Schweingruber, Heidi

Dr. Heidi Schweingruber

Board on Science Education at the National Research Council (NRC)
National Academies of Sciences 
Washington, D.C.

Key Research Report: A Framework for K–12 Science Education (2011)

Most recent email: Thu, Oct 11, 2018

RE: Might you advise us or might you know somebody who can?

Dear Dr. Heidi Schweingruber:

We are high school people who are still struggling with an extra-curricular project that began in December 2011. It came out of our geometry classes, but quickly involved our physics classes, then we even got our middle school (advanced placement) classes involved.

The students enjoyed the tour de force, but… our scholarly people just think our project is idiosyncratic and we agree!

We are trying desperately to find some scholar to tell us why we have failed to understand first principles somewhere along the way.

You certainly have been thinking about these things for awhile. Maybe you can help. BTW, congratulations on your work at Rice. …love that school.

Essentially we backed into a Kees Boeke-like scale of the universe by going deeper and deeper into embedded geometries (octahedron and tetrahedron particularly). Our scale applies base-2 to the Planck scale and goes to the age and size of the universe in 202 steps or doublings or notations. Because so much of scientific growth is about doublings, we thought we had something worthy of being explored further. Until we know for sure that we are not leading the students astray, we’ve begun to hold back on this project.

Again, can you help or might you know somebody who can advise us? Thank you.

Most sincerely,

Bruce Camber

First email: Mar 31, 2015, 9:19 AM

2. Helen Quinn, Heidi Schweingruber, and Thomas Keller, Editors; Committee on Conceptual Framework for the New K-12 Science Education Standards; Board on Science Education; Division of Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education; National Research Council

Dear Dr. Heidi Schweingruber:

We are very impressed and excited to find your history of activities within K-12 science education.

In our high school geometry classes, we were following embedded or nesting platonic figures (like the Russian nesting dolls) until we could go no further on the small side In about 100 steps we were at the Planck Length. When we multiplied by 2, in just over 100 steps we were at the edges of the observable universe.

Unwittingly we had a container universe where everything was indexed. When we went looking for some experts to help guide us through our wonderfully-simple, entirely-engaging chart that we had created; we couldn’t find anybody. There were almost no Google references to base-2 exponential notation from the Planck Units to the Observable Universe. We began asking more general questions of cosmologists and senior scientists and we received remarkable encouragement from Nobel laureates from MIT, Stanford, Oxford and more. Along this path we learned about Kees Boeke’s base-10 notations (also out of a high school). We thought that our base-2 work was much more granular, natural, and informative.

It became our working STEM program. Because of your work with STEM education, we would dearly like to know what do you think:
•  What are we missing?
•  Do you find it of interest?
•  As we progress, would you want to learn more?

Thank you.

Most sincerely,

Bruce Camber, teacher (among other things)
New Orleans

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