SCI 6150  Science Education: Historical and Philosophical Perspectives 

Summer I 2015 (11 May – 1 Jul) [CRN 22280]

Instructor:                                                                                            Class Meets:

David W. Rudge                                                                                 MW 5:30-8:30 pm

email: david.rudge@wmich.edu                                                           2734 Wood Hall

Office: 3134 Wood Hall                                                                     Phone: 387-2779

Office Hours: Mondays and Wednesdays 4:30-5:30 pm and by appointment

 

Required Texts/Materials: 

DeBoer, George E. (1991) A History of Ideas in Science Education: Implications for

Practice. Teachers College Press: New York. (ISBN: 0-8077-3053-X)

A course pack (Rudge, D.W. (2012) SCI 6150 Science Education: Historical and Philosophical Perspectives) is available from Dollar Bill Copying. To order, visit www.dollarbillcopying.com. The fastest and easiest way to find it is by BIN #, which is how course packs are cataloged. Type "5500-SU15" into the Product Search field.  Be sure to click "Search" as opposed to hitting "Enter"; the function will only work properly if you do this. Your SCI 6150 course pack should be the only item that results. You can also browse by course abbreviation, course number, instructor, or course title. Proceed with your order by completing the shipping and billing fields. Select USPS complimentary shipping for no additional charge. If you have any trouble, the course pack can also be ordered by phone at 877-738-9200. 

 

Recommended Texts/Materials: 

American Association for the Advancement of Science. (1993) Benchmarks for Scientific

Literacy: Project 2061. Oxford University Press: New York.

National Research Council (1996) National Science Education Standards. National Academy

Press: Washington.

Rudolph, John L. (2002) Scientists in the Classroom: The Cold War Reconstruction of

American Science Education. Palgrave: New York. (ISBN: 0-312-29571-5)

Seech, Z. (2000) Writing Philosophy Papers (3rd. edition). Wadsworth Thomson Learning Publishing Co.: Belmont, CA.

 

Course Description:

"This course will familiarize students with the history of science education in the United States, leading up to current national reform efforts. This historical approach will provide a foundation to address curricular and literacy issues as well as the relevance of history and philosophy of those concerns. The course will address two themes or common places of education in a science education context–the social milieu and the curriculum." (WMU Graduate Catalogue)

 

 

 

Course Rationale

This course is intended as an introductory survey course of issues in science education from historical and philosophical perspectives. Our seminar will focus on three central and

interrelated problems in science education:

Š      Why should students learn science (or biology, earth science, chemistry, physics…)?

Š      What does it mean to be “scientifically literate”? (and How would you know?)

Š      How can the (teaching and) learning of science be best promoted?

The course has also been specifically designed to help students refine their abilities to read and write scholarly work.

 

Broad Goals for SCI 6150

Students will:

1)    become familiar with several important issues in science education from historical and

philosophical perspectives;

2)    gain insight into the relevance of discussing these issues for the teaching and learning of

science; and,

3)    critically reflect on the three central questions for our course:

Š      Why should students learn science (or biology, earth science, chemistry, physics…)?

Š      What does it mean to be “scientifically literate”? (and How would you know?)

Š      How can the (teaching and) learning of science be best promoted?

4)    further develop and refine their skills as critical thinkers and writers.

 

Course Objectives for SCI 6150

By the end of this course:

Š      re. Goals 1, 2, and 3, students will read, discuss and critically evaluate two history of science education texts, and also make presentations on a topic of their choosing.

 

Š      re. Goals 3 and 4, students will write reflection essays with reference to additional readings that critically defend a position on each of these questions in general; they will also write a major term paper that addresses these questions with reference to a specific scientific concept or process of the student’s choosing, and revise it in light of constructive criticism.

 

Instructional Methods and Activities

SCI 6150 meets twice a week for 3 hours. Class in general will devoted to critical discussions and presentations of readings from our course texts and journal articles. We will also occasionally view some videos.

