Searle Center for Teaching Excellence
Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects
The Hobbit: When scientists disagree about the evidence part of Process of Science:Examples
This activity provides an excellent example of an active debate within the scientific community regarding a relatively recent human fossil find, Homo floresiensis. The activity highlights the ways in which scientists can interpret scientific evidence in different ways, how scientists build arguments to support their claims, and how assumptions can influence interpretation. Students watch part of a NOVA program on the fossil find, and take notes on the evidence discussed. They then discuss in small groups and then as a large group which argument they consider more convincing and why.
Ways of Knowing in the Sciences (Integrated Liberal Studies 153) part of Process of Science:Courses
Ways of Knowing in the Sciences is a course that focuses more on how scientists figure things out than what that knowledge is. The course emphasizes a deeper understanding of the contexts within which scientific knowledge is constructed than traditional science courses. We discuss the ways in which scientists make sense of the natural world in the past, understand the present and make predictions for the future. An integral part of this process is to understand the different methods scientists use, the way they work together as a community, and how that community interacts with and reflects society at large.