Science as we know it and the way it should be

Science is a funny thing: it is just as man made as the mathematical symbols which science depends on. Science, to me, tries to make sense of the universe out there for the sole purpose of human consumption or understanding, all based on what you and others have observed and measured. Sure it can be used to create new tools once we understand nature (like nuclear weapons), but science in and of itself is mere description of nature.

How is this different from history (study of the past based on human records)? Not much. Just as it is easy to fabricate history (less eye witnesses and records, the easier to alter the past), science can be just as readily faked esp. if it's hard to reproduce (compare cold fusion vs the S.Korean stem cell debacle).

With all that said, I think a true science class would be a long term one (say 4 years) and would:
  1. start with a blank slate
  2. study a phenomenon
  3. extrapolate what might happen (i.e., create a theory)
  4. teacher presents one of the older theories
  5. have student prove or disprove the first theory
  6. teacher presents a newer theory to disprove.
  7. repeat until premodern theory
  8. finally, have the student look up modern theory and prove or disprove it
An added twist would be to not name the scientists nor the history but present each theory as yet another new challenge to overcome. If they hit the wall with #8, great job! If they break through #8, we may have found the next Einstein! Either way, for step #9, go over the past scientists and the reasoning behind each theory.

[If the above can be done like a video game challenge (you advance from easy theory to harder theory), I just might get my sons interested....kind of reminds me of Ender's Game. For those who aren't into SciFi, Ender's Game is a story about a bright kid who is a natural leader and plays in multiplayer video game and beats the aliens -- but turns out that the training simulation was actually controlling real space ships and really did wipe out the alien ships. I rather get my sons playing games and then realized they were doing real science problems than for them to study in school setting and then realize that it had no meaning in the real world -- the latter was the case for most of my classes I took in college.]

I personally don't care if my sons can't tell the difference between Newton and Einstein as long as they know how to find out about them if they want to. Schools will make students memorize birthdays and death dates and "significant fact(s)" about them but not how to find out what they thought and how to understand them and even have them think through in disproving them.