Watts.D.J.2017.Should social science be more solution-oriented.Nature: Human Behavior.

Abstract: Over the past 100 years, social science has generated a tremendous number of theories on the topics of individual and collective human behaviour. However, it has been much less successful at reconciling the innumerable inconsistencies and contradictions among these competing explanations, a situation that has not been resolved by recent advances in ‘computational social science’. In this Perspective, I argue that this ‘incoherency problem’ has been perpetuated by an historical emphasis in social science on the advancement of theories over the solution of practical problems. I argue that one way for social science to make progress is to adopt a more solution-oriented approach, starting first with a practical problem and then asking what theories (and methods) must be brought to bear to solve it. Finally, I conclude with a few suggestions regarding the sort of problems on which progress might be made and how we might organize ourselves to solve them.


Watts.2017.Social Science More Solution Oriented.s41562-016-0015.pdf


Some day…

TIPERS defined


Creating Interactive Physics Simulations Using the Power of Geogebra


Another type of simulation / coding I should try in class.

Making Experts of Physics (Instead of Just Equation Jockeys)

I’m finishing my second year of modeling instruction in 2016-2017.

I’m frustrated by the order of the topics, and wondering if there is a better way.

Then I read this paper:


A couple things I really like about it:

  1. returning to an overview of concepts in physics (i.e. models that may apply to any problem)
  2. putting work back on the students
  3. sharing feedback with students on how the course is going

Salary Checkup 2017-04-07

I’ve been keeping data on my salary. Here’s the comparison between base, gross and net for the last 6 years. NOTE: 2011-2012 I was student teaching in Highline School District.

For Gross and Net below, I only look at data through March 31st.

And here is Net Salary

I guess I’m just not gaming this salary system as much as I should.

Breslyn and McGinnis 2011

ABSTRACT: Teachers’ use of inquiry has been studied largely without regard for the

disciplines in which teachers practice. As a result, there is no theoretical understanding of

the possible role of discipline in shaping teachers’ conceptions and enactment of inquiry.

In this mixed-methods study, conceptions and enactment of inquiry for 60 National Board

Certified Science Teachers (NBCSTs) across the secondary science disciplines of biology,

chemistry, earth science, and physics were investigated. A situated cognitive framework

was used. Through the analysis of portfolio text (n = 48) and participant interviews (n =

12), themes emerged for participants’ conceptions and enactment of inquiry. Findings

suggested that disciplinary differences exist between NBCSTs’ conceptions and enactment

of inquiry. Furthermore, individuals teaching in more than one discipline often held different

conceptions of inquiry depending on the discipline in which they were teaching. A key

implication was the critical importance of considering the discipline in understanding

science teachers’ varied conceptions and enactment of inquiry. C _ 2011 Wiley Periodicals,

Inc. Sci Ed 96:48 – 77, 2012


Your discipline affects your use of inquiry in your classroom.

What is the metric of an effective high school?

Suppose a high school has a goal to graduate (metric) all students (metric) college and career ready (metric?).

What if we just took median income of a school district, and found the stats of graduates relative to median income and tracked that? Couldn’t the I. R. S. help us with those numbers?

But if all students go to college, and many out of town or out of area then those stats are pretty useless. Those students aren’t generating income and not in their hometown for at least 4 years if not more.

What if you just ask graduates “do you feel you are living the life you had envisioned now or are you making progress towards that life or those goals?”

Do we think high school is serving all students equitably? Do we think high school is having the impact it needs to have? If we want high school to have more impact shouldn’t it have more contact with community leaders? Are high schools in general adequately funded?

What proportion of high schools offer physics?

Quadrennial nationwide survey of high school physics teachers

Looking forward to this one.

Thanks! Was this email effective?

John Weisenfeld, Science Teacher, Pasco High School

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