LEARNING TO CHOOSE by Lazer Goldberg


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Goldberg, author of well-received essays for teachers (Science and Children, 1970), offers here a number of issue-oriented ""stories"" and essays for children of various ages. The selections are designed to foster an examination of the ethical implications of scientific and technological developments, but many are likely to foster the unscientific practice of spouting off without sufficient data. For example, the bits of preliminary information here can't half prepare children to determine whether DDT is ""a good thing"" or if the risks of radiation are worth taking. Other stories have scientific settings only, with the value-centered ""discussions"" totally unrelated to the cited work: Galileo's renunciation of the Copernican system is linked to giving in to segregationists, and a sketch of Marie Curie is followed by the question, ""Why are there so few great women scientists?"" Later, as Goldberg aims at older children, he does raise some fundamental conflicts involving science and values: Should Pasteur have risked the life of that first boy he vaccinated? Should chemists refuse to work on developing polluting detergents? But a talented teacher should be able to dream up such discussions on his own--and they would be far more meaningful emerging from the context of either a topic under study or, with younger children, a classroom controversy. (Should Anne feed Benjamin's frog her mealworms?) But where even the teachers need prodding to think in terms of moral consequences, then Goldberg's scenarios might serve as suggestions.

Pub Date: June 1st, 1976
Publisher: Scribners