Science
Did you study science at school? When did you start learning it? Did you like science classes when you were young? What was your favourite and least fav science subject? How do you use it every day? Do you think science classes are important? Do you think school children should have both science and art classes?
Vocabulary
  • To dodge (verb) - to avoid something unpleasant.
  • To get into sth (phrasal verb) - to become interested in an activity or subject, or start being involved in an activity.
  • Put someone off something/someone (phrasal verb) - to make someone dislike something or someone, or to discourage someone from doing something.
  • Complex (adj.) - difficult to understand or find an answer to because of having many different parts.
  • To conduct (verb) - to organize and perform a particular activity.
  • -centric (suffix.) - having a particular type of person, place, or thing as your most important interest; seen from the point of view of a particular type of person, place, or thing.
  • Literate (adj.) - having knowledge of a particular subject, or a particular type of knowledge.
  • Broadly (adverb) - in a general way, without considering specific examples or all the details.
  • Applicable (adj.) - affecting or relating to someone or something.
  • Knowledge-based (adj.) - used to describe a company, job, etc. that is based on the use of ideas and information.
  • Appreciation (noun) - the act of recognizing or understanding that something is valuable, important, or as described.
  • Crucial (adj.) - extremely important or necessary.
  • Numeracy (noun) - ability to do basic mathematics.
Questions and answers
M: Rory, let's talk about science, shall we? Did you study science at school?

R: Yeah, we had biology and chemistry and physics in high school, although I dodged the last one because I was terrible at maths. And apparently, you need lots of maths and physics. Even in primary, we did some isolated experiments here and there.

M: When did you start learning it?

R: Well, in the UK, your formal education and science begins in primary school. However, I was reading sort of small science books for children even before then and outside of school as well. It's a shame I never really got into it after all that reading. Well, after all the reading I used to do, actually.

M: Did you like science classes when you were a child?

R: I think I preferred reading about science more than actually doing it, to be honest with you. The classes were always very dry, formal and boring compared to the, well, relatively more bright and exciting books. So it put me off the subject quite a bit when we actually had to do the practical stuff.

M: What was your favourite and least favourite science subject at school?

R: Well, I always did well in biology. Chemistry was always a nightmare, because, well, there's maths involved in that as well, especially in the more complex experiments that you had to conduct. I didn't really bother with physics, because that was even more math-centric. So I couldn't tell you about that.

M: How do you use science every day?

R: Well, to be honest, I doubt I or anyone else outside of a lab actually does. We use the end product of science more than the process itself. For example, I know how a light bulb works, but it's my knowledge of other things that lets me work to be able to buy one, and then a different set of knowledge that allows me to flick a switch to turn it off.

M: Do you think science classes are important?

R: I think that depends on what it's in comparison to. So if it's in comparison to Maths and English, then no, it's more important to be generally literate than scientifically literate, if you have to choose between the two. It shouldn't be a choice. But when you have a limited amount of time to work with, it's better to work with more broadly applicable knowledge-based than something that's more narrow, or narrower, I should say.

M: Do you think school children should have both science and art classes?
R: Together or separately? Regardless, I think it's important to develop an awareness and appreciation of art and science if only to get by in the world. But are they as crucial as general literacy and numeracy? Probably not. Not for living.

M: Thank you, for your scientifically specific answers!
Discussion
M: Science, oh... You know I prefer collecting things or I prefer talents.

R: In terms of talking about them?

M: Yeah, in terms of just, you know, chit-chatting. But science, maybe I wasn't good at science. And by science, we mean science subjects, such as what? Biology, Chemistry, Physics.

R: Yeah. Those are the big ones which are separate in a combination of the three.

M: But yeah, if I think about science, I think about mathematics, physics, okay, chemistry, but what are other science subjects?

R: Well, you have environmental science, which is like a combination of chemistry and mathematics, well, sorry, chemistry, mathematics and biology.

M: The combination of chemistry, mathematics and biology in one subject?

R: Well, with a focus on the environment. Yeah.

M: Wow, okay. Okay, fine. And science at school, right? And you can say like we had biology, chemistry, yeah? Physics. It's physics, not physics. No, no. Physics, in high school. Right? And Rory said that in the UK, formal education in science begins in primary school. Right? So primary school from the first form to the fourth, right?

R: If you're in England, yeah. In Scotland, it's like, primary education is primary one to seven.

M: Okay. All right. It's kind of complicated.

R: It's not complicated. Well, it is, but only when you are comparing.

M: Why seven?

R: Because the primary one is the first year you're in school and primary seventh is the last year, you're in primary school.

M: Ah, okay, wow.

R: But people start school at different ages in different countries.

M: Okay. But again, dear listener, so Primary School. So first, we have primary and then secondary, and then high school, right? So we can say, that ooh, I started.

R: No.
M: No? Not in the UK?

R: Here in Scotland there's just primary and high school. But you can have, I think Americans have Middle School, which is where you go when you're a preteen. And then they have high school, which is for teenagers, but we just have two. We have primary school for young children and then high school for teenagers.

M: Why should you be so special? You Scottish? No secondary school.

R: Why?

M: Why?

R: Well, we had a separate education system before the countries had a political union. So that's why. Also, the development of education in Scotland is different to England.

M: Wow. You see, dear listener, this is what I mean, this is already complicated. Science. Anyway, you can say that I started learning science in primary school, or when I was seven, when I was six. Yeah. And we talk about science subjects versus art classes. So art classes like literature, the English language, your mother tongue. What else? Art, obviously. Right? And then, Rory, you said that you dodged the last one. So you dodged physics.

