The Nature Of Science

Science Article

NYT Science Essay

I came upon this essay today in the Times here and it really struck a chord for me. I had just been reading the introductory chapter of a textbook that I am using for a science education course and the tone of the chapter had been getting me down. The chapter started off by trumpeting the flip-flop nature of science and then moving forward to note that this inherent character of science was really not a feature of science.

Now I don’t know about you, but when I introduce myself I don’t say things like:

“Hi, I am really flawed, perhaps after meeting me you might see these flaws as a major problem, but really you will get used to it.”

“What’s your name?”

This just seems like a bad way to start a relationship, and books are a relationship. You know right off the back if you are going to get along or not and I have a bad feeling already.

Later while zipping through the Science Times today I felt relieved. Here was an author that understood the nature of science as a hive activity, moving forward by increments that are sometimes hard to see, but are nonetheless still incremental steps forward. The association of science with democracy or at least of science with free speech was a nice connection and I buy it. I think I might start with the article instead of the chapter and get the class going that way.

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25 thoughts on “The Nature Of Science

  1. Please address the questions that we went over in class:

    How do you feel about science?

    Name a scientist

    What frustrates you about science?

    What were your elementary school experiences with science?

    What could you do or do you already do to help your students with science?

  2. Science, I feel is a major part of a child’s education. As mentioned in class yesterday, it really is applied throughout one’s entire life, beginning with just the building blocks of learning the basics, like the four seasons of the year, to each breakthrough in medicine with vaccines and cures for diseases. It is also involved in almost everything we study. In many cases, the suffix “ology” in words (i.e. biology, archaeology) means the scientific study of whatever that subject is. As a major aviation enthusiast, it is fascinating to me to understand the concept of how airplane engines function and use air to propel it and move forward. It’s amazing to understand that something that weighs 200,000 pounds can stay 35,000 feet in the air for hours at a time.

    A scientist that I can always remember learning about in school is Isaac Newton, who is known for theorizing and reporting on gravitational force and the three laws of motion. This scientist focused much of his work on the theory of gravitation force and its effect on the orbit of the planets.

    What is frustrating to me about science is that at times, there aren’t clear and definitive answers. There are many times when watching the news when it is reported of a breakthrough cure/vaccine for an illness, but hasn’t been ‘approved by the FDA’ yet, or is ‘involved in a study’ and needs further research to be determined.

    In elementary school, science definitely was one of my favorite subjects. I enjoyed the science fairs, the projects and the field trips as well. Although my elementary school didn’t have all the most modern and up to date equipment and tools, the teachers stressed the importance of science. Specifically in grades 7 & 8, the group work that was done between our classmates enabled us to share everyone’s ideas and theories about whatever we were working on.

    What I would do to help my students with science is combine a visual, practical and realistic approach to teaching the subject. I’ve always felt that students need to enjoy what they are learning or perhaps, how they are learning it. Not every student is going to love science, but I’d like to open their minds and get them thinking on their own about the topics in class. Maybe one day a week, I’d turn our classroom into an exciting and interesting scientific environment. That’s just an example of how to get them excited about learning the lesson of that day, and it would stay with them because it is something different and fun.

  3. Laura March
    Edu 7136

    Reflection On The Nature of Science

    Science is all around us. Every time we observe or question our environment we are taking part in the scientific process. I can hardly remember my elementary science education. I suppose this is in a large part due to the fact that my elementary school did not have a science lab. We never did experiments and I think the hands on element of an experiment would have captured my interest. I loved science in high school for that exact reason; we did experiments all the time. I took physical science, biology, chemistry and physics.
    Science in many ways has been given a bad image it is viewed by many, as a cold non- emotional fact driven discipline. I agree with Dennis Overbye, the writer of Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy, that Science is actually the opposite. Science is the process of observing, respecting differing opinions and having accountability. The research of science is partially subjective due to the creativity of the scientist. Nothing is set in stone. Science is a self correcting discipline. I know for this reason alone science frustrates many people. It is hard to hear that there is a new treatment that is good for you one day and bad for you the next day. To me the most frustrating thing about science are the new drug treatments. They will tell you to take this drug on a commercial to treat one problem but then warn you it could cause you about a billion side effects or even result in death, so why bother? I have come to accept that most of these drugs will improve as more research is done and that these effects rarely happen to most people.
    The nature of science is a definition that is constantly being revised or updated. Scientific theories and ideas can change depending on new evidence or discoveries. All theories that we have presently are tentative. The nature of science refers to the six characteristics of science. These characteristics basically state that there is no scientific method (they mean no one correct way to go about an experiment), scientific knowledge must be supported by data and research, scientific knowledge is also based on the interpretation of the scientist and science is about observation.
    As teachers we must take advantage of the fact that all students have a curiosity about the world around them. Students should be taught that science theories change and it is not all fact. We must get our students to question and observe. In the textbook chapter one presents us with examples of lessons from both third and fifth grade teachers. All the teachers got their students to observe ants. The observations drove the students to ask questions and want to find answers. As teachers it is our job to make science something that the students can see, understand and can relate to (real life situations). The days of talk n’ chalk are gone, students need to be active participants in their own learning process. Teachers need to differentiate instruction to meet all the different needs and learning styles of their students. Teachers also need to supplement their lessons with books, movies, experiments and manipulatives to help make their students interested in learning. As told in the chapter of our text, setting up the ant farm in the classroom was an excellent way for students to observe, record data and be able to hypothesize about the future behavior of ants.
    Science is a body of knowledge that is constantly changing. We as teachers must not only be familiar with these changes but must update our lessons and teaching. Our lessons must relate to the science standards and be hand-ons and interesting. The textbook and materials we choose must follow our own teaching methodology and beliefs. The most important thing is when teaching we must show our own excitement and interest.

