Utilizing the History of Science to Enhance Student Understanding and Engagement: A Compilation of Earth Science Lesson Plans
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AbstractClassroom research has shown that the history of science can be used to enhance student understanding of scientific concepts and processes, as well as the context in which science is explored. Successful methods for incorporating the history of science in to the classroom can also improve student understanding and use of scientific argumentation, as well as scientific literacy. Issues with incorporating history of science into the classroom include teachers’ lack of understanding and a dearth of available materials. The following project includes a review of relevant literature and Earth Science lessons incorporating the history of science into the topics of glaciers, weather maps, absolute dating, continental drift, and mineralogy. The lessons were designed to illustrate a sample of evidence based methods to incorporating the history of science, including the Monk and Osborne conceptual change approach, the story-line approach, the case study approach, argumentation, dialogues, and creative writing. All of these methods have been proven to improve student understanding of the nature of science and/or science concepts. The lessons incorporate important scientific practices, such as: developing and using models, analyzing and interpreting data, using mathematics and computational thinking, engaging in argument from evidence, and obtaining, evaluating and communicating information. As such, the lessons are an example to teachers of how to incorporate history of science into the curriculum without compartmentalizing and sacrificing time in a busy school-year schedule.
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