R: Yeah. So I just didn't do it. I was given the choice to do physics. And I was like, that's going to be a disaster. So no.

M: Yeah. So if you dodge something, you just say no to it. Right? What else can we dodge?

R: Bullets.

M: Oh, dodge bullets, so somebody like, is shooting and then you like dodge bullets like Superman or Superwoman.

R: Or like Neo in the Matrix.

M: Oh, Neo, yeah. It was like...

R: But the point is you dodge something that you don't want to do, basically.

M: And then you can speak about experiments. So Rory had some experiments. Experiments in terms of scientific experiments. Do you do experiments or you make experiments?

R: You do experiments, but really, that's a bit of a simple verb. And I shouldn't have said that. But I recovered later, I said, conduct experiments.

M: And then it's a shame or it was a shame that I never really got into it. So it was a pity that Rory didn't get into science.

R: But that's just when something is unfortunate. Although, is it so unfortunate? Because then I did English and I was very good at that. And I, like, we have this podcast now. So maybe it's not so bad.

M: Rory didn't become a scientist to become a podcaster.
R: No, I'm not very good with science, I'm afraid. But then, like I said, I don't have to be.

M: So three plus three?

R: That's mathematics. That's not... That's not science, like biology and physics and chemistry.

M: Oh, so we have like different kinds of science subjects?

R: Yeah.

M: No, I mean, like, because maths is like science to me. But biology, chemistry is like kind of a different science, right?

R: I guess so.

M: What about astronomy? Planets.

R: Well, I suppose you need physics and chemistry to understand astronomy.

M: Then Rory said that I preferred reading to science classes. And then because classes, science classes were dull, dry, formal and boring. This put him off. So this puts me off the subject quite a bit. So if something puts you off, it means that it kind of you don't like it, right? It's kind of like...

R: Yeah, you can say that the fact that the classes were dry, formal and boring, put me off the subject.

R: Well, they were very dry, very formal and very boring.

M: And very science, too science.

R: Too "sciency". This science class is too "sciency". It needs more music.

M: Too "sciency". It's just like so much science in there. I couldn't take it. And then you did well in biology. Right, Rory?

R: Well, relative to the other too. So if you do well in something or do well at something then it's good and it's not difficult and you're getting good results.

M: You can say I did well in mathematics, in biology, in physics. And for example, chemistry was a nightmare. Right? Or biology was a nightmare, or mathematics or science subjects were a nightmare. It was a disaster. Right? For example. Or I did well in all science subjects. And Rory didn't even bother with physics because we're a member. What did Rory do? He... He dodged physics. So he stopped doing this or he didn't choose to do it.
R: I didn't even bother with it.

M: So kind of like, this is Rory. So let's imagine that I'm Rory. And this is physics. And then physics go, ooh, and Rory goes, ooh. This is how Rory dodged it. So he didn't even bother with Physics. Did you bother with Literature or with Art, with PE classes?

R: I hated Art and I hated PE. The only things I was good at high school were English and History.

M: Oh, not literature?

R: We didn't really have literature. That was amalgamated into English.

M: Oh, okay. So English, right. Yeah, Rory writes books. Yeah. Did you know that?

R: Just not books about science.

M: Yeah. And then we can speak about the lab. Because science, we conduct experiments in a lab.

R: Or laboratory.

M: Laboratory, yeah. A lab, laboratory, lab. So anyone else outside a lab, actually does use science every day, on a regular basis. And then we can talk about what? We know how a light bulb works. And then we flick a switch. Right?

R: Yeah. But you don't need to know about science to know how to work a light bulb. That was kind of what I was saying. People place a lot of emphasis on this. And it's like, maybe if you want to work in a lab, then yes, but really, most people just want to know where to get the light bulb and how to make it work.

M: And then we can say, it's not rocket science to switch on the light.

R: I did not say that. Did I?

M: No, no, you didn't. Because this is expression, it's not rocket science. So if you say like, oh, conditionals in English. Oh, they are so difficult. And we go, heh, it's not rocket science.

R: Well, you say it's not rocket science. I say, Oh, my God, it's conditionals. Get me out of here.
M: Yeah, It's rocket science for Rory. So we can also say something about being literate. So are science classes important? And Rory said that being literate is more important. So if a person is literate, what does it mean?

R: Well, they can... Generally, it means that they can read and write but now it also means that people can speak and listen effectively.

M: Yeah, but usually we say I can read and write, so I'm literate. Or if I can't read or write, I'm illiterate. And you can say it's more important to be literate, like generally literate, than scientifically literate. So scientifically literate, you mean just to have knowledge of mathematics, of biology, chemistry. What else? Space? What do you call it? Astronomy?

R: Astronomy.

M: And then we can say that it's important to develop appreciation of science and appreciation of art. Can we say appreciation? Appreciation, appreciation?

R: I say appreciation. But I've heard people say appreciation.

M: So both? Both, right? So art classes or science classes develop, we should develop appreciation or appreciation of both?

R: Well, yes, but that just means you understand the purposes of both and how they work. But not necessarily like all of the details, I think that might be outside of, you know, how a lot of children work. And really, it's more important, they can read and write before they do any of that.

M: Yeah, so firstly, they read the write, and then they do the science stuff.

R: Well, it all happens at the same time. If I have to choose then I need to place more of a focus on literacy. First of all, because that's the thing that's assessed and then second of all, because that's the thing that's more broadly applicable, which just means that you can use it in a variety of situations.

M: Thank you very much for listening! We're sending you hugs and kisses!

R: And we'll see you next time.

M: Bye!

R: Bye!
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