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Is Science about Memorising? Or Understanding?

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Some parents get frustrated when it comes to guiding their child in PSLE Science. The Straits Times published a letter from Ms Elizabeth Tan, expressing her dismay that doing well in science seems to be about memorising “model” answers.

However, in a reply by Lai Tuck Chong, he feels that learning about science is also about “science reporting”. He drew the comparison of using the words “spread” against a more scientfic description of “diffuse”. He also mentioned that parents may be uneasy because “they themselves lack the factual knowledge as well as the inquiry and reporting skills necessary to help their children succeed”.

Rachel is a stay at home mom to 2 boys. Last year, Rachel also encountered frustrations when trying to help her son in science. The post attracted much conversation on what is appropriate when it comes to using of key words, and what was extreme.

Here are two examples from her post. Please click here to view Rachel’s post and see opinions from other readers.

Sunlight

 

“I went around asking 5 working adults and they all gave me the above answer.
The answer the teacher is looking for is, because the sun is behind her and she is blocking the path of the light.”

 

Another one. See if you can get this right without looking at the answers first.

Volume Space

“If your answer is, the ball has volume, then wrong.

The answer that the teacher is looking for is, because the ball occupies space.”

What do you think? Are these examples necessary, or extreme?

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