Many teachers engaged in science education may recall that, when they themselves were students of high school chemistry, they were assigned the task of identifying an unknown solution. Such an assignment brilliantly thrusts the student into the heart of the scientific enterprise — namely, observation and experimentation. But why wait until so late in a student’s academic experience to introduce them to real science, especially when younger students are developmentally suited for such endeavors? Insofar as having students actually “do science” is a lofty, but altogether realistic goal of classical science education, why not get them started early in order to hone their skills of observation and experimentation? In this session, we’ll explore a three-stage “observation exercise” using unknown rock specimens that has proven to be a superb means of such honing among Logic-stage earth science students. Because the exercise is done in stages, the students move from having no knowledge to practical experimenting to identifying rock types of particular specimens. As they advance in stages from the unknown to the known, these students do real science.
Steve Mittwede is the Science Department Chair at Covenant Classical School in Fort Worth, Texas. In 1981, he was graduated from “Their Majesties’ Royal College” (The College of William and Mary) with a bachelor’s degree in geology, after which he concurrently worked as a mineral resources geologist for the South Carolina Geological Survey and completed his master’s degree and doctorate in geology at the University of South Carolina. In the mid-80s, Steve also took classes in Bible, theology and missions at Columbia International University (CIU).In the midst of all of that, he married Dana, and they were blessed with four sons in close succession — all now grown, married and raising their own broods. The Mittwedes served in Turkey for 23 years, during which Steve was awarded a master’s degree in intercultural studies from CIU and a master’s degree in modern evangelical theology from Union School of Theology in Wales. Never one to weary of the academic setting, he more recently completed an education specialist degree at CIU. Steve and Dana make their home on the westernmost edge of lovely Fort Worth.