### Teaching and Terms

When we teach people science from an early age, we lie to them and simplify things, is this really the best way to do it?  The main argument against this is that kids don’t have the mathematical backing to be able to know that

$F=\frac {dp}{dt}$

Even if we didn’t teach the people the maths and just taught them that F=ma is a simplification of the rate of change of momentum, I know that 12 year olds can get to grip with that being true.

But my problem is we spent years learning times tables and by the end of high school (16) some of us were just being taught trig (very simple stuff), is this really the best way to teach kids?  I know I found most of my maths learning very very dull indeed, as did many of my contemporaries.

This leads me onto my second point, the use of language in science, this is a far more personal issue (in terms that no overriding strategy can ever deal with this).

There are many many terms whos use is ambiguouse, mass is a good example of this, when most phycists use the term mass, they mean invariant mass (or rest mass but as the post above I don’t like rest mass, I like invariant), but not always, this leads to confusion that I might be able to work threw, but that’s because I’m familiar with relativity, but when teaching people, surely it’s best to be as detailed as possible when teaching these things.  To always use the term invariant mass, when you mean that and relativistic mass when you mean that, I also feel consistency is key to this, say you do two courses on relativity over a couple of years the first course uses just mass (implying invariant mass), the second is a bit off and uses relativistic mass and invariant mass, you’ve never heard this term before and it might take you a while to realise just quite what has happened…

Monday, December 22nd, 2008

### Sex, Sleep and Scrubs…

Well this is about as personal as my blog is likely to get…

If only because I don’t like personal blogs…

A short story about my life…

Or at least the bit of my life between about midnight and 2am…

Wednesday, April 16th, 2008