“We’re losing the interesting stories of science.”
Science educators have been promoting the teaching of science practices, the nature of science, and scientific habits of mind through stories. Newton had tons of failed and odd experiments, but students never learn about these. Instead, they think that Newton was a brilliant mind who experienced groundbreaking success after success. While he was smart and tenacious, a little bit of luck combined with the work of other scientists to produce his theories. Sharing these stories makes science more approachable for all. Research shows that when science is taught with an historical perspective, there is “substantial progress in the pupils’ understanding of the nature of science” (1).
Why didn’t Kathryn Furby’s mother become a scientist? She felt like she wasn’t smart enough. We need to change the face of science so that young students become engaged and interested instead of alienated from the world of science. Everybody is capable of being a scientist – with some hard work. Making science an elitist community goes against the basic tenets of the enterprise: increased discovery of new parts of our world (and beyond), more development of new theories, and the ability for our entire public to make informed decisions about science and scientific policy.
I’m not a male. I don’t wear a lab coat, and I don’t have crazy hair (usually).
I’m a scientist.
Nice to meet you.
(1) Solomon, J., Duveen, J., Scot, L. and McCarthy, S. (1992), Teaching about the nature of science through history: Action research in the classroom. J. Res. Sci. Teach., 29: 409–421. doi: 10.1002/tea.3660290408