The paper aims to provide a review of literature that emphasizes students’ and teachers’ views on the nature of science (NOS) and associated instructional approaches to develop adequate understanding of the NOS that have been employed in different contexts. One hundred and seventy-two (172) studies were selected from ResearchGate, Academia, Google Scholar, and ERIC database from the year 2000 to 2022 and few important documents published before 2000. The paper presents an exploration of NOS aspects and identifies the gaps in the previous researches. The reviewed studies inform us that students have strong misconceptions on some NOS aspects such as relationship between theories and laws, observations, and scientific method, while teachers have strong misconception on relationship between theories and laws. The NOS instructional approaches discussed in reviewed papers have a positive effect in improving the NOS understanding. Reviewed literature suggests that some instructional approaches have positive effect to teach most of targeted NOS aspects such as explicit and reflective approach. In addition, the findings indicate that explicit and reflective instruction has been more documented and tried out into different contexts in which a considerable effect on students’ views on NOS was noted. Despite all efforts put in place, there is still a need for a lot to be done on active instructional approaches and interventions in this regard, particularly in developing countries with emphasis to the Sub-Saharan Africa education context.
The goal of all reform documents in science education is to target scientific literacy. Toward that end, having students understand the nature of science (NOS) is a critical component. As it turns out, the development of NOS conceptions is a cognitive learning outcome. Therefore, an explicit approach needs to be promoted and emphasized in the classrooms to address students’ conceptions of NOS. At the same time, the development of NOS conceptions among learners is context dependent. Consequently, different learning frameworks might influence the NOS conceptions of learners in various ways. There are several frameworks to contextualize NOS instruction in relation to three different contexts: history of science (HOS), scientific inquiry (SI), and socioscientific issues (SSI). As such, the aim of this study was to review studies on NOS instruction, categorize the reviewed studies into different contexts, and investigate the effect of these different contexts on the improvement in students’ conceptions of NOS. As a conclusion, implications for future research and classroom practice related to the explicit teaching about NOS in these contexts were discussed.
The paper reports an empirical study on the relationship between middle school students’ understanding of nature of science (NOS) and their metacognitive awareness. The reconceptualised family resemblance approach to the nature of science (RFN) (Erduran & Dagher, 2014; Kaya & Erduran, 2016) as a holistic framework that covers science as epistemic-cognitive and social system guided the study. A total of 701 students (180 5th, 167 6th, 170 7th, and 184 8th grade) and 3 students from each grade level (in total 12 students) who have low, moderate, high-RFN understanding, and metacognitive awareness levels were interviewed. The data sources are the “RFN Student Questionnaire,” “Metacognitive Awareness Inventory for Children,” and interviews. The data was analyzed with Pearson product-moment and thematic analysis. The results indicated that there is a statistically positive relationship between middle school students’ RFN understanding and their metacognitive awareness. Furthermore, the results of the interviews showed that students’ responses to RFN and metacognitive awareness questions were aligned and compatible. The students with high metacognitive awareness had higher RFN understanding and those with lower metacognitive awareness had lower RFN understanding. This relationship was evident for each grade level student separately as well. The study opens a new study area in terms of the use of metacognitive strategies in RFN-enriched lessons for experimental and causal-comparative designs. The teacher education programs or curriculum studies can consider utilization of metacognitive prompts in NOS teaching.
A major concern in science education is how to help students form science identity to increase their aspiration for STEM careers. Given the key role of experiences in individual’s science identity formation, STEM experiences related to project-based learning (PBL) have received increasing attention in recent years. The purpose of this study was to examine how high school students’ science identity has been affected by the multi-dimensional STEM-PBL experiences, i.e., scientific inquiry, technological application, engineering design, and mathematics processing. Employing two independent questionnaires, we quantitatively investigated the correlation between multi-dimensional STEM-PBL experiences and science identity with 400 high school students (grades 7–12) from a range of public schools in China. Results indicated that the level of students’ engineering design experiences was the lowest compared to the other three dimensions. Regression analysis revealed that three dimensions of STEM experiences, scientific inquiry, technological application, and mathematics processing, were significant and positive predictors of science identity. Engineering design experiences, however, failed to predict science identity.
Physical education in colleges plays an increasingly important role in cultivating high-quality innovative talent. The main factors that affect college students’ approaches to learning physics remain unknown. This study examined the relationships among college engineering students’ epistemic views of physics, conceptions of learning physics, and approaches to learning physics. Three previously validated questionnaires were administered to 278 undergraduate engineering students in China to examine these relationships. Structural equation modeling analysis revealed that students’ epistemic views of physics led to constructivist conceptions of learning physics, i.e., learning physics as increasing knowledge, applying, understanding, and seeing in a new way. The students’ constructivist conceptions of learning physics were also found to be positively associated with deep motive and deep strategy in their approaches to learning physics, while their reproductive conceptions of learning physics, i.e., learning physics by memorizing, testing, calculating, and practicing, were negatively associated with deep motive and deep strategy and positively associated with surface motive and surface strategy. These findings suggest the importance of fostering students’ understanding of physics knowledge and constructivist conceptions of learning physics and de-emphasizing their reproductive conceptions of learning physics, such as memorization, testing, calculation, and practice, to ultimately promote their deep learning approaches. As physics educators understand the relationships among the above three aspects, they emphasize fertilizing students’ constructive conceptions of learning physics and thus benefit the cultivation of innovative talent and promote the rapid development of science and technology in the long run.
Teaching and learning relies on age-appropriate, credible formal (e.g., textbooks, textbook supplements) and informal (e.g., trade-books) curricular texts. Previous research traced American publishers’ self-censorship about human evolution within twentieth-century textbooks. This study, informed by the latest scientific understandings, engaged in content analysis of scientific depictions of evolution, race, (homo)sexuality, and intersex identity. The data pool contained American biology textbooks, trade-books, and curricular supplements published after 1990 (n = 153). Findings revealed age-appropriate, comprehensive evolutionary depictions, yet stark omissions of scientific evidence and arguments challenging white supremacy, cisheteronormativity, and pathologization of racialized, queer, and intersex identities. Most modern biology curricular texts, in other words, disregard scientific examination of the tenets grounding racism, homophobia, and transphobia. Why do most biology curricular resources omit the science controverting prominent pseudoscientific fears? Who determines what is taught? The consequences of curricular omissions are particularly alarming considering the violence and violent threats targeting already-marginalized people.