  4. Laura March
    Edu 7136

    Reflection On The Nature of Science
    Science is all around us. Every time we observe or question our environment we are taking part in the scientific process. I can hardly remember my elementary science education. I suppose this is in a large part due to the fact that my elementary school did not have a science lab. We never did experiments and I think the hands on element of an experiment would have captured my interest. I loved science in high school for that exact reason; we did experiments all the time. I took physical science, biology, chemistry and physics.
    Science in many ways has been given a bad image it is viewed by many, as a cold non- emotional fact driven discipline. I agree with Dennis Overbye, the writer of Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy, that Science is actually the opposite. Science is the process of observing, respecting differing opinions and having accountability. The research of science is partially subjective due to the creativity of the scientist. Nothing is set in stone. Science is a self correcting discipline. I know for this reason alone science frustrates many people. It is hard to hear that there is a new treatment that is good for you one day and bad for you the next day. To me the most frustrating thing about science are the new drug treatments. They will tell you to take this drug on a commercial to treat one problem but then warn you it could cause you about a billion side effects or even result in death, so why bother? I have come to accept that most of these drugs will improve as more research is done and that these effects rarely happen to most people.
    The nature of science is a definition that is constantly being revised or updated. Scientific theories and ideas can change depending on new evidence or discoveries. All theories that we have presently are tentative. The nature of science refers to the six characteristics of science. These characteristics basically state that there is no scientific method (they mean no one correct way to go about an experiment), scientific knowledge must be supported by data and research, scientific knowledge is also based on the interpretation of the scientist and science is about observation.
    As teachers we must take advantage of the fact that all students have a curiosity about the world around them. Students should be taught that science theories change and it is not all fact. We must get our students to question and observe. In the textbook chapter one presents us with examples of lessons from both third and fifth grade teachers. All the teachers got their students to observe ants. The observations drove the students to ask questions and want to find answers. As teachers it is our job to make science something that the students can see, understand and can relate to (real life situations). The days of talk n’ chalk are gone, students need to be active participants in their own learning process. Teachers need to differentiate instruction to meet all the different needs and learning styles of their students. Teachers also need to supplement their lessons with books, movies, experiments and manipulatives to help make their students interested in learning. As told in the chapter of our text, setting up the ant farm in the classroom was an excellent way for students to observe, record data and be able to hypothesize about the future behavior of ants.
    Science is a body of knowledge that is constantly changing. We as teachers must not only be familiar with these changes but must update our lessons and teaching. Our lessons must relate to the science standards and be hand-ons and interesting. The textbook and materials we choose must follow our own teaching methodology and beliefs. The most important thing is when teaching we must show our own excitement and interest.

  5. As a student, I never realized how important science was going to be in my life. I enjoyed doing experiments and hands on activities, but if it didn’t interest me, I didn’t care about. When in came to balancing equations, for example, I couldn’t think of a time where I would actually need or use it in my life. Unless my teacher was able to captivate me by doing a fun experiment or letting us explore things that interest us, I didn’t care for science. When we were asked in class to name a scientist, the only two people that came to mind were Einstein and Newton. This just shows how little I know about science and how I never appreciated it in school. Perhaps it’s because I didn’t have many of those teachers who really made me see the importance and amazing things that science has to offer.

    Since I started my masters degree in education, I’ve really began to appreciate subjects that I once had no opinion for as a student. It is my goal for my students to want to learn. When it comes to learning, it’s important that students are not only extrinsically motivated, but intrinsically motivated as well. There are some frustrations I have with science, which I’m sure is common among many other people as well. My biggest frustration with science is that it’s constantly changing. Once you learn something about the world and you finally get it, it suddenly changes. The book explains how at one time, scientists thought that UV light was good for your skin and would especially help with acne problems. Soon thereafter it was found that UV light is actually very harmful to one’s skin and can cause cancer. It can be hard for students to really learn and appreciate science when it’s constantly evolving. It’s up to teachers to explain to students that change in this case is a good thing. Science needs to evolve in order for us to learn new things and for our world to improve. I truly believe that with good teaching, students can love science.

    As a teacher, I hope to help my students see the relevance science has in our everyday life. If it wasn’t for science, people would probably still think the world was flat or that the sun revolves around the earth. Science is also responsible for creating medicines and cures for many diseases that people suffer from. The more advances we have in science, the more we know, and the better our world can be. I hope to captivate my students in the subject of science by focusing on topics that interest them, and give them time to explore on their own. My class will be inquiry based, and hands on activities will be very common. Students cannot really learn and appreciate science by reading from a textbook. I want my students to embrace science, and not shy away from it like I once did.

  6. **How do you feel about science?**

    Though I have less apprehension about science than I do about math, I find myself often frustrated by it. Like a classmate mentioned, you can spend more time looking up definitions of scientific jargon than actually comprehending the matter being discussed!

    Aside from one negative experience with an earth science teacher, I have been blessed to have passionate science teachers during the majority of my k-12 years. I have found that if the teacher is likable and excited about what he/she is teaching, it makes the class more bearable.

    I am genuinely interested in it and hope to learn more this semester.

    **Name a scientist**

    In an effort not to name an “old white guy,” I chose Marie Curie. She was a physicist and chemist who created the theory of radioactivity and discovered two new elements, polonium and radium. In 1903, Curie received the Nobel Prize in physics. Eight years later, in 1911, she won her second Nobel Prize in chemistry. She was the first person to win two. Curie died in 1934 from her exposure to radiation.

    I believe Curie is a notable scientist because she used her work for the greater human good. For example, she used radium to help wounded soldiers during World War I.

    Curie is one of the few female scientists I remember learning about in elementary school. Additionally, I must admit that I could not name -any- minority scientists without doing research first. I doubt this is because of their lack of contributions, but rather society’s focus on Caucasian male achievements.

    **What frustrates you about science?**

    Science is very detail orientated. In an effort to comprehend those details, it is very easy to lose focus of the big picture.

    At times, I find it difficult to connect science to my life. I remember memorizing properties of the three main rock types (igneous, sedimentary and metaphoric) but I could not see how this would be useful to someone who wasn’t considering a career that would draw upon this information.

