Dissection assignments don't hold the student's attention because both the method and the content of the lesson are static--the procedure's beginning, middle, and end are predetermined. The implication that there is exactly one appropriate method for dissecting, for example, a dogfish, crushes the authentic spirit of discovery that might compel someone to look for some other way to get at it. Even worse is the implication that the goal of experiments should be to uncover in the lab what is already laid out in the textbook. The untold connections between the dogfish and other subjects are not accounted for.
The typical classroom dissection is not really an experiment at all. The idea of authentic scientific inquiry is replaced by the dictum to follow the rules and learn the required material. The small child in us cries out because we wanted to do more or less or something different. We were interested in the dogfish, but not in naming its organs. At home, we could explore what interested us, but here we are on an intellectual chain gang, following the leader and the pace set and doing the work required. This method of instruction discounts any connections the student might make between the dogfish and what he already knows about other subjects, except those that are pre-coded in a text. It does not allow for students to see what science is all about. No real hypotheses are formed because no student-initiated hypotheses are allowed. And it's just not fun.
Schools Fail to Use Students' Natural Questions
Where am I in the content of the book?