How is knowledge pertaining to science best transferred to the public in order to bolster support for science-based policy and governance, thereby serving the common good? Herein lies a well-recognized challenge: widespread public support arguably requires a widespread understanding of science itself, but this is naturally undermined by the inherent complexities of the sciences, and by disparities in teaching and popular reporting. A common reaction to this has been to champion educational reform to produce broader scientific literacy, but prevailing conceptions of this, I argue, are misconceived. I consider an account of “knowledge transfer”—a practice whereby science is “transferred” between different contexts of use—to illuminate why some transfers are successful and others are not, and thus, why conventional appeals to scientific literacy are bound to be ineffective in producing public understanding that serves societal wellbeing. As an alternative, principal focus, what is required is a form of philosophical literacy regarding science, amounting to a particular understanding of the claim that “Whatever natural science may be for the specialist, for educational purposes it is knowledge of the conditions of human action” (Dewey, 1916, p. 128).
This paper aimed to examine the changes in the representations of nature of science (NOS) in Chinese senior high school chemistry textbooks under the influence of the new curriculum ideas. The study was conducted based on an analytical framework in which the aspects of NOS, the approaches to address NOS, and the content relation of NOS aspects were involved. Two series of the new and old chemistry textbooks of required course modules were selected as analysis targets. The results revealed that chemistry textbooks paid more attention to classical views of NOS than contemporary views of NOS. The aspects of NOS were unevenly presented in different chapters of textbooks. The new textbooks covered the NOS aspects more comprehensively and frequently than the old ones. Regarding the approaches, the implicit approach was dominant. Compared with old ones, the proportions of the explicit-reflective and historical-explicit-reflective approaches have increased in new textbooks, but were still not high. Lastly, the content relation of NOS aspects were more of content-embedded than content-generic both in new and in old textbooks. At the end of this paper, the implications of the findings and the suggestions for the further studies were discussed.
The norm for pedagogical situations in the twenty-first century in education is digitization. After the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, the use of blended learning models at universities has become crucial. The use of teaching in the classroom, particularly in higher education, enhances student learning. In order to build effective teaching-learning, blended learning places learners in a new learning environment based on technology. The purpose of the current study is to figure out the viability of embracing a blended learning method in learning science course at the secondary school level. The current study has been conducted using a quasi-experimental design. The University of Abuja's Centre for Distance Learning and Continuous Education (CDL & CE) recruited 120 undergraduate students for this study. The Blended Models Achievement Test (BMAT) and Blended Models Retention Test were the instruments used for data gathering (BMRT). The experimental groups' students were instructed using blended learning methods for eight weeks. The three tests, including the pre-test, post-test I, and post-test II, were given to six groups. Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) version 26 was utilized to assess the hypotheses and provide response to the research questions with mean score, standard variation and error, while the inferential statistics utilized related samples t-test at level of significant of 0.05. Results showed a significant difference between the mean pre-and post-test achievement and retention capacity of students who were receiving science instruction through blended learning. The study came to the conclusion that learners' achievement and retention in science are significantly improved by blended learning models. It is recommended that blended learning approaches be utilized for teaching the sciences because they improve the learner's retention and academic performance.
With regard to current controversial public discussions about the credibility of scientific knowledge, it seems particularly important that students possess adequate ideas about the tentativeness of scientific knowledge, which is a key aspect of nature of science. However, international studies show that many pre-service science teachers tend to have naïve conceptions about the tentativeness and these conceptions turn out to be resistant to change. So far, no research was done, on the conceptions of German pre-service chemistry teachers about tentativeness. Therefore, two empirical, qualitative research studies were conducted. The first study with 50 participants was to investigate, which conceptions about tentativeness German pre-service chemistry teachers possess, what the origins of these conceptions are and if they are resistant to change. In a second study with 56 participants, it was examined how a more adequate and functional understanding could be promoted. Data were collected by using different methods, such as open-ended questionnaires and semi-structured interviews. The participants’ views about tentativeness were assigned to different categories. Results show that most participants held inconsistent or only partially informed views on tentativeness. The views turn out to be resistant to change, and many participants are not able to explain their ideas. And if so, their explanations are mostly restricted to scientific theories. Additionally, dealing with tentativeness unsettles some participants. To promote an adequate understanding, new approaches were developed, like the BlackTube activity. Additionally, instructions should focus on the durability of scientific knowledge. Furthermore, a differentiated reflection on different types of scientific knowledge seems necessary.
Despite a decline in sexist language, traditional gender beliefs remain embedded in the scientific literature on reproductive biology and consequently continue to distort knowledge, encumber the learning process, and reinforce gender essentialism. This article analyzes the enduring force of gender stereotypes in Italian middle school science textbooks and a highly popular education film. It identifies a consistent set of stereotypes and assumptions running through textual and visual content regarding fertilization, reproductive anatomy, and human evolution. In addition, the article demonstrates congruence between these materials and students’ understandings of fertilization through words and drawings elicited by a worksheet. Findings are examined within the context of pervasive gender stereotypes in textbooks and journal articles on reproductive biology, science and technology textbooks in general, and schoolbooks across subjects. The study shows that assigning gender traits to sex cells, reproductive systems, and ancestral humans misrepresents human biology, endorses a heteronormative vision of femininity and masculinity, and objectifies girls and women. Removing gendered representations from science textbooks is both more challenging and more urgent compared to other textbooks, given that their association with natural truth shields science textbooks from critical scrutiny as well as challenges to conventional conceptual frameworks.