 

References and Resources

Course web site: http://homepages.wmich.edu/~rudged/6150.html

 

Policies and Procedures

Instructor Guidelines

 

Student Responsibilities

 

Academic Honesty

You are responsible for making yourself aware of and understanding the policies and procedures in the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs that pertain to Academic Honesty. These policies include cheating, fabrication, falsification and forgery, multiple submission, plagiarism, complicity and computer misuse. [The policies can be found at http://catalog.wmich.edu under Academic Policies, Student Rights and Responsibilities.] If there is reason to believe you have been involved in academic dishonesty, you will be referred to the Office of Student Conduct. You will be given the opportunity to review the charge(s). If you believe you are not responsible, you will have the opportunity for a hearing. You should consult with your instructor if you are uncertain about an issue of academic honesty prior to the submission of an assignment or test.

 

Attendance and participation:

Attendance and participation in class is required of all students. More importantly, the discussions scheduled for class times are an essential part of your professional preparation.

 

Email:

The only email address that should be used for communication between WMU students and WMU faculty and staff is the email address associated with a BroncoNet ID.  This email address typically takes the form "firstname.middleinitial.lastname@wmich.edu."  An example is buster.h.bronco@wmich.edu.  Students cannot automatically forward email from this address to other addresses.  Students can access this email account or get instructions for obtaining a BroncoNet ID at GoWMU.wmich.edu.

 

 

 

Cell phones

Your instructor understands you may have other things going on in your life. But as a matter of courtesy to your classmates and instructor, please set your cell phone to vibrate so as to avoid needlessly disrupting our class.

 

Late Policy

A penalty of 20% will be taken from scores associated with pre-/post- assessment exercises, reflection essays, the term paper proposal, and parts of the term paper submitted after the due date. No credit will be given for items turned in more than one week late or after the end of term. Multiple choice quizzes may not be taken late under any circumstances.

 

Students with Special Needs:

Students with disabilities or other special needs who need special accommodations in this course are invited to share these concerns or requests with the instructor as soon as possible.

 

Course requirements

Students will evaluated on the basis of their performance on a series of written assignments, quizzes and a major project as follows:

 

Name of assignment

Number of points

A. One pre- and one post- assessment exercise (5 pts. each)

10

B. Multiple-choice quizzes (7 total; 20 pts. each)

140

C. Reflection essays (5 total; 30 pts. each)

150

D. Term paper proposal (40 pts.)

40

E. Term paper assignment (5 parts; 100 pts. each)

500

F. Class presentation (60 pts.)

60

TOTAL

900

 

Pre- and post assessment exercises. These exercises will be used to help you identify what you already know about issues associated with scientific literacy and how much you have learned as a result of taking this course. Do NOT consult reference works or the web, as this will compromise their value in helping you identify what you already know, and what you need to learn. There are NO wrong answers– complete and submit for full credit.

 

Multiple-choice quizzes.  After reading chapters from DeBoer’s book (and on two occasions watching a video) you are required to take a short multiple choice instrument. All quizzes are open book, open note.

 

Reflection essays. Five times during the course you are required to write a short reflection essay that responds to a general question about why people should learn science, the role of science education, and how best to reform science teaching. These may involve additional readings provided to you by your instructor. All written assignments should be typed using a 10 point font (Times or Times Roman) and double spaced.

 

Term paper proposal. You are required to turn in a proposal for your term paper project that identifies a specific scientific concept or process you will use for your term paper and the grade level of your students.

 

Term paper assignment. You will work on parts of a term paper assignment throughout the course that requires you to discuss why and how you would teach a scientific concept or process. Your completed term paper will ultimately consist of 5 parts, each of which has a specific due date according to the assignment schedule below. Participants will be provided feedback and the opportunity to revise each part to improve their score, with a complete rewrite of all five parts being due by the end of term.

