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Chapter 1: What Is the Nature of Science?

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1 Chapter 1: What Is the Nature of Science?
Teaching Science for All Children An Inquiry Approach This multimedia product and its contents are protected under copyright law. The following are prohibited by law: any public performance or display, including transmission of any image over a network; preparation of any derivative work, including the extraction, in whole or in part, of any images; any rental, lease, or lending of the program.

2 Central concepts: Children’s perceptions of science vary, are influenced by society, and often are inaccurate Considerable improvements in science achievement have been made over the past decade, yet present conditions and majority of teaching practices limit achievement gains for females and minority groups The nature of science is a dynamic human enterprise, not a static construct The nature of science considers a world view, incorporates inquiry processes, and effective lessons include these components. “Whole science” represents the interrelationship of all three components: Attitudes, Processes and Knowledge National Science Education Standards advocate scientific literacy for all learners through a whole science philosophy and teaching approach T 1.0

3 Children’s Perceptions
Science is ... “Real hard. Harder than reading. We aren’t allowed to have it in kindergarten.” (Antonio - K) “After lunch sometimes when there is nothing else to do.” (Shawna, 1st) “Children can’t be scientists until they are older.” (first grader) “When you smoke cigarettes and get cancer it is because of science.” (Nancy, 1st) “We just read a book. I think you get it in junior high....” (William, 3rd) “Children can be scientists and really good ones, too!” (third grader) “It depends on what grade you’re in and who your teacher is.” (Greg, 5th) “Supposed to be about learning how we learn about the world and how to use the scientific method in thinking. I know because my dad is a scientist and he keeps asking me when we’re going to learn that in science. I just tell him that we haven’t gotten to it yet.” (Doreen, 6th) T 1.1

4 Children’s Perceptions, cont.
Draw a scientist, compare to Figure 1.1 and answer: Who are scientists? Is the following True of your drawings? “Scientists are ... ... middle aged white males who wear lab coats and glasses. Their peculiar facial features are indicative of their generally deranged behavior. They work indoors, alone, perhaps underground, surrounded by smoking test tubes and other pieces of technology. An air of secrecy and danger surrounds their work.” T 1.2

5 Achievement (according to NAEP data)
Most states show no improvement for grades 4 & 8 since 1996 (NAEP data) 4th grade achievement gaps for racial groups have decreased; no change for 8th grade No Child Left Behind accused of reducing time spent teaching science (Center on Education Policy) T 1.3

6 Gender (according to NAEP data)
4th Grade average scores have increased for Males and Females Achievement gap expands over time and favors Males T 1.4

7 Race/Ethnicity/Income (according to NAEP data)
Average scores for Proficient level of White learners at all grade levels continues to be higher than Asian, Black, Hispanic, or American Indian peers. Score gap between White learners and Black and Hispanic learners has shrunk since 2000. Students from lower income families show gains T 1.5

8 Effective Teaching and Learning
Key factors, according to teachers, to help all learners: Content that is significant and worthwhile (standards-based). Engaged learning through purposeful interaction. Learning environment - respectful and rigorous. Access for all learners via adjusted instruction. Skillful uses of questioning to enhance conceptualization. Making sense by making intellectual connections. T 1.6

9 The Nature of Science … The Scientific World View:
The world is understandable. Scientific ideas are subject to change. Scientific knowledge is durable & rejects the notion of absolute truth. Science cannot provide the answers to all questions. T 1.7

10 The Nature of Science … Scientific Inquiry:
Science demands evidence achieved through processes. Science is a blend of logic and imagination. Science explains and predicts. Scientists try to identify and avoid bias. Science is not authoritarian. T 1.8

11 The Nature of Science … The Scientific Enterprise:
Science is a complex social activity. Science is organized into content disciplines for specialization. Uses accepted principles of ethics and conduct. Scientists have a social responsibility and participate in public affairs as experts and as citizens. T 1.9

12 What is Science? Science is a concept constructed from human thoughts and actions. Humans are driven to inquiry by our curiosity and our need to know. The ways we seek help us to make the discoveries through the processes of science. Table 1.1 illustrates New Dimensions of Science Content Standards and Outcomes that reveal the practical nature of science for young learners T 1.10

13 Key Components of Science Lessons
Attitudes Processes Knowledge Arranged in a meaningful relationship T 1.11

14 Attitudes Emotional attitudes arise from natural curiosity.
Intellectual attitudes arise from positive learning experiences and require advances in mental development. See Table 1.2 T 1.12

15 Scientific Attitudes T 1.13

16 include Basic Skills such as:
Scientific Processes include Basic Skills such as: Observing Classifying Measuring 22 Reference: Table 1.3 T 1.14

17 include Integrated Skills such as:
Scientific Processes include Integrated Skills such as: Hypothesizing Experimenting Investigating If ... Then ... Reference: Table 1.3 T 1.15

18 Science Knowledge includes: Facts Concepts Principles Theories T 1.16

19 The Nature of Whole Science
Formula from the National Science Education Standards: Whole Science = Attitudes + Processes + Knowledge Whole Science Scientific Literacy T 1.17

20 Aims of Standards & Research-Based Reform
Engage and guide learners; meaningful content Share responsibility for learning with children Adapt the curriculum for authentic learning Assess progress in multiple ways Maintain a science safe environment Use questions to excite, motivate and sustain Support learning for all children T 1.18

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