The paper reports about the outcome of a systematic review of research on family resemblance approach (FRA) to nature of science in (NOS) science education. FRA is a relatively recent perspective on NOS being a system of cognitive-epistemic and social-institutional aspects of science. FRA thus consists of a set of categories such as aims and values, practices, knowledge and social organizations in relation to NOS. Since the introduction of the FRA, there has been increasing interest in investigations about how FRA can be of use in science education both empirically and practically. A journal content analysis was conducted in order to investigate which FRA categories are covered in journal articles and to identify the characteristics of the studies that have used FRA. These characteristics included the target level of education and focus on pre- or in-service teachers. Furthermore, epistemic network analysis of theoretical and empirical papers was conducted to determine the extent to which the studies incorporated various key themes about FRA, such as its transferability to other domains and differentiation of the social-institutional system categories. The findings illustrate an increasing number of empirical studies using FRA in recent years and broad coverage in science education. Although the social-institutional system categories included intraconnections, these were not as strong as those intraconnections among categories within the cognitive-epistemic system. Future research directions for the use of FRA in K-12 science education are discussed.
The family resemblance approach to nature of science is receiving increasing attention by science educators since its inception about a decade ago. Many scholars of science education have contributed and continue to contribute to it not only theoretically but also by applying it empirically to a wide range of areas such as curriculum and textbook analyses, pre-service teacher training, undergraduate teaching and, STEM education. This article aims to develop the family resemblance approach further. We do this in several ways. First, we clarify its foundations in a way to reveal that it provides not only a domain-specific, but at the same time a domain-general conceptualization of nature of science. Second, we expand the structure of science as a social institution by adding a new category to it, i.e., the reward system, and justify it. Third, we show that two of the most common elements of the category “practices,” namely, observation and experimentation, display the character of family resemblance. Then, we explore this for methods and values in science. Finally, we discuss the possibility of a rapprochement between the family resemblance approach and the consensus view.
Understanding how and why science works is a major goal of science education. The aim of this article is to analyze the influence of a research experience in real science contexts, in the thinking and practice of preservice elementary teachers regarding inquiry and nature of science teaching. An in-depth case study which highlights the affordances and shortcomings of the participants’ immersion in real science contexts and in seminars and its impact on participants’ thoughts and practices of nature of science and inquiry will be presented. Interviews, observations, diaries, and videotaped seminars were used for data collection. Our findings suggest that the research experience, as well as moments of reflection, contributed to enhance the relevance of an inquiry-based teaching and teaching about NOS in the participants’ discourse. However, the implementation of these classroom practices was limited and seemingly prevented due to various constraints, namely the initial teacher training, participants’ lack of teaching experience, and those associated with elementary students and the curriculum.
Developing students’ understanding of and about science is an important educational goal. Learning the nature of science (NOS) has been recognized as a critical component of science literacy, affecting how students (our future citizens) make informed decisions. Textbooks can be useful teaching materials if the content presented aligns with curriculum guidelines, but they may not completely satisfy students’ learning needs. The reconceptualized FRA to NOS (RFN) offers a framework for teachers and students seeking to unpack and construct a comprehensive understanding of NOS. The present research analysed how NOS was represented in three chapters addressing magnetism and electricity in three high school textbooks published in South Africa. Using the 11 RFN categories and four levels of information explicitness criteria as analytical tools, we found that scientific practices, scientific knowledge, and social values were the three most frequently used NOS representations. Textbook excerpts representing these three RFN categories at different levels of information explicitness were also discussed in order to show how the target RFN were represented on this topic. Chronological diagrams were employed to denote how NOS representations interacted with one another, as well as reveal the level of information explicitness. Finally, the identified learning goals proposed by the textbooks were analysed to see how the NOS-related content aligned with the learning goals from the RFN perspective.
Reconceptualized Family Resemblance Approach to Nature of Science (RFN) explains science as a cognitive, epistemic, and social institutional system. The aim of this study is to examine the inclusion of Nature of Science (NOS) in the 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th grade Turkish middle school science textbooks. The “content,” “activity,” and “assessment” sections of each science textbook were traced based on RFN categories which are “aims and values (AV),” “scientific practices (SP),” “methods and methodological rules (M),” “scientific knowledge (SK),” and “social institutional systems (SI)” through content analysis. As a result, the total frequency value of the codes regarding RFN categories was found to be 196 in the 5th grade, 548 in the 6th grade, 284 in the 7th grade, and 427 in the 8th grade science textbooks. Most references to NOS were found in the “activity” sections of the textbooks. Although there are some references to NOS in each textbook, some of the RFN categories in the whole textbooks are missing. Furthermore, a consistent progression for the frequency of NOS related keywords was not found throughout the grade levels. In conclusion, there is a need to integrate NOS into science textbooks holistically and in a balanced way to provide a vertical articulation throughout the grade levels.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and adapting the classes urgently to distance learning, directing students’ interest in the course content became challenging. The solution to this challenge emerges through creative pedagogies that integrate the instructional methods with new technologies like augmented reality (AR). Although the use of AR in science education is increasing, the integration of AR into science classes is still naive. The lack of the ability to identify misinformation in the COVID-19 pandemic process has revealed the importance of developing students’ critical thinking skills and argumentation abilities. The purpose of this study was to examine the change in critical thinking skills and argumentation abilities through augmented reality–based argumentation activities in teaching astronomy content. The participants were 79 seventh grade students from a private school. In this case study, the examination of the verbal arguments of students showed that all groups engaged in the argumentation and produced quality arguments. The critical thinking skills of the students developed until the middle of the intervention, and the frequency of using critical thinking skills varied after the middle of the intervention. The findings highlight the role of AR-based argumentation activities in students’ critical thinking skills and argumentation in science education.
Whilst teaching about the nature of science (NOS) is a significant goal of science education, there remains debate about specifying the NOS and appropriate pedagogies and approaches to researching the NOS. A neglected, but conceptually and practically significant, problem is the proliferation of NOS-related learning goals such as NOS beliefs, views, understandings and knowledge. In this theoretical paper, we argue that such goals are often poorly defined, and different goals cohere with different pedagogical and research strategies. We propose a novel three-part taxonomy of NOS learning goals (as NOS beliefs, knowledge and understandings) and contend that different approaches are appropriate for teaching and assessing NOS beliefs, views and knowledge. An NOS belief refers to a positive attitudinal stance towards some proposition that lacks justificatory support or cannot easily be judged true or false. NOS knowledge indicates justified true beliefs related to the NOS. NOS understanding denotes a grasping of how a collection of NOS knowledge is related. The goals vary by the extent to which they can be judged true or false and the degree of justification they require. For NOS beliefs, a range of stances is acceptable; NOS knowledge must be a true and justified belief; in the case of NOS understanding, teaching and assessment should focus on the appreciation of relationships between justified true beliefs. The novel taxonomy brings needed clarity to a confused aspect of NOS research and may lead to the development of NOS pedagogies and assessment tools more precisely targeted to well-defined learning goals.
