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Nature of Science


Nature of Science NOS Card Exchange Step 1: Obtain 8 cards (that are different from one another). Step 2: Trade cards with classmates in order to amass a better ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Nature of Science

Nature of Science
NOS Card Exchange
  • Step 1 Obtain 8 cards (that are different from
    one another).
  • Step 2 Trade cards with classmates in order to
    amass a better collection of cards. (Your
    collection improves as the cards more accurately
    express your views on science.)

  • Find a partner with similar views and select the
    8 best cards from the 16 that you have
    collectively. (Each of you must contribute at
    least 2 cards.)
  • Make a group of 4 and select the 8 best cards.
  • Using the remaining cards, write a statement
    which describes your groups notion of the Nature
    of Science.

  • What in your view is science? What makes science
    different from other disciplines of inquiry?
  • What is an experiment?
  • Does the development of scientific knowledge
    require experiments?
  • After scientists have developed a scientific
    theory, does the theory every change?
  • Is there a difference between a scientific theory
    and a scientific law?

  • How certain are you about the structure of an
    atom? What specific evidence do you think
    scientists used to determine what an atom looks
  • How certain are scientists about their
    characterization of what a species is? What
    specific evidence do you think scientists used to
    determine what a species is?
  • Does science reflect social and cultural values
    or is it universal?
  • Do scientists employ creativity in their
    investigations? If so where and how?

What is the Nature of Science (NOS)?
  • Science cannot be singularly (and definitively)
    defined because it is interpreted in different
    ways by different people.
  • Methods such as the card sort and NOS surveys
    encourage students to think specifically about
    their views on science.
  • Scientists, science educators philosophers of
    science have proposed some consensus views on
  • Views on NOS describe how the scientific
    enterprise operates.

Consensus Views on NOS
  • Empirically-based
  • Scientific knowledge is based on evidence.
  • Testable
  • Scientific ideas can be theoretically falsified
    through evidentiary tests.
  • Tentative, yet Reliable
  • Scientific ideas can change given new data or new
  • Developmental
  • Scientific ideas are often built on earlier ideas.

Consensus NOS Views
  • Creative
  • Scientists employ creativity in posing questions,
    collecting data, and interpreting data. (What
    does this suggest about The Scientific Method?)
  • Parsimonious
  • Given multiple explanations, scientists tend to
    favor the simplest one that maintains predictive
  • Unified
  • Scientific ideas are consistent across different

Consensus NOS Views
  • Culturally-embedded
  • Scientists scientific ideas are influenced by
    the society from they arise.
  • Theory/Law Distinction
  • Scientific theories are robust, empirically
    supported explanations of natural phenomena.
    Scientific laws are perceived regularities
    regarding the natural world. Therefore, theories
    never become laws. Laws are typically more narrow
    in focus than theories.

Provide examples from the history of science to
support each NOS aspect.
  • Creative
  • Culturally embedded
  • Tentative
  • Developmental
  • Parsimonious
  • Theory/Law distinction

NOS Aspects addressed by the Water-Making Machine
  • Empirical-Testable
  • Creative
  • Tentative
  • Developmental
  • Parsimonious

Empirical NOS
  • Made observations (a form of data collection).
  • Made inferences based on those observations.
  • However, you were not able to manipulate
    variables yourself.

Creative NOS
  • Used creativity in the design of your models.
  • Construction of models important for many areas
    of science
  • Atoms
  • Dinosaurs
  • Earth Structure
  • Ecological Interactions
  • Engineering Applications

Tentative NOS
  • Are you absolutely sure that your model perfectly
    describes the black box mechanisms?
  • Is your model a completely wild guess or is it
    based on some knowledge?

Developmental NOS
  • Individual group models might be modified by
    comparing them against other models.

Parsimonious NOS
  • Is it more likely that the mystery of the
    water-making machine is amazingly complex or
    relatively simple?

NOS Aspects Addressed by the Mystery Cups
  • Empirical-Testable
  • Tentative

Empirical-Testable NOS
  • Collected data while testing different objects.

Tentative NOS
  • Were you able to identify the content of all cups
    using scientific processes?
  • Were you able to confidently determine the
    content of some cups using scientific processes?

Black Box Activities
  • Water-making machine
  • Tubes
  • Coffee can
  • Mystery cups
  • Frankies Brain
  • Simulation of Rutherfords experiment

Scientist Activity (pairs)
  • Use the internet and library resources to
    research a scientist and his/her findings.
  • Background Describe the historical context of
    the work. What was known at the time?
  • Contributions Provide a brief overview of what
    s/he discovered, postulated, etc.
  • Processes Describe how this scientist did
    his/her work. Discuss the nature of his/her
    experiments, observations, inferences, etc.

  • Each pair will provide the class with a brief
    overview of their scientist, his/her discoveries
    his/her methods.
  • Following the presentations, each small group
    will create a concept map for organizing the
    information presented.

  • What can we infer about the scientific enterprise
    based on these findings?

Myths of Science
  • Which of McComas myths should not be myths?
  • How do these myths influence public
    understandings of science?
  • How do science teachers perpetuate these myths?
  • How can science teachers help eliminate these
  • Can you think of other common myths of science
    not enumerated by McComas?