 

Class presentations will consist of student led discussions of science education research articles chosen with the permission of their instructor. Students should prepare a brief summary (10 minutes max.) and a handout that summarizes the major points brought out as well as identifying questions for critical discussion. Part of your grade will consist of an evaluation of your participation in discussions led by others.

 

Final Grades:

Final grades will be determined by dividing the total number of points the student has accumulated by the end of the term by 9. Letter grades will be assigned in accordance with WMU’s grading rubric as follows:

 

A:        92-100                                                 BA:      88-91

B:        82-87                                                   CB:      78-81

C:        72-77                                                   DC:     68-71

D:        62-67                                                   E:         61 or less

 

Student Evaluations:

This course will be evaluated using the on-line ICES system during the last two weeks of the term, i.e. June 15-30, 2015. You will receive a reminder about this with instructions that will be sent by WMU’s Office of Institutional Effectiveness to your WMU email account. You will complete the evaluation on-line through the GoWMU portal outside of class. Your instructor will not have access to your responses until after final grades are submitted, so please feel free to be candid.

 

Extra Credit Policy:

As noted above, during the last two weeks of class you will receive one or more messages reminding you to fill out an ICES evaluation for this course. Your instructor has the ability to monitor how many students have filled out the on-line form, but not who has filled it out or what their answers are.

 

If 70% or more of all students who take this class complete the ICES student evaluation form for this course, all student grades will be raised by one percentage point.

 


Tentative Schedule

Week

Date

Topic/Reading Assignment

1

May 11

Introduction to Course

Pre-assessment exercise

 

13

Quiz on DeBoer, Preface, Chapters 1 & 2

Term Paper Proposal due

2

18

Quiz on DeBoer, Chapters 3 & 4

Term Paper Part 1 due

 

20

Quiz on DeBoer, Chapters 5 & 6

Reflection Essay 1

3

25

Memorial Day

 

27

Quiz on DeBoer, Chapter 7 & The Sputnik Moment

Term Paper Part 2 due

4

Jun 1

Quiz on DeBoer, Chapter 8 & BSCS

Reflection Essay 2

 

3

Quiz on DeBoer, Chapters 9 & 10

Term Paper Part 3 due

5

 8

Quiz on DeBoer, Chapter 11

Reflection Essay 3

 

10

Student presentation

Term Paper Part 4 due

6

15

Student presentation

Term Paper Part 5 due

 

17

Student presentation

Reflection Essay 4

7

22

Student presentation

Reflection Essay 5

 

24

Student presentation

Post-assessment exercise

8

Jul 1

Rewrite of Term Paper due

 

 


TERM PAPER ASSIGNMENT

 

DESCRIPTION:

            Your assignment is to write a 5 part research paper discussing a scientific concept or process of your choosing that is regarded as something anyone who is scientifically literate should know. You will first write a proposal that identifies the concept you have chosen for approval by your instructor. Once it is approved, Part One of your paper will explain the concept at a level a reasonably intelligent person who does not major in the science could understand and identify (on the basis of independent research) common misconceptions student have with that concept. Part Two will present an argument for why a scientifically literate person must know that concept. Part Three will offer an assessment instrument you could use in your classroom to determine whether your students are proficient in this concept. Part Four will describe a unit plan for how you would teach the concept with a specific audience in mind, with at least one example of a lesson within the unit. Finally Part Five will present an argument for why your instruction, as summarized in Part Four, will facilitate student learning of the concept.

Photos and illustrations are encouraged, but not necessary. As indicated in the example, use a 10 point Times (or Times New Roman) font and double-space throughout. For each part, be sure to provide references for any sources you consult (e.g. websites, biology books) for any information that is not considered common knowledge. Examples of each of these elements

will be made available to you by your instructor.

