Give your kids the advantage with the award winning easy-to-teach Real Science-4-Kids  
This is the fifth in a series of posts examining how Real Science-4-Kids (RS4K) and Kogs-4-Kids (K4K) texts align with the 2005 National Science Education Standards from the National Research Council. We’ll look at the standards for science content for grades 5 through 8 in each of the subsections of the nine sections of the Standards. 

 

National Science Education Standards; Science as Inquiry, subsection 5: THINK CRITICALLY AND LOGICALLY TO MAKE THE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN EVIDENCE AND EXPLANATIONS. 


Thinking critically about evidence includes deciding what evidence should be used and accounting for anomalous data. Specifically, students should be able to review data from a simple experiment, summarize the data, and form a logical argument about the cause-and-effect relationships in the experiment. Students should begin to state some explanations in terms of the relationship between two or more variables.

Real Science-4-Kids meets this standard in the following ways:

The “Conclusions” section of every experiment in the RS4K Laboratory Workbooks asks students to make logical judgments about what the data from their experiment could mean. Questions to help them form valid conclusions often are supplied in the lab workbook and in the Teacher’s Manual. 

Most experiments allow students to demonstrate a formula or “law” with each component of the equation being a variable in the experiment. For example, the experiment for chapter 3 in the Physics Laboratory Workbook allows students to examine the relationship of mass and speed to kinetic energy by varying the weight of a toy car (mass) and the height of a tilted board (speed) to observe how each component affects the car’s ability to “smash” a banana slice (do work).

In addition, a blog on Gravitas’ Website provides a variation for most every experiment in the Level I Laboratory Workbooks. The physics experiment variation for chapter 3 mentioned above uses spitwads and the distance they travel to demonstrate the same formula in a different way. All variations provide new variables to illustrate the science principles and are provided free as support materials for teaching.

Finally, there is a book specifically on Critical Thinking that is part of the Kogs-4-Kids series for Chemistry Level I. This book takes students through the steps of the critical-thinking process and shows them a variety of logical fallacies which could derail their attempts to reach valid conclusions about what the experiment data show and the relationship of the variables in the experiment.


Have you seen the presentation called “Did You Know?” that Sony prepared for a business conference? It created so much buzz that people were sharing it with everyone on their email list. It quickly reveals amazing statistics about our world and the exponential growth of technology. (Sony “Did You Know?”)

Among those facts is the revelation that the amount of new technical information is doubling every 2 years. And, consider this:

For students starting a four-year technical degree, this means half of what they learn during the first year of study will be outdated by their third year of study.

 

Today, students simply cannot know enough; it is impossible. That is, our knowledge base grows and changes so quickly that the “old-school” method of memorizing and regurgitating facts is no longer valid as the primary foundation of education. 

Students now need to learn how to process or “think about” and incorporate whatever new information comes their way. And they need to know how to separate what is proven or relevant from what may be invalid or unrelated. This process of gathering information and then judging it logically is called “critical thinking,” which is one of the favorite terms – and a primary goal – around Gravitas Publications!

Even if your student has a clear vision of a non-science career ahead, learning the scientific method and how to use “open inquiry” develops logical thinking processes helpful in every subject. It will serve every student well to know systematic ways of acquiring and evaluating new information and then making valid connections with previous knowledge.


This is the fourth in a series of posts examining how Real Science-4-Kids (RS4K) and Kogs-4-Kids (K4K) texts align with the 2005 National Science Education Standards from the National Research Council. We’ll look at the standards for science content for grades 5 through 8 in each of the subsections of the nine sections of the Standards. 

 

National Science Education Standards; Science as Inquiry, subsection 4: DEVELOP DESCRIPTIONS, EXPLANATIONS, PREDICTIONS, AND MODELS USING EVIDENCE. 


Students should base their explanation on what they observed, and as they develop cognitive skills, they should be able to differentiate explanation from description—providing causes for effects and establishing relationships based on evidence and logical argument. This standard requires a subject matter knowledge base so the students can effectively conduct investigations, because developing explanations establishes connections between the content of science and the contexts within which students develop new knowledge.

Real Science-4-Kids meets this standard in the following ways:


RS4K Student Texts begin with a Pre-Level I for kindergarten through third grade, because Gravitas believes strongly in providing a solid science knowledge base as early as possible. The curriculum is arranged so that all levels can be taught simultaneously. That is, the topics are the same in each book (Lesson 1 in Pre-Chemistry covers the same topic as Lesson 1 in Chemistry I and Chemistry II, but more depth is added for each level. This builds a very solid foundation of science content and encourages the logical assimilation of new information.

Experiments (investigations) throughout the RS4K Laboratory Workbooks routinely have sections for students to record their results and/or write a description of what happened as they performed the experiment, even if the results differed from what was expected. In a separate section, they are asked to draw conclusions based on the evidence they have collected and described. Thus the difference between description and explanation is repeatedly emphasized. Often, questions are supplied in the lab workbook and in the Teacher’s Manual to help students remain objective in their observations and logical in their conclusions.


A great deal of research on how we learn discusses the importance of being able to “transfer” what we learn in one context (in a classroom through performing a science experiment, for example) to another context (being able to accurately execute a recipe for dinner). Another example is being able to use knowledge gained in chemistry and apply it to physics.  

A study of interventions used in third and fifth grade classes in which students did not seem to demonstrate transference of learning emphasizes the importance of “learning transference.” The study is described in full in a paper available at the U.S. Department of Education’s Education Resource Information Center Website (http://eric.ed.gov:80/), specifically at this URL:  

Learning Transference Study  

One of two effective strategies explored used integrated curriculum: “Integrated units which connected core disciplines, incorporated technology into the classroom, and demonstrated the relevance of curriculum content in real-life settings.”  

If you leave out “technology,” you are left with the principles Gravitas promotes with its student texts and with the introduction of the Kogs-4-Kids™ series. The Kogs workbooks, used with Real Science-4-Kids chemistry, provide bountiful information about how chemistry connects with our everyday lives and with other disciplines (arts, history, language, technology, philosophy and critical thinking).  

Once a student learns to make connections from one subject to another and integrates how to learn these things, the capacity for making positive learning transfers is expanded for all areas of life and learning.