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First thread in Science Manipulatives Forum

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Cathy Helgoe

This past year I was working on chapter 2 of my dissertation. One of the surprising things to me was how recent, relatively speaking, were the use of manipulatives in school. There is Comenius (1592-1680) credited with producing a picture book, and then Froebel and Montessori in later 19th and 20th centuries. My speculation is that children didn't need manipulatives --- they had a lot of experience working with their hands and making observations. What they needed instead was reading/symbolic language to allow them to move beyond the immediate experience and give them the communication tools to respond in an articulated way, to reflect on their work, and to review and comment on the work of others. So, they needed reading! Not very hands-on based.

[ report as inappropriate ] September 12, 2006, 12:00 am


Joy Lopez

Perhaps another reason that manipulatives were not is use is that some sciences were considered not really acceptable. If you look at astronomy for example, many discoveries went unresearched except in silence due to the influence of the Catholic Church. Think Copernicus and Galileo...excommunication was a real threat. Then you have the first findings of dinosaur bones, only no one knows what they are and to say that they are a creature that is no longer living implies that God created imperfection. How could something God created disappear? Even in the 19th century, the medical schools in this country were for those who could buy their way into them. These often produced those that were little better that "snake oil" doctors. hence folks preferred home remedies. It wasn't until the late 1800's, early 1900's that the medical institutions began their quest for true medical research and knowledge. Before one can teach science, science must be understood and accepted as a valuable subject. Just a few thoughts.

[ report as inappropriate ] September 19, 2006, 12:00 am


Cathy Helgoe

You raise several good points: the rise of professional science and the process of science and the separation of investigation and scientific method from religious teaching. Learning was still for the upper classes who had time and resources to write, study and publish. Good things to think about....

[ report as inappropriate ] September 22, 2006, 12:00 am


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