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Teaching Against the Mystique of Science: Literature Based Approaches in Elementary Teacher Education

June 16, 2012

*This review was written by Jennifer Harned and only uploaded via Jerrid Kruse’s account.

Reference: Hanuscin, D. L., & Lee, M.H. (2007). Teaching Against the Mystique of Science: Literature Based Approaches in Elementary Teacher Education. Annual meeting of the Association for Science Teacher Education. Retrieved from   http://web.missouri.edu/~hanuscind/aste2007lit.pdf

What is Known

  • Science taught in schools is often from reading a textbook.
  • Students leave school thinking science is one way and science is only done by extremely intelligent people.
  • Many teachers don’t have experiences with nature of science in their education.

What this research adds

  • Emphasize the human side of science, introducing real work by real scientists.
  • Showing that scientists are just like us.
  • Confronting their misconceptions and stereotypes.

Implications for practice

A great way to start off the discussion and to see what students think about science and scientists is having them draw a scientist and share in class. By having a classroom discussion about their drawing, you can see the misconceptions of what the students think about science and a scientists. It can show you if students think it is only done alone or in a lab. A great activity that is done in the first week is to have students write a science autobiography to describe their experiences with science and make sense of what science is. This is a great way to incorporate learning about the nature of science along with writing instruction. This is also a great form of assessment for students. Having students draw a scientist in the beginning of the year and the end to see how their thinking about science and scientists have changed can help you see their understanding of the nature of science. Having the students also provide a reflection on how their changing has changed can give you a big insight.

The article discusses how children’s literature can build students understanding of nature of science. By reading books and connecting the books to scientists and the work that scientists do, students can see how scientists are creative, how they work in a lab and outside of a lab, and how they work collaboratively as well.

By posing questions to students during reading, they are able to promote their literature critical thinking skills as well as their science critical thinking skills. Some of the example questions given were “When and where did the scientist live? How did the scientist become interested in doing science? How did the scientist go about his/her investigation? How is what the scientist did like the things you do in science class? How is it different?” All of these questions help promote their comprehension of the text they are reading and build their knowledge of nature of science.

This article provided some great insight on incorporating reading and writing instruction in the elementary classroom. The article also included a list of literature to consider when using in the classroom. With the short time we have with students in the year and the amount of material that is required to cover can be overwhelming, especially for a first year teacher. By incorporating two subject areas together can help cover more material throughout the school year.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. criticalfriendofscienceJoseph Ferguson permalink
    June 16, 2012 10:43 pm

    Could not agree more. NOS needs to integrated into the science curriculum. Students need to understand that science does not function in a vacuum. It is social, political and historical. Developing scientifc literacy is a key part of this process.

  2. Jared permalink
    July 31, 2012 11:13 am

    Elementary teachers have a very difficult job and as much is said about their jobs, their salaries are one of the lowest. This website I visited called parentsandcolleges.com had a list of the lowest paid careers. Check it out:

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