Monday, 4 February 2013

Supporting Our Scientist

This month's carnival is hosted by Lapaz Home Learning and I'm chatting about: Science in High School....

All of our children have been interested in science to varying degrees but for the purpose of this carnival I wish to share in particular the journey of our son, Einstein.  He is our first to plan on making a career in the science field.  During the last few weeks not only have we been focused on Carpenter and our last minute dash to enrol him in College, simultaneously we have been researching and discerning what steps are needed to support Einstein in his journey as a scientist.  

Einstein desires to attend one of the leading science universities in Australia, one of the Group of Eight, hence we began a journey to discover just exactly what was needed to gain entrance.  Whilst Einstein at nearly 16, won't be attending university for a couple more years, we need to be certain that we are correctly steering towards that goal.  The last couple of weeks have seen several phone calls to university admissions and faculties, a steep learning curve indeed.

The university of Einstein's choice only recognises the STAT test (converted to an ATAR) for the faculties of Arts and Science, though an ATAR of 85 would be the base minimum.  However as nanotechnology is one of his possible fields, a very high result (92) would be needed to gain entrance and then again some of his interests lean towards the engineering faculty, he has discussed studying a double degree, Science and Software Engineering.

With possible unknowns in mind we began looking at gaining entrance via Open University courses, an option we haven't researched previously.  A few questions I posed to the university; how many courses did he need to undertake to gain admission and how well does he need to do.  He needs a full year load, meaning 8 courses but he can take longer than a year to complete.(Most universities are happy with 2-4c courses)  His university of choice requires high marks results in each course, credits and distinctions+, not all universities require results this high.  We also I wished to ascertain if his open university courses would count as credits of work already undertaken, they do only if the course code is one recognised by his university of choice, the uni has a credit transfer page that has helped us verify which one to choose as we toggle between the open uni website and the uni website.

Another option we investigated was to begin a Science degree now via correspondence with a different university and then transfer over in a couple of years.  The university was happy to have him, his age wasn't a handicap as they already have a 14yr old on their books, he only needed to sit the STAT test and apply directly to the university.   At the conclusion of all our research Einstein decided to study Mathematics, Physics and Chemistry via Open University.

Obviously we have a son who is passionate about the scientic world, how have we fostered an enquiring mind over the years?  In the early years much of our focus is on natural science, nature, the world around us, earth science.  Plenty of living books, DK publications, magic school bus videos, hands on materials such as K'nex and electronic kits and lots of observation. Einstein is always one of our keenest observers, remember the bat, he deliberately closed the bat in his room to observe its flying patterns!  He would watch motionless for hours as a bird weaved its nest and was then able to relate intricate details.

In the highschool years we widen our science studies to include Chemistry, Physics and some more Biology and Earth Sciences.  We continue using living books, adding living style textbooks, reference books, Kahn Academy and watching yet more science documentaries and programs, Mythbusters and Inventors being favourites.  PC has a keen interest in science so scientific discussions with him often occur and engender great interest as with a wide knowledge he is able to discuss their findings and challenge their thoughts.

Einstein is though, our first child to, like his father, to read science encyclopaedias for fun.  This year he has gathered all textbooks from around the house (I always have resources waiting for those interested:) and has set himself the task to read them all.  He has been excitedly relaying his findings to all, his conversations are peppered with discussions of atoms and molecules, it is wonderful to watch him find his passion.

5 comments:

Leanne said...

Thanks For posting this Erin, excelent resources. Leanne

Jeanne said...

Fantastic post. I often have wondered how I would go about teaching high school science, even though that was my field of study. I do hope you won't mind me pestering you with questions when the time comes.

Carol said...

I agree about the learning curve! Sounds like a very busy time for you. Enjoyed reading about Carpenter also. 2 of ours did some Open Uni courses - for uni entry initially but they also got credit for a couple of the subjects which was an added bonus.

Sue Elvis said...

Great post, Erin! I'd forgotten about Kahn Academy. We often look at the maths, art history and computer science. We'll have to investigate the science videos too!

Erin said...

Leanne
Thank you:)

Jeanne
ask away, but I didn't realise that was your field:)

Carol
Really was trying to get credit transfers but it looks like his uni of choice will only recognise one:(

Sue
and we haven't looked at Kahn's art history