ARTICLES: History of Science in Science Education

From the International Journal of Science Education:

Making Science Vivid: Using a historical episodes map

Chen-Yung Linab; Jung-Hui Chengb; Wen-Hua Changab

Abstract Many have argued that the inclusion of the history of science in science teaching might promote an understanding of the nature of science as well as the attitudes toward science. However, its inclusion in science teaching may not have the desired effect due to the limited coverage it receives in textbooks and the limited time available for teaching. A historical episodes map (HEM) is thus developed with four storylines and more than 20 events related to the history of science and is designed to fit in with regular teaching topics. A total of 329 students in Grade 7 were involved in the experimental group and the control group. The control group was taught using the textbook only, while the experimental group was also taught using the textbook plus HEM materials and associated discussion. The intervention of such teaching lasted for a month and a half. The findings reveal that the exposure of students to HEM materials did promote the students’ understanding of the nature of science as well as their attitudes toward science.

Also, a review of Teaching and Learning about Science:

This substantial single-author volume is concerned with the ‘scientific practice’ element of education for scientific literacy at school level. The justification made is based on two assertions: first, that a focus on the history and philosophy of science
(HPS) in the curriculum will have a strong motivational effect on student learning; second, that such a focus is essential if science education is to contribute to the political education of students.

The chosen focus, on formal science education at school level, has inevitably led to other areas being neglected. Given that people now live to over 80 years, at least in the more economically developed world, that few have any real contact with
science education after the age of 16 years or so, and that science and technology advance constantly, it is to be regretted that the non-specialist science education of adults is not addressed. Also, given the extremely slow pace of the reform of the
school science curriculum and the evident distaste of non-specialist students for what is currently provided for them, the value of informal sources of science education might have been recognised. Lastly, as few readers will have the time to
read right through this thought-provoking volume, at least initially, an index would have been very useful. But these comments should not detract from Derek Hodson’s valuable contribution to science education.

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