The central argument of this article is that abduction as a “mode of inference” is a key element in the nature of scientists’ science and should consequently be introduced in school science. Abduction generally understood as generation and selection of hypotheses permits to articulate the classical scientific contexts of discovery and justification and provides educational insights into scientific methodology, this being a particularly important issue in science teaching. However, abductive reasoning has been marginally treated in the philosophy of science until relatively recently; accordingly, we deem it important to perform an “archaeology” of the concept that considers C. S. Peirce’s seminal contributions. We also choose to review contemporary treatments in order to recognise useful classifications to support more meaningful ways of teaching science and the nature of science. An elucidation of the participation of abductive inferences in knowledge construction seems necessary for us to derive conceptual input for the understanding and design of explanations in school science. Some prospective examples of “school scientific abduction” are discussed in the article through the lens of the results of our theoretical analysis.
Modern democratic societies tend to appeal to the authority of science when dealing with important challenges and solving their problems. Nevertheless, distrust in science remains widespread among the public, and, as a result, scientific voices are often ignored or discarded in favour of other perspectives. Though superficially “democratic”, such a demotion of science in fact hinders democratic societies in effectively tackling their problems. Worryingly, some philosophers have provided ammunition to this distrust and scepticism of science. They either portray science as an institution that has unrightfully seized political power, or they claim that science constitutes only one voice among many and that scientists should know their proper place in our societies. As philosophers of science, we believe that it is potentially dangerous to undermine trust in science in this way. Instead, we believe that philosophers should help people to understand why science, even though it is far from perfect, deserves our trust and its special standing in modern societies. In this paper, we outline what such an explanation may look like from a naturalistic and pragmatic perspective, and we discuss the implications for the role of philosophy of science in science education.
Few empirical studies in Science Education have investigated the contributions of inte- grating scientific practices such as argumentation and modelling. In this article, I examine the characteristics of high school students’ argumentative dialogues in different modelling situations. From this, I discuss the influences of modelling and the nature of each situation analysed on the characteristics of the students’ argumentative dialogues. One didactic unit consisting of sets of modelling activities in everyday, scientific and socio-scientific situ- ations was applied in a regular class. The tool that describes argumentative dialogues in science teaching contexts across the varied and interrelated dimensions was applied to high school students’ argumentative dialogues that took place during modelling situations. Data collection (involving audio and video recording plus observations made by the researcher) revealed that students engaged in different argumentative dialogues, which were made up of different types of dialogic and meta-dialogic moves. Most of these moves were rele- vant and also contributed to the construction of knowledge in all modelling situations. The results also show that the nature of the situation can influence specific aspects of students’ argumentation, but such influence does not interfere with the quality of their argumentative dialogues; the argumentative dialogues are connected to persuasion, information sharing and sharing the same idea in all modelling stages; and the modelling influences the stu- dents to engage in quality argumentative dialogues that ultimately contributes to the con- struction of knowledge of different natures. Implications for future research and classroom practice are presented and discussed.
This study aimed to develop a Nature of Science Understandings Questionnaire within Associated Approaches (NoSQ-AA) by discussing “consensus view” of the teaching of nature of science (NoS) in light of critiques and suggestions. The second purpose of this paper was to evaluate pre-service science teachers (PSSTs)’ nature of science understandings by using the developed instrument. Firstly, we examined the NoS approaches that have been proposed as options to the consensus view. We investigated the points at which approaches intersect and diverge from each other. Then, we incorporated the components of associated approaches under Reconceptualized Family Resemblance Approach to NoS (RFN) umbrella, which is the most detailed and developed for use in science education. Secondly, we developed 17 open-ended questions related to various contemporary socioscientific issues for the instrument and a holistic rubric to evaluate the PSST’s NoS understandings. The instrument was applied to sixty-eight 3rd PSSTs. The NoSQ-AA instrument evaluated the functional (reflective-interpretive) understandings of PSSTs on contemporary socioscientific issues rather than the declarative statements about NoS. We conducted consistency analysis considering the coding (86%) and the scoring (92%) of the PSSTs’ responses. The results of the study indicated that PSSTs’ NoS understandings were high; however, they expressed the social-institutional aspect less than cognitive-epistemic aspects of science in their responses. Besides, the categorical analysis of the responses demonstrated that two more categories titled “technology” and “social effects” can be included in associated NoS approaches. The findings indicate that measuring NoS understanding using the NoSQ-AA offers a holistic view of NoS and the relationship between science, technology, and society.
On 25 June 2021, the State Council issued the new Outline of the National Action Scheme for Scientific Literacy for All Chinese Citizens (2020–2035) (Outline of Scientific Literacy). In order to provide reference for its implementation, this study analyzes the achievements and obstacles in the implementation of the old Outline of Scientific Literacy (2006–2010-2020) based on the results of all previous surveys on civic scientific literacy (CSL) in China and from the perspective of science education. The results showed a continued steady growth in CSL, from 1.6 in 2005 to 10.56% in 2020. Specifically, male, urban, and younger adults were more likely to qualify as possessing CSL. Moreover, education level was found to be positively related to CSL. The study also found that in China, the effectiveness of formal science education has been hampered by the long-term division of the arts and sciences, examination-oriented education, the urban–rural gap, and the aging population. In terms of informal education, 37.2% of Chinese citizens visited science museums in 2020, and the Internet plays an increasing important role. Nowadays, Chinese science popularization lacks interaction, with limited opportunities for public engagement. There are deficiencies in both the country’s formal and informal science education, meaning that there is still much room for improvement in the promotion of CSL in China.
