Models and Analogues in Biology

By Society for Experimental Biology | Go to book overview

SCHOOL BIOLOGY AS AN EDUCATIONAL MODEL

By H. P. RAMAGE Trustee, The Science Masters' Association.


INTRODUCTION

It seems necessary to say at the outset that, although it may be administratively convenient to divide the school curriculum into the compartments called subjects, these cannot properly be considered in isolation from one another, nor, indeed, from the whole educational process in so far as it concerns schools. In that stage of education we should be concerned with using the subjects of the curriculum as means to the general educational end, that is with educating through the subjects not with teaching the subjects as such. Taking biology as the subject relevant to our present discussion, there are two main ways in which its inclusion in a school course may be helpful. It may be treated, first, as a vocational subject useful for the preliminary training of doctors, farmers, foresters and workers in other fields where biological science provides a necessary basis. Secondly, biology can play a valuable part in the more comprehensive, more fully personal general education which it is the primary duty of schools to provide, vocational training only being a secondary duty. It is this more comprehensive duty which I primarily have in mind as I consider school biology as an educational model, for that is how I feel I can best try to make a contribution to this Symposium. I think it is much more important to philosophize about such general matters and to try to get our general principles right rather than merely to go through a list of detailed models and analogues useful in day-to-day biology teaching in schools.


SCIENCE AND THE SCIENCES

By a set of curious chances a most unfortunate idea has arisen, at least in Britain, that proper science--model science as I might call it here--means only the physical sciences. Worse still, for many people science is a mysterious power whose function is to provide the host of gadgets with which modern 'civilized' life is enriched--or in some cases plagued. It is true that modern life is materially based on modern technology, which, in turn, is based on applied science, but technology should not therefore be regarded as identical with science. Technology of an unscientific, trial-and-error kind existed long before modern times; indeed, its beginnings lie far back in prehistoric times when the first artefacts were shaped. Even the wheel is a prehistoric technological invention. Probably some people thought of the notorious East

-230-

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Models and Analogues in Biology
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface vii
  • Quantum Physics and Biology† 1
  • Models in Genetics 6
  • Kinetic Models of Development And Heredity 13
  • Tissues in Culture and in the Body 28
  • References 40
  • Models of Muscle 41
  • References 66
  • Mechanical Models in Zoology 69
  • Conclusions 82
  • Physical Models in Biology 83
  • Estimation of Values Of Parameters of a Model to Conform With Observations 102
  • Summary 120
  • Applications of Theoretical Models to the Study of Flight- Behaviour in Locusts and Birds 122
  • References 138
  • Electrical Analogues in Biology 140
  • Computers and the Nervous System 152
  • References 168
  • Models in Cybernetics 169
  • References 190
  • Modelling of Large-Scale Nervous Activity 192
  • Conclusions 197
  • Energy Models of Motivation 199
  • Summary 212
  • The Use of Models in the Teaching Of Embryology 214
  • School Biology as An Educational Model 230
  • Conclusion 241
  • The Problem of Communication In Biological Teaching 243
  • Acknowledge Ments 248
  • A Review of the Symposium: Models and Analogues in Biology 250
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