    I feel like many science courses cram too much information into one semester/quarter. I’d rather spend more time on fewer subtopics than skimming the surface of many topics.

    **What were your elementary school experiences with science?**

    Like many of my classmates, I had very pleasant elementary school experiences with science. I remember going to lab as early as 1st or 2nd grade. One of my more memorable lab experiences was dissecting an octopus and writing my name with its ink.

    We also hatched butterflies and chicks. Another plus was that each student was allowed to bring the chicks home for one weekend. I learned a lot about gestation that year, though I didn’t realize it at the time. I believe that is a sign of a good lesson (when you are not aware that you are learning).

    Another memorable activity was a lesson on the positions of the sun in the sky and its effect on your shadow. We traced our shadows on the blacktop throughout the day to witness the changes.
    All the activities were very hands on, something that is lacking in most high school science classes, which are majority lectures and dull lab experiments.

    **What could you do or do you already do to help your students with science?**

    I would try my hardest to connect science to my students’ lives outside the classroom. If they can make that connection, science will become more worthwhile to them. I would also try to spend less time talking *at* my students and spend more time interacting with them in experiments, demonstrations and group activities. If possible, I would like to re-create many of my elementary school science experiences.
    I believe trips outside the classroom are very important as well. You can bring science to the classroom, but there is a whole world outside to experience (ie: phenomena taking place in its natural setting). That authenticity is hard to recreate, so it has to be witnessed firsthand.

    **Chapter 1: The Nature of Science**

    I was a little surprised when I read “there is no such thing as ‘the scientific method.’” Though I understand the author’s intent, it was a little shocking to read after years and years of being drilled on the importance and structure of the scientific method.

    I found the descriptions of the lesson plans to be very helpful. It is interesting to see how one topic can be handled in many ways. One thing is for sure, no matter how comprehensive you think your lesson is, there is always a better way to do it. All lesson plans are essentially a trial-and-error process and the same lesson might not necessarily work from one class to the next. You have to cater to your students.

    I enjoyed the “societal considerations” section on page 15. I appreciate the fact that the authors acknowledge the fact that what we study is often focused on the “white, Anglo-Saxon male” (16). I think it is important that children are informed about the female and minority contribution to science (and every other content area).

  7. Answers to Questions posed in Class:

    1. How do you feel about science?

    Science to me has always been based on personal interest. If I see something on television or in a movie or read about something in a magazine related to science, I jump on the computer to find out as much information on that particular subject. If something doesn’t interest me, then I try to avoid it (ex. Physics).

    2. Name a Scientist

    Marie Curie

    3. What frustrates you about science?

    Change is what frustrates me about science. An example would be the changes in the solar system. When I was in school, Pluto was a planet. Plain and simple. In 2006, Pluto was de-classified as a planet after it failed to meet specific criteria. After all these years, suddenly we’re supposed to forget that Pluto was a planet. As much as change frustrates me, change is needed in science so that it can progress.

    4. What were your elementary school experiences with science?

    I don’t have many memories of science in elementary school. I briefly remember photosynthesis and magnetism and that’s about it. My school tried to do a science fair but all that entailed was doing a project at home and writing a report about it. Most of my science memories are from middle and high school.

    5. What could you do or do you already do to help your students with science?

    I would try to find out what interests the children first. I believe learning should be about what interests the student. By doing this, the students are fully engaged and are excited to learn. Of course you would need to follow the curriculum for the specific grade, but I believe every teacher can make any subject interesting if they plan the lesson appropriately. A teacher should also make sure they are accommodating each learning style for her students.

    ——————————————

    Review of “Chapter 1: The Nature of Science”

    I really enjoyed reading chapter 1.

    The first thing that struck me was when I read “There is no such thing as the “scientific method.” I was a little taken aback.

    As I stated earlier, I believe teachers should try to teach to what interests the students as demonstrated by the lesson plan examples mentioned in the chapter (regarding the ants). It was very interesting to read how one topic could be taught many different ways. I thought the idea of creating the tube with two strings was a great way to show the nature of science. I will definitely use that in the class.

    I did like how the text mentioned questioning as an inquiry technique. I believe questioning can allow students to think outside the box.

    The “Societal Considerations” was the most interesting section of the teacher. The section mentions gender equality. I completely agree that female role models should be discussed in the classrooms. As we talked about in class, most people associate scientists with nerds with white lab coats. It’s important the students (especially females) see that any one of them can become a scientist.

  8. For most students, science is a subject in school which many times seems too difficult. During the early years of school, science did not seem so difficult for me probably because I could relate more to the concepts learned and understood the language of science. As the years passed however, concepts became more difficult to connect with and the language seemed more and more foreign. Not only did we now have to learn a new language, we also had to remember which formulas applied to which concepts and to solve the formulas. It was then that I started to develop somewhat of a phobia towards the subject and made me become frustrated.
    As a person however I feel that science is an imperative part of our lives. It helps us understand the phenomenon of our everyday lives (why we get sick, why there is day and night etc.). It saddens me however, that not enough attention is given to the subject itself, which is also suggested in the article “Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy”. Growing up, I remember science being taught to me everyday; today, science should be taught a few times a week, but not necessarily everyday. This I think is a disservice to our students, as we show them that science, the topic that gives us explanations, is not so important after all. By creating this environment I also feel that we may be shying away our students from being interested in scientific fields. In so many ways we are slowly growing away from the sciences, even though they are a pivotal part of our lives.
    As our textbook and our class discussions have already pointed out the aforementioned difficulties with science in schools are truly a barrier in both teaching and learning scientific concepts. Knowing how I felt about science as a student, I would never teach science directly from a textbook. I feel that when educators teach any concept directly from a textbook they make it difficult for the students to connect with the topic at hand. Instead I would try to differentiate instruction by including visual aids, relevant literature, charts and diagrams as well as hands-on activities. I would also try to simplify the jargon terms used in textbooks by simplifying the terms, and providing them with language that they can better understand. I would also want to show them the purpose of learning each concept; I feel that if students feel that they have no purpose in knowing something, they probably feel that they do not need to know it. Once again, I would want to do this by trying to relate it to their lives.
    Hopefully as a society, we begin to see the importance and value of science once again. I think a great place to start the love of science is by exposing our students to it, and not merely from a textbook but through exploration as our book suggests, and through allowing our students to ask questions and seek answers. We as teachers can be an integral part to elevating science back to where its supposed to be as the author of the article suggests.

