Teaching the Nature of Science, Part II

Submitted by STAO Member, Dr. Anthony Persaud, EdD, MSc

Anthony has been in science since 1993 working in pharmaceuticals, and a science educator since 2006 including as science department head, Instructional Coordinator in Science and Technology, and Seconded Faculty at York University. He is once again a classroom teacher with Peel District School Board. This is part 2 of 2, sharing his doctoral research and current experiences around the Nature of Science.

Teaching the Nature of Science, Part II

In the first part of my blog post, I described my doctoral research into the Nature of Science (NOS). In this part I’ll get into how I’ve been trying to teach it to my secondary school students and share some of their reactions. Research suggests that inquiry, historical, and contemporary case studies can be used to teach different and complementary aspects of NOS understanding[i], particularly when made explicit[ii] and students have time to reflect upon and revisit NOS conceptions, so I now clearly and unambiguously include all three types of activities in every course.

[i] Allchin, D., Andersen, H. M., & Nielsen, K. (2014). Complementary approaches to teaching nature of science: Integrating student inquiry, historical cases, and contemporary cases in classroom practice. Science Education, 98(3), 461-486.

[ii] Price, R., & Perez, K. (2018). Many paths toward discovery: A module for teaching how science works. Journal of College Science Teaching, 47(3), 78-87.

McComas, W., Clough, M., & Nouri, N. (2020). Nature of Science and Classroom Practice: A Review of the Literature with Implications for Effective NOS Instruction. In Nature of Science in Science Instruction (pp. 67-111). Cham: Springer.

Clough, M., Herman, B., & Olson, J. (2020). Preparing Science Teachers to Overcome Common Obstacles and Teach Nature of Science. In Nature of Science in Science Instruction (pp. 239-251). Cham: Springer.

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