A new course idea

After yesterday’s disappointment with Outschool’s rejection of my idea for a Harry Potter themed ethics class, I started work on a new idea for a class. This time it’ll be science.

The idea is a six-week course, with one session a week about the six biggest ideas in science, one from each of chemistry, biology, geology, astronomy… and physics gets two because it’s impossible to choose. Respectively, the topics are: atomic theory, evolution, plate tectonics, the Big Bang, and the two physics ones are relativity and quantum mechanics. And I’ll do them from a historical perspective, showing the development of the ideas and why they were needed to resolve problems in each of their respective fields.

It’ll take some time to assemble the material. I’ll need to make class notes and slides for each lesson, and probably draw a lot of diagrams from scratch since I can’t use anything downloaded from the net that might be copyright. I’ll let you know when it’s ready.

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One thought on “A new course idea”

  1. You don’t want to do a big finish, where you point out that Einstein was involved in three, arguably four, of the six? His Nobel was for the paper on the photoelectric effect, establishing the quantum nature of electromagnetic radiation. Relativity is pretty obvious. His paper on Brownian motion also once-and-for-all established the reality of the atom.

    Most arguably (IMO), the expansion of the universe, predicted by General Relativity, is hard to separate from Big Bang theory.

    You can also point out that Darwin was a geologist as well as a biologist (by current taxonomy), and his work on atolls was not unrelated to the eventual description of plate tectonics.

    See, to me the big idea of science (at the philosophical level) is consilience (as defined by William Whewell), which you could then use the preceding lessons to teach.

    Why yes, I’m a former science teacher myself. Why do you ask?

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