  9. Science is a content area which is governed by laws and theories and it is subjective to some extent. I agree with Denis Overbye’s explanation in the NY TIMES article that “science teaches facts, not values”. I believe this is so true because science is an area that can be proven based on facts, laws, theories, inferences, and inquiries. I also feel that scientists should be given the “freedom” to express and explore new areas because through science there have been many discoveries and our lives (as a society) have changed dearly overtime through science’s contributions. Finally, I like science because it is an area that has a lot of real-life experiences. What is needed is to teach it in a way that is “palatable” for students to understand and relate to from elementary to college level courses.

    NAME A SCIENTIST
    An influential scientist that I think had an awesome discovery was Alexander Fleming. He discovered the penicillin which is a “wonder drug”/antibiotic ; it is effective for treating diseases such as pneumonia, meningitis, diphtheria, gas gangrene, and gonorrhea.

    WHAT FRUSTRATES YOU ABOUT SCIENCE?

    Some areas that frustrate me in science include analysis of empirical data. I am usually frustrated when I have to collect empirical data and analyze it. I find this to be time consuming and tedious. Statistical programs that I use to analyze data are very advanced and they require too much attention. I know that any collected data is vital information but it is just too much for me.
    Another frustration involves cutting funding for cancer prevention, HIV/AIDS care due to budget restraints. These two diseases are devastating and in my opinion I think as citizens we should do all we can to make sure that a cure is found. There are high mortality rates due to lack of access to care for many health conditions not only HIV/AIDS and cancer, and there fore more needs to be done to eradicate these problems. My take on this is that there is money and it should be spent on cost-effective measures which have been scientifically proven to be effective in treatment rather than spending more time in bureaucracy.

    WHAT WERE YOUR ELEMENTARY EXPERIENCES WITH SCIENCE?

    While in elementary school I had terrific science teachers who allowed me and my fellow students to observe, draw inferences, ask questions, explore various areas that we deemed necessary, experiment (in the lab, outside, on field trips, during science symposiums). We had a lot of learning opportunities and most of them were hands-on it built on our creativity and imagination as young learners which are characteristics of the nature of science which stipulates that creativity and hypothesis are a mx of what scientific methodology.

    WHAT COULD YOU DO OR DO YOU ALREADY DO TO HELP YOUR STUDENT WITH SCIENCE?

    In terms of helping my students with science, I look forward to providing learning opportunities as my science teachers did where by my students will explore (“hands on/minds on”), inquire about situations, construct new knowledge and I will also ensure that the lessons I develop will be relevant to my students.

  10. How do I feel about science?

    As I child I would always try to take things apart to see how they worked. I always enjoyed science from an early age. I believe science can be found everywhere in the world around us. I especially enjoyed learning about the earth, the atmosphere and solar system.

    Name a scientist.

    A scientist that I remember learning about in elementary school is Benjamin Franklin. He is known for inquires and experimenting with electricity among various other ideas. This scientist is said to have performed the famous experiment of flying a kite during a thunderstorm, which led to the discovery that lighting and electricity were related in some way.

    What frustrates you about science?

    What frustrates me about science is when one sciencfic theory is discovered and then changed because of new data and research that is discovered. It is frustrating to hear that something is good for you one minute and the next minute it is bad for you.

    What were your elementary school experiences with science?

    In elementary school I enjoyed learning about science and doing science experiments. I remember having to learn about the stars and planets and recreating the solar system in a shoe box. I found the field trips exciting too because we were able to explore science in a different way.

    What could you do or do you already do to help your students with science?

    As a teacher I would help my students understand that science is everywhere. I would try to create lessons that would make the students curious about the subject I was teaching. I would motivate students by incorporating fun activates such as labs and field trips.

  11. 1. How do you feel about science?
    I believe this question is very important, because to me, science is everywhere and everything we do is determined by science and almost everything we own and use is done through some scientific knowledge. For example, why we are here in physics, how we survive in biology, the chemicals around us to cure and make things in chemistry and i could go on and on.
    Science is the reason we find cures for many diseases, if there were no cures for cancer, diabetes or even a simple fever, we would all die from these problems. Science is the reason we have electricity, computers and even the newspapers to know what is going on in our society. It is through science that we are all able to survive.

    2. Name a Scientist.
    One scientist i can clearly remember is Isaac Newton, who formulated the three laws of motion and gravitation and its effects on the orbits of planets.

    3. What fustrates you about science?
    This does not necessarily fustrates me about science, but there is only one question that i wish science could predict and its the future of the universe. If only we could know what tomorrow may be, alot of lives would have been saved and particularly the world would have been a better place.
    However what really fustrates me and i will agree with S Tsisinos is the fact that new methods evolved, new cures are found, but has changed or has never been effect, because of new data and research that scientist developed. This caused alot of us to be sceptic about this world and what is good and what is not.

    4. What were your elementary experience with science?
    I cannot clearly remember my elementary experience with science, but what i can remember is the fact that i was taught about the solar system, planets, clouds, what caused the rain to fall, trees, plants and insects and i enjoyed putting caterpillars in bottles and observed and watch them until they were ready to become butterflies.

    5. What would you do or do you already do to help your students with science?
    Science is fun, many students prefer not to learn science in school, becasue they think its boring. Therefore, i would try to make the class as exciting and fun as possible by using a multimedia approach which would help students to get a hands-on experience in science and technology and learn the concept through hands-on investigation which could help them to relate whatever they learn to their classmates.
    Another thing i would do is to use auditory learning since many students learn by just listening. With that, i will try to explain the concept to them and help them to realize that science is all around us and it is very important. Thus, this will further help them to apply whatever they learn in other classroom activities, as well as outside of the classroom.

