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honestmonkey
2002-May-14, 07:20 PM
If you liked "Bad Astronomy" the book, here's another you might be interested in. It's similar in some ways to the BA book, but has a different reason for being:

"Heavenly Errors" by Neil F. Comins

The first few chapters are similar to some of the stuff in Dr. Plait's book, but Comins is interested in why people have misconceptions about astronomy and how it can be taught so that these are corrected. Comins is a college professor and talks about how he changed his teaching style over the years.

A good companion book, I think.

Roy Batty
2002-May-15, 04:34 PM
http://www.columbia.edu/cu/cup/catalog/data/023111/0231116446.HTM

Thanks for the info, sounds interesting.. sigh, another book to buy /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

GrapesOfWrath
2002-May-15, 05:00 PM
Here is an excerpt from Comin's book (http://www.aspsky.org/mercury/ezine/articles/zine0301.html). I found it while I was researching this thread (http://www.badastronomy.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?topic=878&forum=9&start=3). At the end of the excerpt, he has a list of fifty most commonly cited incorrect astronomical beliefs, and a link to a list of over 1,560 (http://www.umephy.maine.edu/ncomins/miscon.html) at the companion website of his book (http://www.umephy.maine.edu/ncomins/).

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<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: GrapesOfWrath on 2002-05-15 13:02 ]</font>

Roy Batty
2002-May-15, 05:25 PM
I see he references the Bad Astronomy site quite a bit on his Links page /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

honestmonkey
2002-May-15, 07:19 PM
While I did buy Phil's book, I checked Neil's out of the library, where I first saw it. Haven't bought it just because I'm a cheap so-and-so. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

The two authors on occasion use the same examples, but Neil segues from trying to debunk specific misconceptions into how to teach the right in the first place.

I did notice that Phil claims the sun is green, and Neil says its turquoise. /phpBB/images/smiles/icon_smile.gif

beskeptical
2002-May-16, 08:25 AM
On 2002-05-15 15:19, honestmonkey wrote:
The two authors on occasion use the same examples, but Neil segues from trying to debunk specific misconceptions into how to teach the right in the first place.


Both of these approaches are important. When I first taught about or tried to correct medical misconceptions, I found people weren't convinced by facts if they had had some personal experience they felt was more reliable. Anecdotal evidence meant all, scientific studies with decent sample sizes and controls meant nothing.

I have since taken an approach that uses events people are more familiar with, like, 'if you wear your hat backwards and the Mariners win the ball game, of course that is proof that the hat mattered, right?'. I know that's really basic, but I use as many real events as possible.

Another problem is people 'know' how to be safe but they continually take actions that aren't. You can't change this if you think the problem is lack of knowledge. You have to find out what else is going on.

I've seen the most innovative approaches to teaching science addressing students being able to pass tests but not having a clue when asked to explain the same material. Unfortunately, our education system plugs along giving kids their standard education, and tests, and not bothering to find out if they really learned anything.

I am making sure my son learns how to think, and how to tell if there is evidence supporting whatever he thinks is real. I wish I wasn't in the minority.