In many science classes, students encounter ‘final form’ science (Duschl 1990, 1994) in which scientific knowledge is presented as a rhetoric of conclusions (Schwab 1962). Incorporation of the history of science in modern science classrooms combats this false image of linear science progression. History of science can facilitate student understanding of the nature of science, pique student interest, and expose the cultural and societal constraints in which a science developed, revealing science's ‘human side’ (Matthews 1994). Carefully selected and researched episodes from the history of science illustrate that scientists sometimes chose incorrect hypotheses, misinterpreted data, and argued about data analysis. Our research documented that historical vignettes can hook students' attention, and past controversies can be used to develop students' analysis and argumentation skills before turning class attention to modern controversial issues. Historical graphics also have educational potential, as they reveal the progression of a science and offer alternative vehicles for data interpretation. In the United States, the National Science Education Standards (United States National Research Council 1996) acknowledged the importance of the History and Nature of Science by designating it as one of eight science content strands. However, the new United States Next Generation Science Standards (Achieve 2013) no longer include this strand, although the importance of the nature of science is still emphasized in the science framework (United States National Research Council 2012). Therefore, it is crucial that science education researchers continue to research and implement the history of science via interdisciplinary approaches to ensure its inclusion in United States science classrooms for better student understanding of the nature of science.
The history of science in the science classroom: The past is the key to the future in science education
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Renee M. Clary, James H. Wandersee; The history of science in the science classroom: The past is the key to the future in science education. Earth Sciences History 1 January 2015; 34 (2): 310–332. doi: https://doi.org/10.17704/1944-6187-34.2.310
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