ERIC Number: EJ924911
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006-Feb
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 64
"The Use of History of Mechanics in Teaching Motion and Force Units"
Seker, Hayati; Welsh, Laura C.
Science & Education, v15 n1 p55-89 Feb 2006
This paper reports a 4-month study that investigated the effectiveness of curriculum materials incorporating the history of science (HOS) on learning science, understanding the nature of science (NOS), and students' interest in science. With regards to these objectives, three different class contexts were developed with three main types of information in history of science. In the first class context, the similarities between students' alternative ideas and scientific concepts from the HOS were considered in developing teaching materials. In the second class context, the teacher developed discussion sessions on the ways scientists produce scientific knowledge. In the third class context, short stories about scientists' personal lives were used without connection to the concepts of science or NOS. Ninety-one eighth-grade students were randomly assigned to four classes taught by the same science teacher. The concepts in the motion unit and in the force unit were taught. Three of the four classrooms were taught using the contexts provided by the HOS while the fourth class was taught in the same way that the teacher had used in previous years. The effects on student meaningful learning, perceptions of the NOS, and interest in science were evaluated at the beginning, at the middle, and at the end of the study to compare differences between historical class contexts and the Traditional Class. Results of analysis showed that the changes in meaningful learning scores for the first class context were higher than other classes but the differences between classes were not significant. The HOS affected student perceptions of the scientific methods and the role of inference in the process of science. Stories from scientists' personal lives consistently stimulated student interest in science, while discussions of scientific methods without these stories decreased student interest. The positive effects of stories relating scientist' personal life on student interest in science has major importance for the teaching of science. This research also helps to clarify different class contexts which can be provided with different types and uses of historical information.
Descriptors: Scientific Principles, Student Interests, Science Interests, Motion, Literary Genres, Science Teachers, Scientists, Science Instruction, Science Education, Investigations, Story Telling, Grade 8, Discussion (Teaching Technique), Student Attitudes
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Grade 8; Middle Schools; Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A