Science Quotes in the Classroom and an Introduction

“We should not teach children the sciences but give them a taste for them.”

That quotation is attributed to the philosopher Jean Jacques Rosseau. But why stop at giving students a taste—can we get them drooling over science? Well, at least figuratively. More on this later.

Let me first introduce myself: I am one of the two seconded teachers employed in January 2012 as senior project officers at the QM. A little bit of background: Zoology Botany degree at UTas with an Honours research project in skink social organization; freshwater ecology research at JCU; secondary and middle school teaching (Science, Mathematics and SOSE) in independent and state schools, urban and remote; and employment at AQIS and DERM.Photograph of Marcel Bruyn

I’m looking forward to supporting science teaching and learning to infinity (well, let’s settle for Queensland) and beyond. I have a particular interest in the use of serious games in the classroom—as constructivist tools that engage students and encourage a plethora of thinking skills and processes. I am also keen to explore opportunities for using mobile technology (think smart phones and augmented reality) in the classroom and the museum.

Back to Jean Jacques. Have you considered using quotes in your classroom to stimulate discussion and meta-cognitive thinking about science and science learning? Quotes about scientists and science lend themselves extremely well to targeting the Australian Curriculum strand ‘Science as a Human Endeavour’, the two sub-strands of which are stated below:

Nature and development of science: This sub-strand develops an appreciation of the unique nature of science and scientific knowledge, including how current knowledge has developed over time through the actions of many people.

Use and influence of science: This sub-strand explores how science knowledge and applications affect peoples’ lives, including their work, and how science is influenced by society and can be used to inform decisions and actions.

Quotes can be used in a variety of ways in the classroom, e.g. ephemeral quotes to stimulate reflection or discussion, persistent quotes displayed on the wall that inspire, or an activity as students settle down to begin the lesson. Here are some links to resources that provide advice on how to use quotes in the classroom: Tuesdays with Karen blog; Teachers Notebook; EducationWorld.

Conduct a web search for Science quote sites, but here are a couple to get you started: BrainyQuotes, FinestQuotes and Ask MetaFilter. And here are a few selected quotes to finish this introductory blog with:

 Anybody who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.

–Albert Einstein

The two most common elements in the Universe are hydrogen and stupidity.

–Harlan Ellison

The mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be ignited. — Plutarch

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About Marcel Bruyn

I am a Senior Project Officer in the Strategic Learning section of the Queensland Museum, seconded fron DET. I joined the team in January 2012. My teaching experience is predominantly Science and Mathematics in secondary schools in ACT, Brisbane and remote NT. I have a science background with a degree in Zoology & Botany. I have a particular interest in the use of serious games in the classroom—as constructivist tools that engage students and encourage a plethora of thinking skills and processes. I am also keen to explore opportunities for using mobile technology (think smart phones and augmented reality) in the classroom and museum. B.Sc. (Hons); Grad.Dip.Ed.; Grad.Cert.Ed.
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