THE LANGUAGE OF SCIENCE
PRIMITIVO G. CASILANG
Today, most of the students find difficulty in studying science. Based from Deped reports, the NAT mean percentage score (MPS) for high school in school year 2012-2013 was 51.43 percent which is 23.59 percent away from the target and among the five subject areas assess to the students, science has the lowest MPS. In the K to 12 Curriculum, science is being taught starting from Grade 3 to Grade 12. The new science curriculum is being teach in a spiralling the competencies in science. Learning science requires mastery to its language-English and Mathematics in order to understand concepts, ideas and explore the wonder of science.
English is the Language of Science.
From elementary to secondary level, English language is used in science education that is why English skills are essential in the learning process and understanding the concepts in science. Textbooks or learning materials in science are written in English. It requires reading ability to decode the contents of text to understand science concepts. Similarly, English is the medium of instruction in teaching science. The teacher should use English to communicate to his/ her students and vice-versa students will respond to their teachers question in English. Logically speaking, to excel and to learn more in science, a student’s must have good communication, reading and writing skills in English.
Unfortunately, most of the students are not comfortable in speaking English in learning science especially during recitation and reporting in science class. Most of students take more time to express their ideas in English and once their teacher ask questions, they feared to answer even they know answer because they are afraid that they could be laugh by their classmates once they commit mistakes in speaking English or their answer is grammatically incorrect. Students also struggling in answering essay questions and guide questions in science activity or experiments. They brawl to write because their brain trying to find the right word to express their ideas.
Mathematics is the Language of Science.
Galileo Galilei, an Italian Astronomer and Physicist, says “Mathematics is the language in which God has written the universe.” Linguist Noam Chomsky describes language as a set of sentences made using a fixed set of elements. Anne Marie Helmenstine stated that Mathematics is a language because it consists of words or symbols, syntax and set of rules wherein the meaning is embedded and it is use and understands by group of people. Science is filled with symbols, codes, numbers and equations or formulas used to describe, compare and contrast, understand and explain concepts. It is a tool for communication that concludes to an exact answer and unison for a certain questions. At elementary level, students must master the basic numeracy skills like reading, writing numbers and performing fundamental operations of mathematics. This ability will help them in studying science just like in describing objects; measurements play a vital role to determine the quantitative properties of matter. A simple quantity basically consist of a number and a unit but derived quantities consist of formulas or equations to find their value e.g. density and volume. Studies say that physics and chemistry are the branches of science that are greatly influence by mathematics. Problem solving, graphical presentation and complex formulas are most like use to teach most lessons in physics and chemistry. The science curriculum from elementary to junior high school seemingly divided into four branches of sciencephysics, chemistry, biology and earth science; it is been teach to the students through spiral progression method.
But what if the students lack numerical ability? How can he measure the exact amount of certain quantities? In learning science, experiments are usually done and measuring is the most basic skills performed in performing it. How do students can solve word problems if they have poor mathematical ability? They cannot solve word problems because they cannot interpret the relationships and they don’t master the fundamental operations even knowing the correct formulas in solving the problem.
THE AUTHOR IS TEACHER III AT PARALAYA HIGH SCHOOL