The Association for Science Education


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Contents and Editorial

Issue: December 2017 367

Author: Editor: Geoff Auty

Letter to the Editor

Issue: December 2017 367

Author: Marten Ten Hoor

Science Notes

Issue: December 2017 367

Extract: - Shoots and roots

Science Notes

Issue: December 2017 367

Extract: - Distance–time–speed analysis and too many variables!

Theme editorial: epistemic insight and the power and limitations of science in multidisciplinary areas

Issue: December 2017 367

Author: Berry Billingsley and Mark Hardman

Extract: The June 2017 special issue of School Science Review focused on epistemic insight. Epistemic insight in its broadest sense refers to having the attitudes and understandings that are associated with thinking and working like a scholar. Someone with epistemic insight has a deep understanding of how knowledge works. In the months since, a widening cohort of researchers, practitioners and policy makers have begun to discuss the importance of epistemic insight as a dimension of students’ intellectual development.

Breaking the cycle: interrupting the perpetuation of erroneous ideas about the nature of science in the educational system

Issue: December 2017 367

Author: Keith Chappell

Extract: In the context of what are often highly compartmentalised curriculum requirements, this article considers the cyclical nature of the acquisition and transfer of knowledge in the education system in relation to those questions that transcend individual subjects as set out in traditional curriculum divisions. It also considers the detrimental consequences of this across the curriculum for all subjects and seeks to identify ‘pinch points’ at which interventions might most effectively be introduced to break the cycle of knowledge compartmentalisation, and allow those questions that do not sit simply within a single subject to be handled in a meaningful way. Particular examples from the teaching of genetics are used to illustrate the broader issue that affects science education across all fields. Finally, in seeking to break this cycle of perpetuated errors there are opportunities to offer new modes of thinking about the relationship of science with other ways of thinking that move beyond the simplistic notions of conflict embedded in many discussions, such as those relating to science and religion.

Entrenched compartmentalisation and students' abilities and levels of interest in science

Issue: December 2017 367

Author: Berry Billingsley, Mehdi Nassaji and Manzoorul Abedin

Extract: This article explores the notion that asking and exploring so called ‘big questions’ could potentially increase the diversity and number of students who aspire to work in science and science related careers. The focus is the premise that girls are more interested than boys in the relationships between science and other disciplines. The article also examines the view that the practice of entrenched compartmentalisation is squeezing students’ curiosity and channelling their thinking away from creative activities such as identifying good questions to ask and devising ways to address them. Based on their findings, the authors suggest that entrenched compartmentalisation could be a barrier in schools to students’ intellectual progression and to students’, particularly girls’, interest in science.

Dual reality

Issue: December 2017 367

Author: Matt Pritchard

Extract: Magicians and scientists have a curious relationship, with both conflicting views and common ground. Magicians use natural means to construct supernatural illusions. They exploit surprise and misdirected focus in their tricks. Scientists like to deconstruct and explain marvels. They methodically measure, evaluate and repeat observations. However, at the core of both is a shared sense of wonder and the drive to share that with their audiences.

How scientific is that? A practical guide to discuss the power and limitations of science in secondary schools

Issue: December 2017 367

Author: Martin Coath

Extract: This article describes a workshop designed to help students to ascertain the relative difficulty and amenability to scientific investigation of various questions. Group discussions are used to illustrate that some questions do not have a right answer, which is not a normal expectation in science lessons.

The mystery tubes: teaching pupils about hypothetical modelling

Issue: December 2017 367

Author: Carole Kenrick

Extract: This article recounts the author’s working experience of one method by which pupils’ understanding of the epistemologies of science can be developed, specifically how scientists can develop hypothetical models and test them through simulations. She currently uses this approach for transition lessons with pupils in upper primary or lower secondary school (ages 7–14), but has also used it in the past with pupils aged up to 18 years.

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