Science is how we humans figure out things. Not all scientists use the same way to do their figuring. That's O.K. We do learn things with some scientific methods and guidelines, some plans and experiments (which we will be doing this year), and quite a bit of good old fashioned luck. But, there is one part of discovery that is always there: we think. We think about what we see, what we hear, what happened before, and what is different than we might have predicted.
So Fourth Grade I.B. students, get ready to... THINK!
ARISTOTLE-AN OBSERVER OF NATURE
Born: 384 B.C. in Greece Lived to be 62 years old
Science did not begin yesterday. Scientific thinking goes far back, even to prerecorded history and primitive people. When a person in ancient times tied a rock to a stick to make a weapon, he was thinking scientifically. The first farmer to discover that placing certain seeds in the ground would give rise to an edible plant was a scientist. Long ago people looked up at the stars and kept records of their path through the sky-they were the first astronomers.
Aristotle was among the first scientists to carefully observe nature. He wrote more than 150 books detailing what he learned about plants, animals and nature.
Aristotle was born to a wealthy family. His father was a doctor who served royalty. Young Aristotle learned much when he went with his dad to help the sick.
His dad died when Aristotle was only ten years old. Since his mother was already dead, he was sent to live with a guardian.
At seventeen, Aristotle attended a school in Athens, Greece led by a genius named Plato. Plato was the most famous philosopher of his time. Aristotle soon became Plato's best student. Plato called him the "intelligence"
of the school.
Aristotle stayed at the school for twenty years. He later started his own school. Most of his lectures were given outdoors as he had his students walk through the gardens of Athens.
Later in life, Aristotle became a tutor to a young prince. He must have done a great job. The young prince grew up to be Alexander the Great.
Charles Darwin, a scientist in the nineteenth century, wrote that most scientists are mere "schoolboys" compared to Aristotle. What do you think he meant?
WHY ARISTOTLE WAS FAMOUS
Aristotle was a philosopher who thought and wrote about the meaning of life. He wrote books on logical thinking. He taught many of the most important people of his time.
Aristotle was also a scientist. He carefully observed and wrote about all things in nature. His books stressed that observation was an important part of science.
This famous man did not have microscopes or telescopes. As a result he made many mistakes. His books are full of ideas that we now know are wrong such as:
1. Flies and worms are formed when fruit rots.
2. The only four elements in the world are earth, air, fire and water.
3. The job of the human brain is to cool off the body.
Boys and girls, I copied this information about Aristotle from a book called Great Scientists in Action Early Life, Discoveries, and Experiments. I don't know if any of you will grow up to be as famous at Aristotle, but I do know that we will be using the same methods he did. We will be carefully observing and recording things in nature. We will be asking questions and searching for answers. We will also make some mistakes. That is OK. In order to begin your scientific journey, here is an assignment for you.
Any student who completes this activity and brings it to school during our first week will be given ten congratulation slips. (You'll learn about congratulation slips on the first day of school.)
Activity #1: Observing a Nickel
There were metal coins in Aristotle's time. He would have been amazed at our common nickel. Let's observe a nickel carefully.
1. Obtain some shiny nickels.
2. Observe the face on the coin. It is Thomas Jefferson.
3. Observe the building on the back of the coin. It is Jefferson's mansion. Notice the name of the mansion right
4. Hold the nickel so that Jefferson's face if pointing up. Turn the coin to observe the mansion. It is upside
5. Look for the work liberty to the right of the face. Notice the date when the coin was made.
6. Look at the date. You may see a D or S. This stands for the location of the mint that made the coin. D is for
Denver, S is for San Francisco Those nickels without a letter were made in Philadelphia.
7. Look above the mansion. You will see E Pluribus Unum. This is Latin. It means "one among many." This reflects
the joining of the original thirteen states.
8. Now you are to sketch and draw the two sides of the nickel you are studying. Look carefully, as if you were a
student of Aristotle's. Show as many details as you can.
9. Bring your drawings to school and give them to me.
FAMOUS QUOTES FROM ARISTOTLE
Nature does nothing uselessly.
Well begun is half done.
Liars when they speak the truth are not believed.