"A Scientist Has Many Things to Do:" EPO Strategies that Focus on the Processes of Science

Astronomy and Astrophysics – Astronomy

Scientific paper

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Scientific paper

Scientists' effort in education and public outreach (EPO) is best invested in sharing their expertise on the nature and processes of science - the "understandings of science" that are emphasized in the National Science Education Standards, but that are difficult to teach and poorly supported by existing curricular materials. These understandings address the intellectual process of science - posing questions, gathering and interpreting evidence - and the social process of science as a human endeavor for building knowledge. We share several ways of incorporating concepts about the nature and processes of science into EP/O activities and making them focal points in their own right. Hands-on activities used at science festivals and in classrooms and professional development workshops illustrate key scientific thinking skills such as observing, classifying, making predictions, and drawing inferences. A more comprehensive approach is exemplified by Upward and Outward: Scientific Inquiry on the Tibetan Plateau, a 20-minute educational documentary film for school science classrooms and teacher professional development. The film portrays the intellectual and human processes of science through an inside view of a research project; classroom assessments offer evidence of its impact on students' ideas about these processes.

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