Nature of science course

This page is provided as a resource and conversation starter for other faculty teaching courses in the nature of science (NOS). I take as starting points for the course the Next Generation Science Standards, Rudolph’s (2000) critique of universalist accounts of NOS, Ford’s (2008) concept of a ‘grasp of practice’, and Duschl and Grandy’s (2013) reconceptualization of NOS. While by no means complete, this current iteration of the course has been very well received by both preservice and inservice teachers.  If you have any questions, comments or additional resources, please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Below is a diagram showing the overall framework for the course.  While my first priority is to engage students in the practical work of integrating NOS ideas into their lessons and units, I believe a strong understanding of the theoretical foundations of our current conceptions of NOS for the 6-12 context is necessary for teachers to translate these very complex ideas into the classroom.  Therefore, the course has been designed in two phases.  The first phase focuses on the academic foundations of NOS from the science studies communities.  With these foundations in place, the second phase of the course focuses on translating these understandings to the 6-12 classroom.  Understandings and skills from this course are then integrated into concurrent or future science methods courses that utilize model-based inquiry.

NOS pyramid

Beyond weekly assignments, students are assessed using the following key assignments:

The only required text for the course is:

Grinnell diagram

Other readings are taken largely from:

Here is a previous syllabus for the course.

If you have any ways to improve this course, please don’t hesitate to contact me!