Research indicates that students and teachers at all grade levels have inadequate understandings of the nature of science, which may be traced to classrooms where the nature of science is taught as a simple, linear, and non-generative process. UC Berkeley and the Museum of Paleontology are responding to this need by developing a freely accessible website that will provide an accurate portrayal of the nature of science, as well as tools for teaching associated concepts. This project has at its heart a public re-engagement with science that begins with teacher preparation. To this end, its immediate goals are to (1) improve teacher understanding of the nature of the scientific enterprise and (2) provide resources and strategies that encourage and enable K-16 teachers to incorporate and reinforce the nature of science throughout their science teaching.
The project will proceed in two phases. Phase I will entail the development of content-oriented areas within the site. This content will be appropriate for teachers themselves and for the general public and will clarify what science is, how it works, and misconceptions about science. Concepts will be illustrated with both historical and modern exemplars. Phase II will see the development of action-oriented areas within the site. This content will support K-16 science teaching and will include a conceptual framework for teaching the nature of science at all grade spans, a searchable database of vetted teaching resources, and strategies for integrating and reinforcing the nature of science within content areas mandated by state and national science standards.
In this endeavor, the project team is aided by the oversight and input of its advisory boards: