Science Curriculum Facilitator’s Statement:
This careful selection of middle and high school science experiments for the Detroit Independent Freedom School represents a cross-section study of biological phenomena. Each experiment unfolds a layer of biological development, from the cell— the building block of life, to the examination of specialized cells as tissue, to the formation of organs—specifically the liver and it’s biochemical responses, to an organism— a complete living thing represented by Drosophila melanogaster, the fruit fly which has given enormous yield in sequencing the human genome as well as in the area of animal ethology. All seven investigations exist within the frame work of the scientific method developed first by the Kemites, who would be later known as the Egyptians. These experiments are known to most science educators, but the structural carriage is a deliberate departure from the step 1, step 2, and step 3 approaches to teaching scientific knowledge on middle and high school levels.
The educational morphology implemented here in the Detroit Independent Freedom School designed by science educator, Semaj Brown and Family Physician, James Brown, MD reveal a concentric relatedness of subject not typically found in Biology courses. From elementary to college, biology text books consistently order subject matter to reflect developmental progression: cell, tissue, organ, systems, and organism. We believe this linear dissemination of information would better serve the student if conveyed as a critical component of summation. The narrow focused, non-interactive nature of such educational delivery limits the imagination and thwarts the opportunity for inquiry. In the Brown’s pedagogy, inquiry is the currency whether questions are formed in a bubble of wonder or in the glint of curiosity. The process is not a straight well defined line.
We understand, eliminating pre-constructed one-dimensional paradigms allow the brain to absorb and organize seemingly disparate, foreign, even messy information. Students retain the ability to categorize and reformulate information uniquely, connecting and integrating incongruences. Therefore, it is with intention; these 7 laboratory experiments are presented, not in sequence, but simultaneously to encourage a cacophony of thoughtful integration within the discipline of the scientific method.
We are grateful and honored to hold the position of teacher, and pray our efforts ignite a life- long quest for knowledge among our students.
Semaj Brown, Science Educator – Author
James Brown, MD – Family Physician