiate, differentiate.

But it is also time consuming. There is a reason why grad courses are usually capped at 15 students per 1 professor. And the ratio is even smaller on some campuses.

What would I not give to be able to teach 15 students at any one given time. That would be sweet.

I've drifted off from studying the science standards, but really, investigation and experimentation - the title already says it all.

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