The identification and the evaluation of arguments are fundamental elements of critical thinking. However, the explicit promotion of these elements is virtually absent from university science courses. Much of the reason for this is that in most universities, across nearly all disciplines, instructors are required to see the conceptual content coverage of the syllabus as a priority. Moreover, lack of preparation and the fact that critical thinking activities are time-consuming rapidly reduce the interest of many instructors to include them in their courses. Here, we describe the use of a dialogue-based critical thinking classroom scenario (CTCS). The study used a mixed-methods approach with both quantitative and qualitative analyses of questionnaire responses. One hundred and seventeen undergraduates (73 females; 44 males; ages 16–24 years), enrolled in an introductory science course in Colombia, were asked to identify and evaluate arguments regarding a dialogue between two scientists who explore the controversial question of whether or not the concept of race is applicable to humans. It was found that the dialogue-based CTCS provided students with opportunities to identify and evaluate arguments both for and against the question and to make informed decisions about whether or not the concept of race in humans is biologically meaningful. Moreover, analyses of responses to closed-ended and open-ended questions revealed that more than half the participants were able to evaluate arguments in a fair-minded way. Practical implications for the cultivation of critical thinking skills in higher education and further research are discussed.
Despite efforts to help youth form better connections to the natural world, many recent science initiatives (such as the Next Generation Science Standards) privilege laboratory science over field science, thus reinforcing an image of science that is placeless and individual. To better understand the impact of field science on youth, we examined youths’ experiences and participation in field science across two separate research projects, one of which was associated with a school (the “moth project”) and one of which occurred in an informal setting (the “herpetology project”). We argue that field science, which is not given the same attention in NGSS as science derived from laboratory work, might disrupt and expand science teaching and learning. By expand, we mean that field science offers novel opportunities for youth and educators to develop and engage in practices that disrupt persistent sociohistorical narratives of how science work is accomplished, and that emphasize the cultural production of knowledge in a setting by making public the meaning making that is negotiated in a community. Such expanded moments differ from many experiences in which youth and educators expand typical ways of knowing and participating valued across many formal and informal settings.
New developments in the field of biomedicine can have extensive implications for society. To steer research efforts in a responsible direction, biomedical scientists should contribute to a forward-looking ethical, and societal evaluation of new developments. However, the question remains how to equip students sufficiently with the skills they need to contribute to this evaluation. In this paper, we examine how the four dimensions of Responsible Research and Innovation (anticipation, reflexivity, inclusivity, and responsiveness) inform the identification of learning goals and teaching approaches that contribute to developing these skills in biomedical scientists. We suggest that these educational approaches focus on the skills to anticipate intended and unintended outcomes, reflect on the epistemological and moral aspects of research practice, and be inclusive of the variety of voices in society. We argue that if these dimensions are properly integrated into biomedical curricula, they will help students develop the attitudinal aspects necessary for becoming responsive, and prepare them for implementing the dimensions of responsible research into their daily practice. This paper focuses specifically on skills biomedical scientists need for the responsible conduct of research. Therefore, our analysis results, at least in part, in domain-specific recommendations. We invite educators from other disciplines to do the same exercise, as we believe this could lead to tailored educational approaches by which students from various disciplinary backgrounds learn how they each have a role in contributing to socially robust and morally responsible research practice.
Practical work is a distinctive feature of school science and has close associations with scientific experiment and scientific methods as well. In this study, the nature of practical work was examined in the view of the diversity of scientific methods. Based on an analytical framework derived from Brandon’s matrix consisting of four categories of scientific methods, this study was purported to understand how the diversity of scientific methods is represented in practical work in science textbooks. The targets of analysis were various kinds of practical work compiled in nine textbooks of biology, chemistry, and physics used in the stage of junior high school (Grades 7–9) in China. A major finding is that the four categories of scientific methods are distributed discrepantly within each of the three subject-based science textbooks. Another important finding is that non-manipulative parameter measurement (NPM) is the predominant scientific method, whether in physics, chemistry, or biology textbooks. Except for this shared feature, the percentages of the other three are varied across the three science subjects. The results of this study have provided implications for the design of practical work in science textbooks. It is suggested that further studies can be conducted to display the change of the nature of practical work over a period of time and compare the nature of practical work in science textbooks used in different regions and countries in the view of the diversity of scientific methods.
Systemic oppression includes inequitable education that historically does not fully prepare students for comprehensive participation in society. The tools of science education, however, uniquely enable students to explore social inequities as well as the natural world. Thus, a role of education can be to embed social justice in science curricula. Presented here are three case studies that investigate pedagogical methods used by experienced teachers to integrate social justice into upper level high-school biology curricula. Two separate semi-constructed interviews were conducted with participants, along with an analysis of their pedagogical materials. Two main themes are identified and explored: (1) delivery methods (pedagogy) and (2) biological science content. Storytelling and culturally responsive pedagogy were reported to be highly effective in engaging students; using these vehicles for delivery, social justice content can be seamlessly introduced alongside organic evolution. This embedded exploratory multiple-case study serves as an example of how science education can become a tool for student empowerment.
The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11191-021-00287-y.
In this article, we analyze images from the book “Our Friend the Atom,” written by the astrophysicist Heinz Haber in 1957 and developed in the Disney Science Department. In addition to analyzing the work, we investigate its relevance for science education. After the US attack on two Japanese cities with atomic bombs, there was a severance of opinions on nuclear technologies. On one side, it had an association with the destruction arising from the war. On the other, a narrative highlighted the advantages of using nuclear power for developments that would benefit humanity. Haber and Disney’s book aim to explain how such power works and supports its use for the good, despite the danger of destruction. Our goal is to contextualize the book’s content and its visual imagery and identify aspects to contribute to the science curriculum. We summarized the historical elements of the post-war period and Walt Disney’s entertainment approach and political stance. We discuss how it made a dialogue between a scientific concept and the general public through the book. For the matter of this article, we chose to examine one of the figures in the book, which represents through an illustration how chain reactions work to generate atomic power. For such, we followed a four-step methodology proposed by Silva and Neves Em Aberto, 31(103). (2018) to achieve an imagery analysis, giving us an understanding of the visual language contained in the book. It considers its visual choices, as shapes and colors, content, relations that involve the image, and interpretation of the picture as a whole by the reader. We came to understand the book’s importance as scientific literacy was achieved through its illustrations, text, and popularity.
