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View Full Version : Where does the study of prehistoric life belong?



Sherry
07-16-2012, 08:16 AM
Do your elementary students study prehistory as part of science or history?

Riceball_Mommy
07-16-2012, 03:42 PM
I chose other, because I used a textbook as a spine to create our science curriculum for this year. I had planned to do an extra 2 units on my own, not covered by the textbook, for evolution and dinosaurs. Our history curriculum (Moasic) covers prehistory as part of history, so I've just been doing the two side by side. When I write it into my log I write in "Social Studies/Science" and just write down everything I did for both.

AmyButler
07-16-2012, 04:07 PM
It doesn't quite fit Earth Science in my head, although that would be a valid place to put it, but it also fits with life sciences. Then there is the paleontology part... Best bet, for me, is to teach it seperately from and let my daughter classify what type of science it is for herself.

farrarwilliams
07-16-2012, 04:58 PM
I voted both, but I think it's fine if it overlaps. With both science and history, I find that the longer we're at this, the more things we cover twice in different contexts and I kind of like that.

Stella M
07-16-2012, 06:04 PM
Science for us.

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
07-16-2012, 06:11 PM
We started our chronological tour of history with Ice Age humans, but we did talk about animals too (cause, ya know, giant sloths are COOL!). We have talked about the geologic history of the earth, extinct animals, and human evolution only informally at this point, but I plan to cover them as science at some point.

EmmaNadine
07-16-2012, 06:18 PM
Science and history are two different ways of knowing, rather than two entirely different subject matters. If you consider history to just be a human endeavor, than there is an obvious separation, but if you want to tell the story of our world, then history encompasses everything.

That's a long winded way of saying other.

farrarwilliams
07-16-2012, 06:35 PM
Oh, yes, I like that Emma. I agree. We covered early man in one way for history - cave paintings, culture, social movement, etc. We haven't done much biology yet, but when we do, we'll talk about the science of evolution and what biology tells us about ourselves and our history. Different aspects of the topic.

dbmamaz
07-16-2012, 08:50 PM
i voted history, simply because when i started on history, i started with the big bang . . i wanted the whole big story. but yeah, if you wanted to study more about the way genes were passed or how we know what we know about prehistory, that would be more science. but the only way I could force myself to start history (which i always hated) was to start with something i liked (more like science)

JinxieFox
07-17-2012, 04:49 AM
I voted "both", as we incorporate prehistoric studies into the cycle of The Well-Trained Mind. We study pre-historic, non-human creatures as part of biology, and pre-historic humans as part of ancient history.

Though we study the science of evolution as modern history. :)

Staysee34
07-17-2012, 08:17 AM
I voted both. For record keeping purposes, I document it as Historical Science.

Hampchick
07-17-2012, 08:49 AM
Can't say I know where it belongs, but we did it before diving into ancient history. I guess that seems appropriate to me because we studied what was going on on the planet during different time periods - thus history, although not human history. However, for reporting purposes I'd probably call it science.

Sherry
07-17-2012, 06:23 PM
i voted history, simply because when i started on history, i started with the big bang . . i wanted the whole big story. but yeah, if you wanted to study more about the way genes were passed or how we know what we know about prehistory, that would be more science. but the only way I could force myself to start history (which i always hated) was to start with something i liked (more like science)

My sons would agree with you about science being interesting and history boring. We covered prehistory the first time around as part of history. I want to go into more depth the second time around. I had thought to cover it next year as part of Earth Science. Now, I'm thinking I should postpone Earth Science until we finish our current history cycle and do a combined science-history semester on the big bang through early humans, then for the second semester cover earth science topics and start ancient history. More pondering to do.

hockeymom
07-17-2012, 06:51 PM
This is an interesting debate. I hadn't thought of it before. We studied the big bang and prehistorical life as part of history, but in a couple years when we revisit it more in depth, I see now that it makes sense to come at it from a scientific POV. Reading through the other responses, it seems a lot of people have the same idea.

quabbin
11-06-2012, 08:33 PM
I consider Earth and space science and evolutionary biology all one story (and bless his heart, my four-year-old wanted to hear the whole thing, starting with the Big Bang, while I was driving earlier today), but we'll do pre-history before we start history, too. I voted for the second "Both" option.

Operetta
11-07-2012, 10:17 AM
I voted both but I think there's a lot more overlap than that. Like Emma says, it's really two ways of looking. Especially where hominids are concerned, we definitely view the whole human story as both history and science.

crunchynerd
11-09-2012, 09:58 AM
I figure, categorization of knowledge into separate, distinct subjects, is an act of artifice anyway, but what the heck...my take would be, if you're engaging in discovery, using scientific methods, or learning about scientific methods that have been used to discover facts, then it's science. If you're relating not so much the science itself, but the facts about the lives of the human scientists who did the discovering, or the human cultural and social events that prevailed at the time, then it's history. So, studying human ancestors, in a search for facts about their DNA, their evolution, what sorts of things they made for clues to how they lived, how artifacts and evidence are uncovered in the field, and how they are tested and interpreted in labs, is science.

But studying the stories we have built about our origins and that we carry as a cultural passed-down tale, is history. All cultures have a creation myth, or a story, passed down from long ago, to explain how their people came to be, and those stories are part of cultural history, without regard to science. Those histories are interesting to learn, as well. But they are not science. They are history/mythology. THE BIG MYTH (http://mythicjourneys.org/bigmyth/2_eng_myths.htm)

The history of science, is also history. Learning about Madame Curie, Copernicus, etc is learning the passed-down tales of noteworthy scientists and what they did. Actually studying not just their lives and accomplishments as a story, but learning for one's self, their methods and testing their results, that would be engaging in science.

Where it gets really messy, is seeking archeological evidence, by engaging in science and using the scientific method, to test one history or another. It is science, used as a tool for clarifying history.

Jeni
11-16-2012, 09:14 AM
I am learning about it right now. :) For whatever reason our curriculum doesn't cover dinosaurs yet so we are learning about it on our own. I would say more science then history, but I think it covers both areas.