Lesson Plan: The nature of science

Secondary School Science Teaching Methods

Adam Johnston & Sharon Ohlhorst

DUE: Wednesday, October 20th

By now you have seen and described for yourself the way in which the nature of science (NOS) is fundamental to science literacy. Your question now is to make clear how you can teach NOS in your own classroom.  Although the NOS is something which should be thread throughout everything you do in the science classroom, it is also important to give it explicit attention.

Design a lesson in which students will learn about how science is a specific and distinct way of knowing.  The lesson should be something which you can actually use in your future classroom, so you should make the specific NOS aspect something that you can use in your classroom and something that you feel is of particular value for your students.

Your lesson could take on a wide variety of directions, depending on how you want to incorporate it into the grand scheme of your class and what specific aspect of the NOS that you want to emphasize.  You could design a lesson on pseudoscience, the potential conflict between science and religion in an evolution unit, how science changes via a historical inquiry, something that specifically shows the demarcation of science from non-science, etc.  The best place to guide your thinking in finding an objective for this lesson may be from the ILO’s in the Utah State Core.

As you design the lesson, keep in mind that it will be assessed according to the following criteria:

bullet How well does the lesson explicitly address a concept regarding the nature of science?
bullet Is there a clear plan of how your students’ understandings will be assessed?
bullet Is this lesson something which fits into the grander context of a science classroom?  (In other words, is it explicitly incorporated into a standard within your core curriculum?)
bullet Can your lesson be understood by another teacher who doesn’t know anything about you or your classroom?  Is it clear and coherent?
bullet A cover letter/essay should be included that explicitly describes the goal of your lesson, why you’ve designed the lesson the way you did, and how you will know if your students “get it”.  (Of course, all of this will be in your lesson as well, but this will give you the opportunity to be especially clear.)

You will have 10-15 minutes to teach some part of your lesson.  You may elect to teach only a portion of the entire lesson – just enough to give your classmates a good taste of what your lesson is about, and to allow them to experience it for themselves.