Book of Science Notes
PREFACE TO TEACHERS
1. Teaching Science
Science teaching requires much time - time with the class, and time for preparation.
All teachers are aware of the limited time with a class - for explanation,
guided experimentation, revision, testing, and routine administrative matters.
Time for preparation is a variable matter, depending to what extent the teacher
wishes to live a normal life involving non-school activities. This Book of
Science Notes is an attempt to save a teacher's time, where such time can
be saved - class time to record information to be known, and teacher's time
in preparing the normal condensations of such information. It will also save
class time for the student - the time for recording the information.
2. My Experience.
I first commenced teaching in 1941, and Science teaching in 1950,
and I retired from that happy task in 1985. In that period, there were many
changes in School Science studies - changes in syllabus and curriculum, changes
in teaching sequences, changes in methods of approach, and changes in Science
teaching philosophy in general. However, what remained constant, and will
continue to be constant, is the fact that a student is required to acquire
a certain amount of Science knowledge, limited only by the extent of his/her
capabilities. This Book of Notes relates directly to that constant factor.
3. Text Books
Suitable text books have always been extremely useful. However,
they can be costly. Moreover, for most junior students, they contain too much
information, and are expressed in too many words. Much time must be spent
in summarising the text book - by the student (with a very variable degree
of success), or by the Science teacher, or by both. This Book of Notes is
itself, a summary - a summary of all information I have taught to junior students
over those 36 years, with, I consider, a reasonable degree of success.
4. Teacher Substitute
To a certain extent, I have always felt that text books
seem to attempt (unsuccessfully, of course) to do away with the role of the
classroom/laboratory Science teacher. This Book of Notes cannot replace such
a teacher. It is aimed solely at saving time for the teacher - classroom time
and preparation time, i.e. the time involved in ensuring that the student
has a record of the information which his/her teacher requires to be known.
The saving of time for the student is a by-product.
5. The Compilation of this Book of Notes
The contents of this Book of Notes, have been compiled
over many years, but consolidated only since I retired. It is therefore based
on the 36 years of teaching Junior School Science. I hope that my experience
will, prove to be of value to all Science teachers, and consequently to all
junior Science students. It may also help the teacher to decide on depth of
treatment, of any particular topic, appropriate to the class - a matter which
occupied an appreciable part of my time, in my teaching career.
6. Sketches and Diagrams
This Book of Notes contains no sketches and few diagrams - to
keep the cost of the Book as low as possible. Appropriate sketches and diagrams
are essential in any junior school Science course, so they must be provided
by the teacher, or obtained from some reference source. I leave it to the
teacher to decide what sketches and diagrams are suitable for a particular
7. Excessive Notes
The matter of what Notes (and in what detail) should
be recorded in a student's Science Note Book, has always been, and will remain,
open to dispute amongst Science teachers. There will never be 100% agreement
on this amongst any considerable group of Science teachers - any independent
thought will lead to minor differences of opinion. This is perfectly normal.
Because of this, I have made this Book of Notes reasonably full, with the
point in mind, that it is easier to delete of ignore information, than it
is to compile and add information. At the same time, the Science teacher who
wants more, is not restricted in any way. Teachers will find that for some
topics, these Notes are more elaborate than for other topics. I have intentionally
made the Notes more elaborate on basic concepts, which I have found, in my
experience, to be difficult for most students. I add the obvious fact, that
the sequence of information in this Book of Notes, is most definitely NOT
A TEACHING SEQUENCE.
8. From this Book of Notes into the Student's Science Note Book
The pages of this Book of Notes are printed on one side only. This
enables the pages, or parts of pages, to be cut out and secured in the student's
Note Book, as the teacher directs, interspersed with sketches, diagrams, and
anything else which the teacher required to be in that Book. If the teacher
does not wish to include any particular Notes (and there will be some), then
so be it. There is no harm in any student being exposed to excess information.
9. The Use of this Book of Notes
It is unlikely that a school will purchase
this Book of Notes, to serve as a text book, reissued to many students over
many years. That is not its purpose. I suggest that the Book of Notes be purchased
by each individual student, the bulk purchase being organised by the teacher-in-charge,
for the students. Alternatively, the school could finance the necessary purchases
- enough for each single student. Either method will involve administrative
effort by the teacher, but will keep the cost to a minimum - one of my basic
wishes. It is to be realised that the cost to a student will be noticeable
at first, but insignificant when it extends over four years of study.
10. School Printing Facilities
I realise that, with the duplicating and printing
facilities in many schools, the detail of this Book of Notes is liable to
be merely copied, using those facilities. I am sure that the low cost of this
Book of Notes, spread over four years, will be less than the total cost in
machine use, paper and labour for four years, of the relevant duplicating
and printing within the school.
11. Use of Text Books
Perhaps this book of
Notes will render the issue of individual text books to every student unnecessary
- so reducing the cost to the school. However, this Book of Notes will never
replace a suitable text book - I consider that text books must be available
to students, although far fewer than one per student and that other reference-type
books are also needed. Might I suggest that every Science classroom/laboratory
should have a small supply of suitable text books and some suitable reference-type
books, as an essential part of the equipment and furnishings of the classroom/laboratory.
Old no-longer-used text books, lying idle in the text book store, could form
part of such reference material readily available to students.
I have given a lot of thought about whether this Book of Notes should have an
index. If it is used as I hope it will be used, an index would not be required.
I would appreciate feedback on this point, or on any other point which a practising
teacher may wish to raise. Sufficient such feedback following worthwhile sales,
will lead to a re-writing of appropriate parts of this Book of Notes.
It is not my wish to make much money from the production of this book.
At the same time, I do not wish to lose money on the enterprise. The initial
$28 price per book, is higher than I would have liked to charge, being raised
to some extent, by the uncertainty of sales. Once the initial costs (Pilot
Edition, postage, minor printings, typesetting and first major printing) have
been covered by sales, then the price will be governed by the major printing
alone, plus any changes in typesetting and cost of dispatch. This will make
the price distinctly lower.
14. An Aims-Centred Syllabus
It has been claimed
that a Science Note Book such as this, does not have relevance amongst present
philosophies of an Aims-oriented Syllabus. I point out to all teachers that
these various Aims have always been an integral part of a Science Syllabus,
although not as emphasised and specifically stated, as much as in recent years.
There still remains the basic fact that students are required to know Science
information. Knowledge of fact forms the foundation upon which the various
Aims are achieved. It is this foundation, which is the purpose of this Science
Book of Notes.
R.H. Smith E.D.,C.F.M.,B.Sc.
1 Beaconsfield Road
Moss Vale 2577