Brazilian journals play an important role in the local scientific scene. Despite its importance, Brazilian scientific production in Physics and Science education needs further articulation regarding the profile and impact of manuscripts. Therefore, our main goal in this paper is to monitor the trends in the Brazilian journals from 2013 to 2019 using scientometric tools. We analysed 3557 papers from 13 Brazilian electronic journals focused on science education and/or physics education, through impact and bibliometric metrics. The journals clustered into four very different groups regarding impact, and the individual time path could be drawn. In addition, an asymmetry could be identified in Brazilian publications, given the concentration of papers in RBEF.
The history and philosophy of science (HPS) plays a special role in education. An elective HPS course on the philosophy of scientific experimentation for young scientists and graduate students of natural science is presented. The course bears a pragmatic character, and its main aims include the development of critical thinking (CT), familiarization with philosophical problems in the relevant areas of knowledge, and the cultivation of a taste for reflective, critical analysis, both individual and group based, which contributes to a deeper understanding of the features of scientific practice in the context of modern complex group cooperation. Students are offered a classical HPS program that included debates on the relationship between empiricism and rationalism, the role of Kant’s transcendental philosophy, modern topics associated with the practical success of rationalism in the emergence of modern natural science, and the theory-ladenness of experimentation. Particular attention during the course is paid to the problems of megascience, the inclusion of which is justified by the specifics of the students’ engagement with science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Emphasis is placed on the structure and typology of the collective subject in the modern educational process as well as in experimental practice. Lessons on the methodology of expert text analysis (META), which are aimed at the development of critical thinking skills and the creation of an interdisciplinary discussion space, are included in the course and relied on the example of the history and philosophy of high-energy physics to motivate professional reflection. META classes included in the course prepare graduate students for teamwork in big science, proto-megascience, and megascience. The course offers practical recommendations that could be applied to students’ own research and could be useful for practitioners.
The present study sheds light on transdisciplinary education through the application of a scoping literature review, as a lack of a comprehensive synthesis in this area is evident. Thus, the overview frames and outlines the scattered research that has been fulfilled until now in this field. As a result, within transdisciplinary education, medical and adolescent themes form the main scopes, while within sustainable transdisciplinary education, pedagogical design, socio-efficiency, and philosophy are the major themes. Furthermore, the present study contributes to the understanding of transdisciplinary education by highlighting the avenues for future research. Consequently, the translation of transdisciplinary teaching practices to comparable languages and an increase of transparency in the application and reporting of the transdisciplinary design steps are suggested.
Epigenetics, the new research field at the cutting edge of biology research, needs to be introduced in biology education. The aim of this review is to support biology teachers and other non-experts to get an overview of the field, as a review in epigenetics has hardly been written for these groups. This review was done by finding documents describing central features of epigenetics, increasing the understanding of epigenetics’ contribution to perspectives in society, and to be a model for a review in a rapidly developing science field. As an example of societal perspectives, the old dispute about “nature” or “nurture” is discussed, epigenetics focusing on the role of “nurture’s” influence on “nature.” Consequently, epigenetics dispels biological determinism. As this review was intended to fill a gap in the literature, a theoretical framework for the construction of the review had to be invented. This was done in an iterative process during the construction of the review. Documents were searched for in the databases of ERIC, Scopus, and Web of Science, peer-reviewed, and had been published by a well-renowned publisher. The search time frame was January 2016 to December 2019, including document types books and book chapters, plus journal articles for ERIC; documents had to be written in English and published as open access. Searches were divided into pre-defined categories based on a newly performed Delphi study. Exemplar studies, which best described each category, are discussed in the light of frontline research. As implications from epigenetics are important for a variety of areas within society, the review is a contribution to the field of sociology of science, aiming to support science education at the very front of science.
In the post-truth era, one challenge facing science education is the circulation of fake
news that distorts the information available for decision-making on issues that have a scientifc basis and are controversial for society. In this work, we aimed at designing a learning environment with the objective of equipping students with skills that allow them to deal with socio-scientifc issues (SSI) in an infodemic context. To this end, we proposed
an educational innovation through design-based research, which was oriented to the treatment of information disseminated in the media and social networks related to COVID19. We divided this information into four major constructs: virus and disease dynamics;
pandemic and environmental crisis; hygiene and protocols; and vaccines, potential solutions, and pharmaceutical industry. On the basis of the activities of the didactic sequence, which included class discussion, interviews with the immediate environment, audiovisual productions, and a fnal plenary, we identifed criteria that students applied to trust or not trust the circulating information and a series of strategies to corroborate the information. In addition, framing COVID-19 as an SSI allowed the discussion of curricular content in science and on sociocultural dimensions that cross the pandemic. Based on the implementation of the teaching–learning sequence, we conclude that the proposed activities favored refection on critical thinking and awareness of the responsibilities they have as potential disseminators and/or generators of information.
It is 157 years since Mendel presented his results on hybridisation in peas to the Brünn Society for Natural Science. The discipline of genetics has dramatically changed since then, with technological advancements revealing multifactorial causation and trait variability. Whilst none of this complexity featured in the discovery of classical genetics, Mendel and his peas still dominate teaching today. Must genetics always start from such a simplistic, determinist perspective? A number of recent studies (e.g. Donovan, 2021; Dougherty, 2010; Jamieson & Radick, 2013) have made the case for emphasising the complexity of genetics from the beginning. In this study, I will examine the origins and fate of two earlier attempts at reform, from the 1970s and 1980s. One was from Steven Rose, a biochemist in London and founder of the British Society for Social Responsibility in Science, who developed a genetics course for distance teaching at the Open University. The other was from Garland Allen, a historian of science and influential writer of biology textbooks, including four editions of Study of Biology . Both tried to depart from the standard start-with-Mendel script, in ways that aimed to help students better appreciate not only the complexities of genetics but also embedding genetics—and genetic knowledge—in society. Both met significant resistance, with concerns varying from the creation of unrealistic demands on students to the time and cost of making large-scale changes to textbooks. In closing, I will suggest that the experiences of Rose and Allen hold valuable lessons for reformers of the genetics curriculum today.