  12. How do you feel about science?

    I have always found interest in the basic ways and means of things on Earth. In my elementary school years, I liked, and still like, to watch nature programs about animals, rainforests, earthquakes, energy, etc. I enjoy learning about the world around me and believe that children are inherently curious about our world as well.

    Name a scientist.

    Like Kara, the scientist I initially thought of was Sir Isaac Newton. Sir Isaac Newton has made significant contributions to the development of modern science today and most elementary classrooms today incorporate his historical developments into their lessons.

    What frustrates you about science?

    As mentioned in class, I think what frustrates me most about science is its limitations to answer questions that people today are questioning, (ie., when does life begin). Science is limited by the amount of creativity of the scientist. Isn’t science also limited in other ways? Aren’t we as a nation limiting scientists in many ways for what we believe is for the good of lesser creations (testing of new products on animals, i.e., Makeup testing)? The New York Times article states if there is anything democracy requires and thrives on, it is the willingness to embrace debate and respect one another and the freedom to shun received wisdom [and that] science and democracy have always been twins. Perhaps scientists decline to say when life begins because the public or government will shun them or, perhaps, a means of discovering it is considered unethical by the majority. Weighing the price of scientific answers is dependent on our society.

    What were your elementary school experiences with science?

    My elementary school experiences with science were as I remember great learning experiences. We observed and recorded many changes incurring in plant life and had fun following the cycle of earth around the sun. However, my middle school science teacher was truly loved and appreciated by her students. She established a POSITIVE LEARNING CLIMATE. We were very encouraged to discover information on our own without significant “handholding”. I remember making my scientific perusals with clear directions. Lab sheets for students to record data and answer questions were consistently available. Materials were ready for use by the students: mortars and pestles, graduated cylinders, petri dishes, balances, magnets, Bunsen burners, slides, compasses, etc. We put all kinds of stuff on slides, including our own hair and blood, and, on another occasion, we looked at pond water that the class collected on a trip. She always seemed amazed at our findings and the differences we were able to “stumble upon.” She always rejoiced that a science project actually worked out, as if it miraculously happened, and hadn’t happened in a science classroom in about forty years.

    What could you do or do you already do to help your students with science?

    As I mentioned, I believe children are inherently curious about our world. In science, children can discover the world as they hadn’t known it before. This curiosity will lend to the nature of science as students have opportunities to observe, question, hypothesize, predict, and test . In this way, I would guide students into scientific thinking and scientific experimentation. I hope, as a teacher, to conduct my lessons with zeal and encouragement as my middle school teacher always did.

    Chapter 1: The Nature of Science

    The demonstration the nature of science on page 11 with regard to the oatmeal container was a great way I thought to introduce students to the characteristics of scientific knowledge. Is there a grade level in which this demonstration can be used?

    On another note, with respect to the language of science, the textbook states that broad generalizations and skills are useful in science study so that children do not bite off more than then can chew. However, when get to page 16, the text states that students (albeit minorities) do not elect to take more than the required minimum of science electives as they go on to high school given they have not learned language of science. It seems to me at first glance that there must be a connection between the two statements. Perhaps we are generalizing to much in elementary school so that when students reach the upper grades, they are inundated with new vocabulary with which to learn and find it too hard. When we are teaching first grade about bones, do we call it a leg bone or a femur?

  13. As a science teacher with a science background, I of course feel that science is important. Science has never been a subject that was particularly “easy” for me but it is interesting to me. The learning will always come if the interest is there, although the learning will definitely have to take place over a period of time. It took me a very, very long time to understand even the very basic in chemistry. I was always frustrated by trying to determine how many moles there were in a compound. Little by little I had to learn about how to do it. First there came high school chemistry and then there came AP chemistry and then there was college chemistry and even by then it was hard although definitely not as hard as the first time I had to do it in high school chemistry class. We learn through repetition and through experience.

    In his article Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy, Dennis Overbye says “arguably science is the most successful human activity of all time.” I think that this is true if only for the reason that we, as people have been doing it for as long as we have been around. Even from the time of the caveman people have been experimenting and performing science. When cavemen were experimenting with different rocks trying to determine which would make a better arrowhead, or which rock would cut better, they were learning about the scientific properties of those rocks. People “do” science all the time so that they have a better understanding.

    Most people seem to think that science is the only subject that has difficult jargon. I think that this is the case because most of the jargon for other subjects we learn, especially those subjects in school, has been ingrained into us for so long. In Language Arts, words such as personification, interjection, and apostrophe, I believe are equally as difficult or complicated but no one ever says they don’t understand the concept because of the word that was chosen to describe the concept. In cases such as these we learn the words and the concepts while in elementary and middle school and begin to refine the uses of these concepts as we age. We rarely learn difficult scientific vocabulary at such a young age. Which is a shame because children can absorb and learn so much information at such a young age. Of course I would never have a first grader try to learn and remember what a mitochondria is but shying away from science jargon in everyday life is not beneficial either. In my classes I try to repeat words as often as possible because I know these words were not used over and over again before. Scientific jargon is not the end-all and be-all of understanding science conceptually and yet I feel that many adults say they don’t really understand the concept because they can’t remember the vocabulary or because the vocabulary is too hard.

    Most people have a somewhat basic knowledge of science because of personal experience or from what they have learned in school. While people know that oil and water do not mix and that keeping the freezer door open in the middle of summer won’t keep your kitchen cool they may not know why. There is a difference between knowledge and understanding that I feel many people forget. Yes, you know that water and oil do not mix but do you understand why they don’t. This is the point where people get frustrated with the science part. It’s not an easy thing to learn the “why” of certain concepts. Often times it’s hard to explain it as well, especially if it is a concept that you have to teach to children that you don’t fully understand yourself. Trying to tell a child that oil and water don’t mix because of the polarity of the molecules is not easy if you don’t understand about polarity, or about molecules or about bonds. In order to be a good science teacher you need to know more than just that water and oil don’t mix, you need to understand why.

