Cameron Pilger sorting fasteners.
This semester I am taking Natural Sciences 2 with Stuart Patterson. It's my earliest class, but it doesn't start until 11:30, so I have the mornings for the gym and a nice breakfast.
I have not taken Natural Sciences 1 yet; our school does not work that way. I have to take the 1's and 2's before the 3's and 4's, but a 1 does not come before a 2. The numbers are just a way of differentiating between the courses.
So far in Nat Sci 2 we've read quite a bit of Aristotle. On the Soul, Classification of Animals and Generation of Animals. Next we're to read some Lamarck.
I took Biology, several different Biology classes actually, in high school and I always just accepted what the textbook told me. Yes, you can classify animals and yes, there are specific ways of doing it. It may have been the only subject I did not read and think "why?". Now, reading the Aristotle, I am wondering that. How did we get to this classification system? What makes this one, over any others, correct?
We approached this question with the Fastener lab yesterday. We split into groups and pairs and put on our classifying hats. My partner in crime was fellow first-year Cam(eron) Pilger, who was kind enough to allow me to document our trials and tribulations in the classifying world.
We were given a cup of fasteners (screws, nails, push-pins, etc) and then had to decide how to separate them into groups using their characteristics.
Cam and I were Hardware Dichotomists. We created a tree of sorts to classify all of the species of fasteners. We had to decide what was a large enough difference that it made one screw a different species from another, and not just a different race.
At the end of the class we looked at the work of each group. We had all done it slightly differently and it really was interesting to see the problems everyone had come up against.
All in all, it was an extremely useful lab in helping further my understanding of classification and even allowed me to sympathize a bit with Aristotle's struggle. We were working using his ideas as well as others we've seen or heard of; he was forging all new paths, refuting what had come before him.
Cam and I are working on our lab report now. Next class we'll be looking at real animals and what makes them similar enough to be grouped together or different enough to be separated.
I know that this was just an exercise to help us understand and to put the reading into some context, but every time I go to a hardware store now, I'll be thinking of all of the species of nails there are to choose from.
Playing: Civilizations War
Classes Today: Social Sciences 2 and Humanities 2