Matthew Dial (MA Non-Licensure in Science Education)
CHANGING NATURE OF SCIENCE VIEWS IN UNDERGRADUATE BIOLOGY MAJORS USING CASE STORIES ON THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE
A sophisticated view of the nature of science is essential to a basic understanding of the processes of science. On method for increasing understanding is the use of case stories based upon the history of science. In these case stories science content is explicitly taught along with the tenants of the nature of science accompanied by reflection on the process. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of a history of science genetics case study on the students’ views of the nature of science. The study was conducted during the spring semester in an undergraduate freshman biology course for majors at a medium size public university located in the southeastern part of the United States. A pre/post nature of science test, which included open-ended responses, measured nature of science understanding in the students. The history of science case study included information about Gregory Mendel’s publication, the reception by his contemporaries, the law of independent assortment and the law of segregation, modern chromosomal theory, and the current model of DNA. The case study intervention was taught during the normal class meeting times and was one week in length. Discussion and reflection was a part of the case story. The case story focused on laws and theories. Results indicated that the majority of undergraduate students in the class had naïve views of the nature of science before the intervention. After the intervention, students’ nature of science views did improve somewhat but for significant change, additional case stories would need to be developed. These results showed that the nature of science can and should be incorporated into undergraduate science courses frequently and early in their college careers if students are going to develop an adequate view on how science is done.
Updated: Tuesday, May 1, 2012
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