Today I formally introduced science to our curriculum. I started with donning my white lab coat that I acquired from my friend Rachel several years ago. This was an immediate signal to my students that we would be doing something related to science. I introduced this signal a couple of weeks ago, so everyone knew what we would be doing.
We started off with a question: what is science? Several suggestions were made, and I wrote down a handful on the board as we discussed them. The key to our discussion was that science is, at its root, a method of inquiry. I pointed out that science is found in most of what we do in our lives and that any time we undertake an organised approach to answering a question, we are doing science.
I asked the class to give me a question. The first question was, “Do you have a dog?” I asked them to give me a list of ways we could answer the question. Some of the solutions were: go to the person’s house; observe the house; ask a specific person if they have a dog; and look for signs of dog ownership. I pointed out that all of these methods would lead us to a definitive answer that we could monitor and answer. That, I told my class, was what science is all about.
Another question asked of me was if I was wearing the lab coat because I wanted to look like a super geeky nerdy person. I responded that I am already a super geeky nerdy person, and I am proud of it! I also pointed out that all of us have our own geeky side, like my student who is a Pokemon geek, or my students who are book geeks. So why do I wear the lab coat when we do science? Simply because I have one and it is fun.