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Elementary Science Education


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    • #486


      So, does BFSU address plasma as a state of matter later on? My friend was asking, and as I’ve only just started using the first book, I’m not sure!

    • #488

      Bernard Nebel

      Thanks for your question, “Nemmer.”

      The guiding principle of elementary science education is helping kids make rational (scientific) sense of what they experience, i.e., see, hear, feel, etc. It is not to have them memorize words or definitions for things that they cannot relate to their real-life experience. Please note that having kids make observations, and then helping them interpret and put those observations into a rational cause-effect context is a theme pervading all lessons of BFSU. Your question concerning my omission of plasma from this initial lesson concerning the states of matter provides a good example.

      Kids can directly experience and relate to solids, liquids, and gases, but they have no way of directly experiencing plasmas. To be sure, you might point at a neon sign and say that the glow is produced by a plasma. However, what they experience is the light coming from the tubes, not plasma. Getting kids to memorize words for things that they cannot connect to their direct experience is found to confuse more than help. Therefore, I quite intentionally left plasmas out of this initial lesson.

      Any understanding of plasmas draws on understanding the structure of atoms, their ionization, etc., concepts of chemistry that are beyond the early grades. I do get into the concepts of chemistry in Volume III, but so far, I have not related them back to plasmas. Perhaps in the 2nd edition …

      You and others may disagree with what I have said here. I welcome further discussion.

      Bernie Nebel

    • #489


      Thank you very much! I don’t disagree with this approach at all, and am very comfortable with the idea that if kids have a solid foundation of things that they can observe and experience, they will be better able to understand abstract science later on.

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