|The winners of the RCA Science Day.|
This improvement was most noticeable in the ninth grade. I listened carefully as one student explained how her sample size wasn't quite big enough to calculate statistical significance, and I got into a great conversation with another student about his experimental design. These students were thinking very carefully about replicates, sources of error, bias, controls, and everything else that makes a good experiment. I'm accustomed to asking these sorts of questions to get students thinking, but these students were way ahead of me. It was remarkable.
So how did they learn this? Well, they have a good teacher, for one. (I should know - I'm married to her!) The ninth grade has also been using my Introduction to Science textbook which talks about all of these issues in great detail. I was really excited to see how much of an impact that study is having. The course is challenging them to understand how science works not just what science says.
Now if I can just find a good publisher...
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