Science museums have demonstrated over time, and through various academic researches, to be a favorable environment to awaken the desire to learn more about scientific content, bringing visitors closer to artifacts and concepts in a different way than any other media can offer. In this research, we investigate how the public interacts with the exhibition in one of the three interactive rooms at Museo Galileo. This study was divided into two parts: the first is a non-participative observational phase, analyzing the visitors’ participation with the exhibition’s models. In this step, we collected data from 208 people. From these data, it was possible to understand the need to study further two teaching models that did not allow interaction: the models that presented Eudoxus’ System and Ptolemy’s System. The second phase was constituted of interviews involving 22 visitors, analyzing the models’ understanding and proposing an improvement in light of ergonomic interaction design. This study serves as a reflection for those who intend to develop scientific models or contemplate designing exhibitions.
Biomedical data science education faces the challenge of preparing students for conducting rigorous research with increasingly complex and large datasets. At the same time, philosophers of science face the challenge of making their expertise accessible for scientists in such a way that it can improve everyday research practice. Here, we investigate the possibility of approaching these challenges together. In current and proposed approaches to biomedical data science education, we identify a dominant focus on only one aspect of conducting scientific research: understanding and using data, research methods, and statistical methods. We argue that this approach cannot solve biomedical data science’s challenge and we propose to shift the focus to four other aspects of conducting research: making and justifying decisions in research design and implementation, explaining their epistemic and non-epistemic effects, balancing varying responsibilities, and reporting scientific research. Attending to these aspects requires learning on different dimensions than solely learning to apply techniques (first dimension). It also requires learning to make choices (second dimension) and to understand the rationale behind choices (third dimension). This could be fostered by integrating philosophical training in biomedical data science education. Furthermore, philosophical training fosters a fourth dimension of learning, namely, understanding the nature of science. In this article, we explain how we identified the five aspects of conducting research and the four dimensions of learning, and why attending to the fourth dimension is essential. We discuss educational approaches to attend to all aspects and dimensions, and present initial design principles to implement these approaches.
Studies on integrated STEM education and the integration of engineering practices into the instruction of science have called for the need to better understand the similarities, differences and interrelations between science and engineering, as well the naïve views often associated with them. The current study contributes to this scholarly work through a systematic examination of the ways in which scientists and engineers are stereotypically described in jokes. An iterative content analysis of 68 different jokes about scientists and engineers was conducted, complemented by quantitative analysis of variants on these jokes (N = 1022), which examined the distribution of stereotypical attributes found across protagonists’ (N = 1449) identities, and the distribution of the professional identity of the protagonists (scientist, engineer, other) across gender. The analysis yielded three thematic clusters of stereotypical attributes: (1) approach to tasks, problems and challenges, (2) awareness of, dealing with, and causing errors and imprecision, and (3) personality and social positioning. While the findings highlight some similarities between the stereotypical descriptions of scientists and engineers in jokes, each cluster has categories that capture specific differences between the stereotypical attributes associated with scientists as compared to engineers. In addition, an underlying perception of engineering as a masculine occupation emerged. The implications for science and STEM education are discussed.
The aim of the research was to study the status of challenges in teaching mathematics online during pandemics and the factors associated with challenges. The study was based on a cross-sectional online survey and 442 mathematics teachers of school level have participated in this research. Mann Whitney and Kruskal Wallis tests were employed to find the significant result and path analysis was used to calculate the effect of socio-demographic characteristics on the challenges in teaching mathematics online. The results indicate that the level of challenges in teaching mathematics online was found to be significantly high. The relationship between the challenges found to be positively significant and the qualification, time of taking online classes, teaching level, and tools used for taking the online class are significant factors to determine the challenges in teaching mathematics online.
Scientific teleological explanations cite end states as causes to account for physical phenomena. Researchers in science education have noted that students can use teleological explanations in ways that are illegitimate, for example, by implying that inanimate objects are acting intentionally. Despite such cases, several examples of legitimate teleological explanation have been described, and the use of the explanatory form in several contexts in biological education has been encouraged. We argue that, in addition to those biological cases, teleological accounts that meet two criteria can be a legitimate and valuable tool in physics education. We propose that teleological accounts are legitimate when, first, the account reflects the cause-and-effect relationships that exist in reality and, second, when the end state has a degree of necessity. Our account is based on Lange’s model of constraint-based causality, in which he argues that phenomena can be explained by reference to constraints, necessary restrictions, for example, physical laws, that limit the behaviour of phenomena. We introduce seven examples of constraint-based teleology in the context of physics education and consider to what extent the two criteria are met in each case and hence their legitimacy. Five potential criticisms of the approach are introduced, discussed, and dismissed. Strategies for using legitimate teleological explanations in the physics classroom are proposed.
This paper investigates rationality and its relationship to trust in science in the context of three proposed spaces of science education: the formal, informal and casual. It begins with the place of science as a trusted institution and its role in formal and informal education across the world. Through educational systems, we have come to trust that students are being educated about science and its trustworthiness. However, formal and informal education spaces are not the only spaces in which individuals and society seek science understanding. While the science education literature has long concerned itself with science education in these spaces, this paper proposes a third space, the casual space. The casual space is decentralised and provides access to a range of norms and explanations about the world. We investigate how each of the formal, informal and casual spaces privileges particular forms of rationality as a means for understanding trust in science in each of these spaces. This paper considers the implications for education’s response to the challenge of equipping students to make rational judgements about science.
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the role of informed decision-making in times of crisis and the need for equipping teachers with the ability to address socioscientific issues in the classroom. In this study, we examine the features of socioscientific reasoning found in preservice elementary teachers’ group discussions on the issue of school reopening during the pandemic. Using socioscientific reasoning and perspective taking as theoretical lenses, we analyzed how the participants constructed and justified arguments about the issue from the perspectives of three stakeholders the Minister of Education, a teacher, and a parent. The analysis revealed the participants’ tendency to reach a premature decision and then cherry-pick evidence supporting the predetermined conclusion. As they examined relevant evidence, they often specified their initial claims by adding conditions to make it less objectionable and more defensible. We also illustrate how they used two different types of evidence, mechanistic and epidemiological, to support their claims about school reopening, and how perspective taking influenced their reasoning processes. Based on these findings, we discuss the potential of the perspective-based approach for supporting elementary teachers’ decision-making about socioscientific issues.
