Gender and Sexuality in the High School Biology Classroom: Fostering Critical Thinking and Active Engagement
Gender and Sexuality in the High School Biology Classroom:
Fostering Critical Thinking and Active Engagement
Summary: This project was undertaken with the hope of changing the ways we think about teaching and engaging with science. This paper will discuss ways to help students recognize that science is interdisciplinary and can both affect and be affected by the social and/or political context it exists in.
By asking students to think about the way science is presented and conducted, and giving them the tools to think about science not as an isolated body of information, but as a dynamic and shifting discipline, we will not only be encouraging more engaged science scholarship, but will also help students begin to notice the ways science is used as evidence in different contexts and evaluate these uses.
The goals of this project are two-fold. I hope to suggest ways for biology teachers:
I just received an announcement about this very relevant conference that is being held at Drexel University College of Medicine on Thursday, October 27, 2011 from 9 am - 4 pm. Regisration is free. Please see the website for more information.
Our in class conversation on Monday with author Michael Chorost's skype was certainly dynamic. Although I enjoyed the topics discussed, I found that at one point I asked the wrong question and didn't get the more appropriate one across. If I could get the chance to speak with Chorost again, I'd ask him the following:
I thought others might enjoy images from a 2010 exhibit at Princeton called "Art of Science". They're really quite fascinating and beautiful.
From the "About" page:
"The Art of Science exhibition explores the interplay between science and art. These practices
both involve the pursuit of those moments of discovery when what you perceive suddenly
becomes more than the sum of its parts. Each piece in this exhibition is, in its own way, a
record of such a moment.
I found Tian's presentation on information and musical notation to be incredibly intriguing. I have to admit, beginning the class with John Cage's 4'33" was a little awkward. I thought this "performance" would involve "performing"--I didn't think he would simply stand in front of the class. However, I came to realize I was naively approaching and defining what it is to "perform" and what it means to "listen." After a few minutes of silence, Tian asked the class, "What did you hear?" What did I hear?? Was this a trick question? I heard the cars passing by, I heard the hum of the projector... To my surprise, it turns out Cage's Four Minutes Thirty-Three is one of his most famous musical compositions--the catch, it involves no music.
After class on Monday, I started thinking more about whether objectivity is possible in the physical world. The video we watched on Dr. Quantum and how particles react differently when being observed made me wonder if the behavior of the particles mirror the real world. Perhaps the way in which the world as we know it is actually classified by those who control information, despite what the actual fact of the matter is. When we discussed gender earlier in the course, we talked about how classifications are restricting. Perhaps these classifications, like many other classifications we use, actually mirror the views of those who create the classifications, and are subjective rather than objective.
Here's a rough transcript of the Panel of fictional characters we had in class on Wednesday.
First, we went through forum postings from the previous week:
merlin: Imagining yourself doing activities actually changes the brain. For instance playing the piano. People who imagined themselves playing, but didn't actually know how, their brains appeared the same as those who were actually being instructed.
watson/vgaffney: Close reading is still a very important skills in the humanities. Particularly english and philosophy. The complexity of the writing requires it.