    One of the most frustrating things to me is not about science itself, but how science is taught. Science is a hard topic to understand. You need a lot of background information to be able to explain even the simplest concept at times. Science is one of the subjects that I feel you need to do a lot of “homework” on if you want to be able to teach it and yet in most school science is taught by someone who has no science background. While I don’t necessarily feel that science must be taught by someone with a science background I do feel that the teacher must make the time to learn about the concept and not just what they give you in the teacher’s edition of the text. The lack of understanding on the teacher’s part is often what leads children to not understand it in class. If you can’t understand it yourself than how are you ever going to be able to explain it to someone else? You would never go into a Language Arts lesson on nouns without knowing what a noun is, without having examples of nouns, and without being able to explain to a child why a noun is a noun and why other words may not be nouns. In science it is the same way, you need to go into the lesson knowing that oil and water don’t mix but also understanding why they don’t mix, why other liquids may mix and why this is so. I do understand that this is not an easy thing to do. I often times don’t understand a topic but that’s when I have to do additional research or ask someone for help.

    I have spent countless hours “learning” along with my students because, while I have a science background, I still don’t know a lot of science. I tell my students that I don’t know everything and that sometimes I have to learn with them. I tell them that if I can I’ll explain concepts to them in more than one way, if I can I will give them demonstrations so they can see concepts in action, if I can I will give them experiments or projects so they can experience concepts first hand, and if I can I will do all three because I believe then they will learn the most if they can experience and see and hear a concept (like I said before we learn through repetition and experience). This is the crux of the differentiated instruction that teachers hear so much about.

    In my early elementary school years science was mainly taught out of a textbook where filling in the answers on a worksheet was considered science. There was of course times when we did “projects” or experiments and this of course did foster a greater love of science in me if only because I wanted to know they why and how of almost everything. In elementary school, science, as with all subjects, is taught at a very basic level. I don’t remember a lot of my elementary school or middle school science experiences mostly because they were very text book oriented. I do remember the experiments and projects and field trips. These are the things that students will remember in the long run. These are the things that I remember.

    Our class text states that we need to use inquiry methods when teaching science. Although I most definitely agree with this I don’t understand how you could teach science without using inquiry based questions. Questions are what drive the concepts in science. ‘Why’ and ‘how’ are questions that I use all the time with my students. Without asking these types of questions one would never know if the students understood the concept. Doing demonstrations and experiments in class will help students learn but you can never know what they have learned until you ask them to explain it to you. After all, if you have learned something well enough you should be able to explain it to someone else so that they understand it too. This is what any teaching is about.

  14. Kerry Wright EDU 7136
    Dr. Gillespie Reaction Paper I

    When I read the article “Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy”, I was so surprise to read the part of the President Obama’s inauguration speech about science. When I listened to the speech I remember themes of the economy, race relations and nationally security. However, after reading this article and the first chapter of our class text, I do see how science as become an integral part of our lives. As teachers, the importance of our understanding of science will be vital for the next generations. Teachers need to teach the importance of science, the role science plays in our everyday life, our health and the existence of our environment.

    I will admit that I was one of those people who did not trust the scientific community. I came from a family that doubted doctors and the medical profession. As an outside observer I was frustrated by the constant changes in medical opinions. I also hated the long difficult words scientist use. I often found these words too difficult to understand.

    I always thought science was black and white with set rules and steps. I have changed my opinion through reading the first chapter of the text and participating in the class lectures. Science is a human endeavor that changes based on present knowledge. This is important for teachers to present this aspect to students. The evolution of science should be appreciated and understood by society. If there was a better understanding of the nature of science, citizens could appreciate the importance of science and use it to better their lives.

    The article “Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy” discussed the heavy weight of science and science exploration. In class our table discussed the sacrifices Gallo made for his beliefs. President Obama’s position about science is important because the freedom to question and explore is needed for society. While science does not have all the answers, the quality of everyone’s life has improved with medical research and other scientific technology.

    As teachers we need to present science in a true and realistic view. This way other generations can appreciate science. How we present science is important and difficult. I liked some of suggestions given in class. Differentiated instruction was an excellent idea Also to find students’ interest and try to incorporate it in science was helpful. Cross curriculum topics also helps with the time constraints. I was struck by how much the lessons outlined in the chapter used literacy techniques, such as Venn diagrams, to teach science. These ideas will be helpful for my second grade class.

    The evolving nature of science is important to understand as a teacher and an individual. From the two classes we had I find this new knowledge about science to be helpful in understanding its nature and significance.

  15. How do you feel about science?
    Science is everywhere. I believe that without science we as a world would not be where we are today. Science has helped with all aspects of our lives with health and technology. It has helped our daily lives run smoother and easier and because of its ongoing progress it has been something that we all forward to seeing and helping us better our future.
    Name a scientist.
    In class coming up with a scientist was a hard because the only person who came to mind was Albert Einstein and I knew that you probably wanted someone other than Albert Einstein. I thought of Marie Curie but could not remember what she did that made her famous. But I did think about Louie Pasteur and his idea of pasteurizing milk.
    What frustrates you about science?
    I was never really a fan of science. One of the things that I did not like was the technical terms and the breakdown of complex things. I always enjoyed how things worked for example our planet, the human body, and of course hands on experiments. But chemistry and physics were not for me.
    What were your elementary school experiences with science?
    In elementary school, science was a blur. I remember some of it when I was in middle school. I rarely participated and I barely passed the Earth Science Regents. Even when I was in high school I did not do well in science. It’s funny because I now enjoy teaching science to my elementary students.
    What could you do or do you already do to help your students with science?
    One of the things I read in chapter one that I liked and would like to incorporate into my classroom is to teach what they are interested in. I admit that it is hard to steer yourself away from the curriculum but I do understand that when you are interested in something you want to learn more about it. That is what I would like my students to be, interested and wanting to learn more.

