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The History of Science Education and Nature of Science. Dr. Jeanelle Day. Origins of Inquiry-Oriented Instruction. Use of laboratory unheard of until mid-1800’s. Physical materials and specimens, though rarely used, served to verify lectures/book information.
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Dr. Jeanelle Day
Today, we have a richer understanding about the processes associated with the growth of knowledge. Shapere (1984) discovered three things about the nature of science.
1. The standards used to assess the adequacy of scientific theories and explanations can change from one generation of scientists to another.
2. The standards used to judge theories at one time are not better or more correct than standards used at another time.
3. The standards used to assess scientific explanations are closely linked to the then-current beliefs of the scientific community.
Learning in science and cognitive development in general are conceived as processes in which old ideas, concepts, and meanings are replaced by new ones.
Conceptual change teaching model is different from other models of teaching science because there is the recognition that all learning begins with and is subsequently influenced by the prior knowledge of the student.
In large part, students are bombarded with tasks that teach what is known by science without learning about the discovery process of science. Teaching the “what” without teaching about the “how” runs the risk of making science instruction incomplete.
Kilborn (1980) suggests that all too often, science instruction is taken out of context and presented without the critical background material necessary for an understanding of the meanings or transitions of science.
If teachers do not fill in the gaps for students, they will fill them in themselves, more often than not, with ideas and self-constructed theories that are incorrect and lead to less success in science at higher grade levels. This makes science inaccessible to many young students (Novak & Gowin, 1984).
As science educators, we must convince students that change is a normal element of the growth of scientific knowledge.
It is fundamental that sound instruction seeks ways to partition knowledge claims and establishes the relationship among the parts. There are six models that can be used to attempt to explain or characterize knowledge growth in science.
Goal-of-Science Hierarchy--places theories within a general scheme that seeks to establish explanations and understandings of the natural world.
Argument Pattern for Testing Theories (Giere, 1984) *The theory is treated as a hypothesis in which a theoretical model is making a claim about the real world. This is a “Theoretical Hypothesis”. *The hypothesis is then treated as both a contingent statement (either it is true or false) and a conclusion of an argument. *The argument is a set of premises that lead to a statement of a conclusion. * An argument is analyzed by testing the truthfulness of the premises (all must be true), or by testing the internal consistency of the set of true premises (there can be no contradictions).
Four Criteria for Theory Evaluation (Root-Bernstein, 1984): 1. Logical criteria-good theories provide sound explanations, and sound explanations are based on logically sound arguments; 2. Empirical criteria-valid but unexplained data or empirical facts are referred to as anomalous data and are important in changing the explanations of science. When enough data exists, some scientists question existing central theories. 3. Sociological criteria-science does not function in isolation, and scientists do not practice their profession without influence from the outside. 4. Historical criteria- ensures the growth of scientific knowledge has followed a path that clearly establishes correctability.
Do the textbooks you have used either in class or to teach cover all of these topics?