Learning for the sake of knowledge not the grades

Seeing science as a set of practices shows that theory development, reasoning, and testing are components of a larger ensemble of activities that includes networks of participants and institutions [ 1011 ], specialized ways of talking and writing [ 12 ], the development of models to represent systems or phenomena [ ], the making of predictive inferences, construction of appropriate instrumentation, and testing of hypotheses by experiment or observation [ 16 ].

In doing science or engineering, the practices are used iteratively and in combination; they should not be seen as a linear sequence of steps to be taken in the order presented.

What does it really take to get into the Ivy League? Part I: Grades

It is only through engagement in the practices that students can recognize how such knowledge comes about and why some parts of scientific theory are more firmly established than others. The overall objective is that students develop both the facility and the inclination to call on these practices, separately or in combination, as needed to support their learning and to demonstrate their understanding of science and engineering.

Understanding How Scientists Work The idea of science as a set of practices has emerged from the work of historians, philosophers, psychologists, and sociologists over the past 60 years.

Using mathematics and computational thinking 6. However, as all ideas in science are evaluated against alternative explanations and compared with evidence, acceptance of an explanation is ultimately an assessment of what data are reliable and relevant and a decision about which explanation is the most satisfactory.

Design development also involves constructing models, for example, computer simulations of new structures or processes that may be used to test a design under a range of simulated conditions or, Page 46 Share Cite Suggested Citation: Like scientific investigations, engineering design is both iterative and systematic.

Students may then recognize that science and engineering can contribute to meeting many of the major challenges that confront society today, such as generating sufficient energy, preventing and treating disease, maintaining supplies of fresh water and food, and addressing climate change.

In contrast, theories in science must meet a very different set of criteria, such as parsimony a preference for simpler solutions and explanatory coherence essentially how well any new theory provides explanations of phenomena that fit with observations and allow predictions or inferences about the past to be made.

We recognize that students cannot reach the level of competence of professional scientists and engineers, any more than a novice violinist is expected to attain the abilities of a virtuoso.

In reality, scientists and engineers move, fluidly and iteratively, back and forth among these three spheres of activity, and they conduct activities that might involve two or even all three of the modes at once.

For their part, engineers engage in testing that will contribute data for informing proposed designs.

Obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information In the eight subsections that follow, we address in turn each of these eight practices in some depth. How the Practices Are Integrated into Both Inquiry and Design One helpful way of understanding the practices of scientists and engineers is to frame them as work that is done in three spheres of activity, as shown in Figure The National Academies Press.

You have to remember that the goal of these schools is to turn out as many successful read as: So, you want to go to an Ivy League college for undergrad?

Here is an iterative process that repeats at every step of the work. The function of Figure is therefore solely to offer a scheme that helps identify the function, significance, range, and diversity of practices embedded in the work of scientists and engineers.

Such ambiguity results in widely divergent pedagogic objectives [ 18 ]—an outcome that is counterproductive to the goal of common standards.

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Multiple competing explanations are regarded as unsatisfactory and, if possible, the contradictions they contain must be resolved through more data, which enable either the selection of the best available explanation or the development of a new and more comprehensive theory for the phenomena in question.

Moreover, the aim of science is to find a single coherent and comprehensive theory for a range of related phenomena. It is systematic in that a number of characteristic steps must be undertaken.

So it is possible to get a few Bs here and there and still get accepted to the Ivy League; however, some Bs are better than others.

Grades This is the foliage of destiny. In particular, we stress that critique is an essential element both for building new knowledge in general and for the learning of science in particular [ 1920 ]. Planning and carrying out investigations 4. Engaging in the practices of engineering likewise helps students understand the work of engineers, as well as the links between engineering and science.

Engaging in the practices of science helps students understand how scientific knowledge develops; such direct involvement gives them an appreciation of the wide range of approaches that are used to investigate, model, and explain the world. How Engineering and Science Differ Engineering and science are similar in that both involve creative processes, and neither uses just one method.

If you go to a high school where only the valedictorian gets in, then you need to be the valedictorian. At the left of the figure are activities related to empirical investigation. Page 48 Share Cite Suggested Citation: First, it minimizes the tendency to reduce scientific practice to a single set of procedures, such as identifying and controlling variables, classifying entities, and identifying sources of error.

In this sphere of activity, scientists determine what needs to be measured; observe phenomena; plan experiments, programs of observation, and methods of data collection; build instruments; engage in disciplined fieldwork; and identify sources of uncertainty. Both scientists and engineers use their models—including sketches, diagrams, mathematical relationships, simulations, and physical models—to make predictions about the likely behavior of a system, and they then collect data to evaluate the predictions and possibly revise the models as a result.

For science, developing such an explanation constitutes success in and of itself, regardless of whether it has an immediate practical application; the goal of science is to develop a set of coherent and mutually consistent theoretical descriptions of the world that can provide explanations over a wide range of phenomena, For engineering, however, success is measured by the extent to which a human need or want has been addressed.

However, there is widespread agreement on the broad outlines of the engineering design process [ 2425 ].Jordan, Whether your freshman grades will hurt you depends on your school’s policies. Some schools will simply switch your summer school grades with your regular year transcript, some will not.

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Learning for the sake of knowledge not the grades
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