Philosophy of Physical Science by Eddington A. S.

By Eddington A. S.

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Harvard University was participating in the redesign of basic science education for its undergraduates . James Conant, president of the University, contributed significantly to the development of a classic work in science education, Harvard Case Histories in Experimental Science ( 1 957) . This work sought to integrate concepts from the history of science into the science curriculum. The spirit of science education at Harvard at the time is perhaps best demonstrated by the fact that it was while en­ gaged in the preparation of materials for a case study that Thomas Kuhn ( 1 970/1 962) began to develop the ideas for his seminal work The Structure of Scientific Revolutions.

The concept of making science instruction an inquiry into inquiry (Schwab , 1 962) was and still is a good idea . The in­ quiry approach in science firmly established the role of the labo­ ratory and the doing of science by children . The problem is that in the 1 950s and 1 960s inquiry was limited to learning how to test knowledge claims . Today scientific inquiry means so much more . Following is the list of processes of science (Mayor & Liver­ more , 1 969) adopted for the Science-A Process Approach (S-APA) Reehinking Our View of Science Educaeion 39 curriculum directed by the American Association for the Advance­ ment of Science : Basic Processes Observing Measuring Using Numbers Space and Time Relationships Communicating Predicting/Inferring Integrated Processes Defining Operationally Stating Hypotheses Reading/Making Graphs Controlling Variables Designing Experiments These 1 1 processes are representative of the final form brand of science presented in most curricula .

It is ironic that the downfall of science and mathematics edu­ cation would be identified as starting in the midst of the 1 960s cur­ riculum reform movement . What happened at that time to prompt such a comment? What lessons might we learn from others' efforts to improve science education? A historical analysis of events in the science curriculum development efforts leading up to 1 962 will H' 16 Restructuring Science Educetion help shed light on the situation. This chapter will examine both the issues and the developments surrounding the design and imple­ mentation of the early NSF curriculum projects .

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