As a science educator and secondary science textbook author, it is my job to present scientific information in an interesting and easy to understand manner. The concepts that I convey are dictated by the syllabus as determined by the school. However, with the development of the Australian Curriculum, all state schools throughout Australia should now be covering the same key concepts.
Without going into a full critique of the Australian Curriculum for Science, at first glance it does read as somewhat vague and open to interpretation. That being said, the core concepts and key ideas are very clearly listed. The manner and context in which they are taught is up to the school and, perhaps to a lesser extent, up to individual classroom teachers.
With over ten years of experience working with various curricula (CSF II, VELS and now AC) I can honestly say that most of the key ideas expected to be taught in high school science classes have remained the same. While the order in which the content is taught may have altered slightly and the emphasis on developing science skills alongside scientific knowledge increased, the key concepts themselves have not changed very much at all, even from when I was a high school science student myself.
So I am completely bemused by how often I read articles, posts or social media comments from seemingly educated adults who appear to have little to no understanding of basic scientific concepts, despite their vehement opinions on the topic. Overwhelming evidence and sometimes hundreds of years of supporting data is overlooked or outright ignored in favour of the ridiculous conspiracy theory or advertising slant.
In response, I can either rant from atop my righteous soapbox, waggling my finger reprovingly or I can do something about it and attempt to spread the word of logic and reason; and of the importance of valid and reliable scientific evidence.
This blog series aims to bring basic and fundamental scientific concepts to light. It will be suitable for seekers of scientific understanding of all ages, although the content covered will relate specifically to key ideas as listed in the Australian Curriculum for Science.
As in my classroom, I always encourage questions. That is what makes a good scientist after all! Please email me, and I will do my best to explain, or at least point you in the right direction to find answers.