  16. 1. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT SCIENCE?

    To be honest science gives me mixed feelings especially when it comes to academics and school. Science is one of those subjects in school that needs to be taught properly in order to be positive experience for students and something they will remember. Science is simply the study of the world around us, both physical and natural using observations and experiments. If someone wanted my opinion, based on that definition science is the most important subject school has to offer. We as teachers and future teachers are in many ways scientists ourselves in the way we carefully observe our students and based on those observations, we make our assessments. Many times our lessons are experiments and based on the results, we refine our lessons to make them more effective. So, if science is so important to teach in school, the way we teach it is all the more important. It needs to be creative, hands-on, and a unique experience that students will never forget.

    2. NAME A SCIENTIST

    Galileo was an Italian physist and astronomer. He initiated the scientific revolution. His main contributions were in astronomy, the use of the telescope in observation, and discovery of sunspots. In physics he discovered the laws of falling bodies, the motions of projectiles.

    3. WHAT FRUSTRATES YOU ABOUT SCIENCE?

    What frustrates me the most about science is the consistent change. While I am well aware that EVERYTHING changes over time, it is just an idea that is very frustrating to accept. It seems as though so much hard work, experimentation, and observation goes into many proven theories, cures, etc. Therefore, if I get frustrated reading about all these potential scientific theories, of what might be true, I can’t imagine what the scientists actually performing these studies go through over time constantly waiting for a variable to change to redo an entire experiment.

    4. WHAT WERE YOUR ELEMENTARY SCHOOL EXPERIENCES WITH SCIENCE?

    I remember having some very positive and fun experiences with science in elementary school. Many of the experiences I remember dealt with playing with fire and other unknown substances that I wouldn’t be aloud to play with at home. In addition, the field trips were very memorable as well. We would explore the beach habitat, take trips to museums, and my all time favorite, the planetarium. I believe children learn the most from these first hand experiences, as well as, with hands on manipulatives.

    WHAT COULD YOU DO OR DO YOU DO TO HELP YOUR STUDENTS WITH SCIENCE?

    As stated above in question four, I firmly believe in manipulatives and first hand experiences especially in the subject area of science. When I do have the opportunity to teach I will also try my best to relate the content we are learning to real life and the students personal everyday experiences and observations. The author of our text used a perfect example which talked about ants. Ants are something students come in contact with daily and are also very familiar to them. So having that foundation and trying to build on that with experimentation and observation is a good strategy to use.

    In chapter 1 of our text, the one thing that really disturbed me was the statement that there is no such thing as “The Scientific method”. If now at this point in my college career I am finding out that this method doesn’t exist, then what was the purpose of ALL of the science classes I have taken to this point? This is exactly why science is so damn frustrating. What has changed since my high school science classes that has made certain scientists believe that there is no such thing? Why can’t scientists make up their minds? The scientific method has been the foundation of much of everything I have learned throughout grade school. Is this author telling me there is a better OR new foundation that I should know about?

    During our class discussion I was surprised to find that many of my peers have had bad science experiences. This was due to bad teachers, lack of hands-on material, etc. This is proof of how important it is to individualize instruction and teach to your students strengths whether it be visual tactual, or kinesthetic. Science is a subject where most teachers can let their imaginations run wild with ideas on how to make instruction more meaningful for their students. This is why I was taken back by the lack of enthusiasm my peers have for science.

    As far as the article, “Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy is concerned, I definitely found it interesting and relavant for this particular period of time. I also thought Prof. Gillespie did a great job of finding material to supplement our text, which deals with our daily lives in this country. The author provided a good description of how science is so very important to our changing society as we know it today and has been as important since anyone can remember. The author also states that science, today, is put on a pedastal but for the wrong reasons, which is something I can agree with. Science doesn’t always give us that one distinct answer we are looking for, but sometimes it sends in the right path for the future and at that point we build on the knowledge we attain through time.

  17. How do you feel about science?
    Science is everywhere. I believe that without science we as a world would not be where we are today. Science has helped with all aspects of our lives with health and technology. It has helped our daily lives run smoother and easier and because of its ongoing progress it has been something that we all forward to seeing and helping us better our future.
    Name a scientist.
    In class coming up with a scientist was a hard because the only person who came to mind was Albert Einstein and I knew that you probably wanted someone other than Albert Einstein. I thought of Marie Curie but could not remember what she did that made her famous. But I did think about Louie Pasteur and his idea of pasteurizing milk.
    What frustrates you about science?
    I was never really a fan of science. One of the things that I did not like was the technical terms and the breakdown of complex things. I always enjoyed how things worked for example our planet, the human body, and of course hands on experiments. But chemistry and physics were not for me.
    What were your elementary school experiences with science?
    In elementary school, science was a blur. I remember some of it when I was in middle school. I rarely participated and I barely passed the Earth Science Regents. Even when I was in high school I did not do well in science. It’s funny because I now enjoy teaching science to my elementary students.
    What could you do or do you already do to help your students with science?
    One of the things I read in chapter one that I liked and would like to incorporate into my classroom is to teach what they are interested in. I admit that it is hard to steer yourself away from the curriculum but I do understand that when you are interested in something you want to learn more about it. That is what I would like my students to be, interested and wanting to learn more.

  18. Chapter One

    After reading chapter one the first thing that caught my attention was the part about the “scientific method” not being used anymore. Being a Psychology Major as an undergraduate student required me to use the “scientific method” in almost all my course work. I was shocking to read this at first but this is what science in all about, changing and improving on ideas of the past. Another section that I liked in chapter one was the idea of creating an ant farm that the students could observe in class. I feel that is a great way to show the nature of science to students.

    “Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy”,

    While reading the article “Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy”, I started to see how science has become part of our everyday lives. I agree with the author’s views on how science is an important part of our changing society and how democracy and science are connected. The author also stated that science, today, is put on a “pedestal” but for the wrong reasons. Science doesn’t always give us the correct answer; however I believe that we learn through trail and error.

