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6 classroom discussion starters to teach the process and nature of science

Natalie Kuldell, Dept of Biological Engineering, MIT
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Summary

I have included slides here that were used to initiate a half dozen class discussions of about 10 students each. The topics were:

  1. Ownership and Sharing
  2. Scientists as public figures
  3. Intuition and pattern recognition vs. controlled experiments
  4. Public engagement with vs. as scientists
  5. Democratization of scientific information
  6. Data deluge (includes Understanding Sci flowcht)

Learning Goals

Each topic is intended to raise issues about the practice of science and scientific investigations and help students articulate their beliefs about these relevant aspects of the world they'll inherit

Context for Use

The following slides are drawn from lectures I gave in Fall 2008 for my undergraduate subject at MIT, 20.109 Laboratory Fundamentals of Biological Engineering. The students are engaged in 8 hours of lab work/week, with 2 hours of lecture to support the content of the labs. The topics here were presented at the start of lecture to initiate discussion and engagement. Topics has some relevance to the content of the lecture to come, e.g. data deluge on the day we analyzed their microarray experiments.

Description and Teaching Materials

A copy of the PowerPoint slide presentation I used to start each discussion is provided in the references and resources section below.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Assessment

References and Resources

Slides to start classroom discussions on the process and nature of science (Acrobat (PDF) 5MB Jun2 09)

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