Paper Proposal (Due W May 13). Submit a proposal that identifies the specific scientific concept or process you will do research on for your term paper [1 page minimum]. Briefly state why you have chosen your specific concept/process, indicate the grade level of your students, and any relevant state or national benchmarks that provide presumptive evidence that it is grade level appropriate and acknowledged as something a scientifically literate person should know. You should also identify at least one research article that discusses misconceptions associated with your chosen concept/process. Use footnotes to provide references for any sources you consult, e.g. national standards documents. Do NOT use the concept of natural selection as this will be used throughout for modeling purposes by your instructor. Only one student may choose a particular scientific concept/process- first come first serve. Be sure to

wait for approval on your term paper proposal from your instructor before proceeding further.

Part One: Explanation of Concept/Process (Due M May 18). Submit an essay that explains your approved scientific concept/process in a manner that is accessible to an intelligent layperson who does not major in the science [2 page minimum]. In your write up include a discussion of common misconceptions students have with regard to your chosen concept/process that is based upon your own independent research. Use footnotes to provide references for any sources you consult (e.g. websites, books, articles) for any information that

is not considered common knowledge.

Part Two: Argument for Why a Scientifically Literate Person Must Know the Concept/Process (Due W May 27). Submit an essay that presents an argument for why a scientifically literate person, regardless of whether he/she majors in the science or plans to teach science, should know your approved scientific concept or process [3 page minimum]. As indicated in the example, anticipate the views of someone who disagrees with you and clarify why you nevertheless think they are mistaken. Use footnotes to provide references for any sources you consult (e.g. websites, books, articles) for any information that is not considered

common knowledge.

Part Three: Assessment Instrument (Due W Jun 3). Submit an instrument you could use in your class to assess whether your students are proficient with regard to the scientific concept/process you have chosen [2 page minimum]. What should they know and be able to do in order to demonstrate their proficiency with the concept? Use footnotes to provide references

for any sources you consult (e.g. websites, articles) for any information that is not considered

common knowledge.

Part Four: Unit Plan (Due W June 10). Briefly provide a context within which you would use the unit, and a short list of your overall learning objectives. Provide one example of a lesson that would feature the specific scientific concept or process you have chosen for the term paper [5 page minimum]. You may presume throughout that your reader is familiar with what you have written in the previous three parts. Use footnotes to provide references for any sources you consult (e.g. websites, books, articles) for any information that is not considered common

knowledge.

Part Five: Argument (Due M June 15). Submit an essay that provides an argument that defends to the reader why, in view of all of the different ways you might have chosen to teach the concept, the way you plan to do so (as indicated in Part Four) is the best way to promote proficiency with regard to the scientific concept/process you have chosen [3 page minimum]. Explicitly consider typical misconceptions children have about the concept/process you have chosen (Part 1) and draw attention to how your lesson will help them overcome these misconceptions. You may presume throughout that your reader is familiar with what you have written in the previous four parts. As always, use footnotes to provide references for any sources you consult (e.g. websites, books, articles) for any information that is not considered

common knowledge.

Revised Term Paper (Due W Jul 1) Within a week after you have turned in each part, your instructor will provide you with a tentative grade for that part and advice on how to improve it. Please resubmit a revised version of the entire term paper (all five parts) at the end of term, regardless of whether you have revised any or all parts. As always, use footnotes to provide references for any sources you consult (e.g. websites, books, articles) for any information that is not considered common knowledge. Additional points will be awarded with reference to the

extent to which the concerns raised by your instructor have been addressed.

NOTE: Your instructor reserves the right to turn back any section of the paper (or the paper as a whole) ungraded if any of the following obtain: (1) The submission contains multiple spelling or grammatical errors; (2) The submission does not meet the minimum page length guidelines, or does so only by the use of altered margins, the use of excessively large images or pictures, etc.; (3) The submission does not include footnotes indicating all references consulted; or (4) The submission does not otherwise follow directions. You are also expected to maintain a back-up copy of anything you submit, if only for the purposes of submitting the revised whole once more at the end of term.