  19. After reading chapter one the first thing that caught my attention was the part about the “scientific method” not being used anymore. Being a Psychology Major as an undergraduate student required me to use the “scientific method” in almost all my course work. I was shocking to read this at first but this is what science in all about, changing and improving on ideas of the past. Another section that I liked in chapter one was the idea of creating an ant farm that the students could observe in class. I feel that is a great way to show the nature of science to students.

    While reading the article “Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy”, I started to see how science has become part of our everyday lives. I agree with the author’s views on how science is an important part of our changing society and how democracy and science are connected. The author also stated that science, today, is put on a “pedestal” but for the wrong reasons. Science doesn’t always give us the correct answer; however I believe that we learn through trail and error.

  20. After reading chapter one the first thing that caught my attention was the part about the “scientific method” not being used anymore. Being a Psychology Major as an undergraduate student required me to use the “scientific method” in almost all my course work. I was shocking to read this at first but this is what science in all about, changing and improving on ideas of the past. Another section that I liked in chapter one was the idea of creating an ant farm that the students could observe in class. I feel that is a great way to show the nature of science to students.
    While reading the article “Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy”, I started to see how science has become part of our everyday lives. I agree with the author’s views on how science is an important part of our changing society and how democracy and science are connected. The author also stated that science, today, is put on a “pedestal” but for the wrong reasons. Science doesn’t always give us the correct answer; however I believe that we learn through trail and error.

  21. After reading chapter one the first thing that caught my attention was the part about the “scientific method” not being used anymore. Being a Psychology Major as an undergraduate student required me to use the “scientific method” in almost all my course work. I was shocking to read this at first but this is what science in all about, changing and improving on ideas of the past. Another section that I liked in chapter one was the idea of creating an ant farm that the students could observe in class. I feel that is a great way to show the nature of science to students.
    While reading the article “Elevating Science, Elevating Democracy”, I started to see how science has become part of our everyday lives. I agree with the author’s views on how science is an important part of our changing society and how democracy and science are connected. The author also stated that science, today, is put on a “pedestal” but for the wrong reasons. Science doesn’t always give us the correct answer; however I believe that we learn through trail and error.

  22. How do you feel about science?
    Science is something that is everywhere and crucial to our everyday changing environment. It is the effort to discover and amplify human understanding of how physical reality works in our world. Science is one of those subjects that you keep trying to test different hypothesis until you find the answer you are satisfied with. Science never gives us that one right answer; which makes it different from all the other subjects. In my opinion, science holds a highly respectable and successful place in our society.

    Name a scientist
    One scientist that particularly stands out in my mind is Alexander Graham Bell. When I was a kid I thought he had the coolest invention ever, the telephone. His success with the telephone came as a direct result of his attempts to advance the telegraph. When Bell began experimenting with electrical signals, the telegraph had been an established means of communication for about thirty years. Although it was highly successful, the telegraph was limited to receiving and sending one message at a time. Alexander Bell’s broad knowledge of the nature of sound and his understanding of music enabled him to send out various messages over the same wire at the same time.

    What frustrates you about science?
    What frustrates me the most about science are all the formulas and technical terms you have to memorize. As I got older, science became the hardest subject for me to understand. In high school, I had teachers who told my class to go home and read a new chapter for homework. We would come into class the next day doing worksheets on the formulas or concepts we just read about. If we understood it great, if not we failed the test. It is hard for students to learn and have a passion for science when you don’t have teachers who appreciate teaching it.

    What were your elementary school experiences with science?
    As a kid, science was always an exciting subject for me. Unlike other areas, science was different in that we did not have to listen to a teacher lecturing and copy notes off the board the whole time. We actually got to do hands on work like experiments and assignments in groups. One of my favorite memories of science was when I was in sixth grade and we dissected a cow’s heart. This was disgusting but so interesting at the same time. We put on gloves and located all the chambers and made a diagram of the heart. My elementary school was very big on science fairs, experiments and field trips. This is probably why I appreciated science a lot more in my younger years than any other time in my life.

    What could you do to help your students with science?
    As a future educator, I feel children should never be solely limited to encyclopedias or textbooks. With all the advances in technology today, it only makes sense to integrate it into our school environment as much as possible. This could be done by using computers, video presentations and power point in the classroom. What I would do to help my students with science is make it interesting and fun for them. When students are impressed by what they are being taught it helps them learn better as well as keeps their attention span going. Children have an extensive curiosity, it is important to remind them why they are doing what they are doing. Making a hypothesis, observing hands on materials and experimenting allows students to take steps in understanding and seeing the purpose of what they are doing. This not only helps integrate science into the classroom but it meets all the different needs and learning styles of students. It is important as teachers to stay up to date on science current events as well as modifying our lessons accordingly as science changes.

  23. Science is a huge part of our everyday lives, and every time we explore, observe, or even explain an answer to a question we have experienced the scientific process. Science is an important part of a student’s learning process. However, teachers do not spend enough time on the subject. May it be the lack of space, materials, or time a teacher must incorporate the subject into everyday activities. I believe that if my teachers did this when I was in elementary school, I would have had a better appreciation for the subject.

    Science can be so frustrating because it is forever changing. Besides that, there could be more than one answer to a scientific question depending on what was happened during the experiment. I am the type of person who needs a concrete or definite explanation on why something happens. I hate to hear it may be this, or it could be that. This is probably why I lose interest in the subject, and prefer to do Math.

    I don’t think I had a good Science experience in elementary school because I don’t even remember learning it. I only remember this one project I had to do in the fourth grade. I had to create a diagram of the phases of the moon using yellow and blue play-doe that I made from scratch. I wish I had a better experience because I would probably feel more relaxed teaching to my students.

    Thank goodness I am not the Science teacher for my fifth grade class. Since I had a horrible experience with Science when I was younger, I really don’t feel comfortable teaching it to my students. Hopefully by the end of this class I will feel more confident with teaching this subject. So, what I would do to help my students with Science is build my confidence in the subject, and try to feel more comfortable will teaching the subject.

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