The terms ‘authenticity’ and ‘authentic’ have been used increasingly frequently in educational contexts over the past decades. In science education, authenticity is claimed to be a crucial concept, inter alia, for students’ motivation and interest in science. However, both terms are used, defined and conceptualised in various and ambiguous ways. So far, however, a model to integrate and structure the various conceptualisations, definitions and findings with their implementation in a teaching context is lacking. In this contribution, we introduce such a model, coherently integrating a broad range of work done by previous authors. Meanwhile, the model is flexible enough for future extensions and refinements. As many authors have shown, the concept of authenticity is multidimensional. In the present contribution, we therefore introduce a multidimensional model, explaining each dimension with reference to previous work on authenticity before integrating them as the complete model. We will outline a tool for practitioners and researchers which is based on the introduced model.
Uncertainty is ubiquitous in science, but scientific knowledge is often represented to the public and in educational contexts as certain and immutable. This contrast can foster distrust when scientific knowledge develops in a way that people perceive as a reversals, as we have observed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Drawing on research in statistics, child development, and several studies in science education, we argue that a Bayesian approach can support science learners to make sense of uncertainty. We provide a brief primer on Bayes' theorem and then describe three ways to make Bayesian reasoning practical in K-12 science education contexts. There are a) using principles informed by Bayes' theorem that relate to the nature of knowing and knowledge, b) interacting with a web-based application (or widget-Confidence Updater) that makes the calculations needed to apply Bayes' theorem more practical, and c) adopting strategies for supporting even young learners to engage in Bayesian reasoning. We conclude with directions for future research and sum up how viewing science and scientific knowledge from a Bayesian perspective can build trust in science.
The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s11191-022-00341-3.
Do pre-service teachers have the same beliefs in superstitions and pseudoscience as the members of their generation? We expect so, because they are slightly different in at least two of the variables that explain differences, namely family income and level of studies, and also, normatively, because beliefs among teaching staff appear to be a key matter in the scientific literacy of citizens. In this work, we compare data from the general public of the same age to our sample of 578 pre-service teachers from five Spanish universities, using the same questionnaire. Multivariate regression analysis is then used to study the factors that affect defence of such beliefs and the differences between pre-service teachers and their age group. We have found that, on the contrary to what was expected, beliefs among pre-service teachers are not far from those of their age group in the population at large. Within that relatively homogenous group, a favourable attitude toward pseudoscience and superstition mainly depends on their educational level and basic knowledge of science, but that knowledge probably depends on their spontaneous interest in scientific matters and a prior favourable attitude. These results have implications in training scientific teachers and in the scientific literacy of the population. Thus, we must consider such non-scientific beliefs when designing classroom proposals and when communicating scientific content in social contexts.
Promoting a functional scientific literacy entails preparing people to effectively engage and make decisions regarding real-world socioscientfic issues (SSI) through consideration of the relevant products and processes of science, as well as social, cultural, environmental, and ethical factors. Students can develop a functional scientific literacy through place-based pedagogical approaches focused on real-world SSI that augment formal classroom instruction. This quasi-experimental triangulated mixed-methods study investigated how 50 fourth graders in an intervention group, in comparison to their 79 classmates, developed nature of science (NOS) views through experiencing a place-based Missouri River SSI education Program (MRSIP). Salient themes of the month-long MRSIP included Missouri River human impacts, pallid sturgeon decline and recovery, and how scientists investigate and manage those issues. Our findings demonstrate that the MRSIP participants and their non-participating classroom peers expressed NOS views ranging from those that were largely stereotypical (e.g., science must proceed by a set method in a laboratory) to those that transcended stereotypes (e.g., science proceeds by many methods implemented in various field settings). However, after students participated in the MRSIP, they expressed significantly more sophisticated non-stereotypical views about how scientists research and understand Missouri River SSI and the role science plays in resolving those issues. The comparison group of the MRSIP participating students’ classmates realized no such gains across the same time period. Pedagogical implications include how place-based SSI teaching can leverage young learners’ sense of place and augment their classroom experiences in ways that help them understand NOS and engage local SSI.
Confucianism provides a specific view on the world held by many people living in several Asian societies. It offers views on humans and nature that generally differ from other traditional or Western modern views. The paper presents a systematic analysis of the literature in education with a focus on science education about the connection of Confucianism with education for sustainability. It suggests a framework for how education for sustainability can be operated in the foreground of Confucian societies taking concepts from the international literature into consideration. This critical review provides justification for a stronger reflection about how to include ideas from Confucianism into education for sustainability in the teaching and learning of science. It suggests that Confucian thinking offers a rich and authentic context for science learning in Confucian societies and and also provides a chance to reflect on views of humans, nature, and science in science education in other societies, potentially contributing to the development of more balanced and holistic worldviews.
The widespread misperception of science as a deliverer of irrefutable facts, rather than a deliberative process, is undermining public trust in science. Science education therefore needs to better support students’ understanding of the central role that disputes play in the scientific process. Successfully incorporating scientific disputes into science education is, however, challenging. The aim of this paper is to identify course components and design features that develop undergraduate students’ abilities to write a logically coherent argument that is supported by evidence. First, we assessed student essays from a course that had gone through a major revision aimed at strengthening students’ reasoning skills. When comparing pre- and post-revision essays, we found substantial, and significant, improvements across the assessment criteria. We then elicited oral and written feedback from instructors who taught the course pre- and post-revision. We identified several changes that instructors felt most impacted students’ reasoning skills, most importantly: streamlining of learning outcomes and course content emphasizing argumentation skills; stronger scaffolding and better utilized peer review; and more detailed rubrics that specifically reference learning outcomes and course content. The study illustrates the power of iterative course revisions that incorporate findings from published research and instructors’ reflections on teaching practices as a way to strengthen student learning.