Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Scientific habits of mind

AAAS--the American Association for the Advancement of Science has been an inspirational organization to me, or at least their publications have been. I'll share a secret--I'm not a scientist (one who creates knowledge within a community of scientists)--I'm a teacher of science.

AAAS in their 2 watershed publications, "Science for All Americans" and "Benchmarks" provided me with lots to think about the question, 'what is the nature of science, and what is it like being a scientists?' While I took lots of science classes in college and in high school--I've always loved science--I never was a science professional--really just a dabbler--not really even an apprentice--well maybe a bit.

While studying for my MA a brilliant Philosophy professor, Jonas Soltis, gave us students the following task for our final paper: "Imagine it is the last day of classes for your students and that they are walking out of your science class for the last time in their life. Describe what you want them to think science, is."

The Benchmarks dedicates chapter 12 to this topic of the "habits of mind" of scientists or more specifically, how it can be developed throughout grades K-12. Chapter 12 addresses "Problem Solving" unarguably one of lifes most important skills. It talks about this:
Quantitative, communication, manual, and critical-response skills are essential for problem solving, but they are also part of what constitutes science literacy more generally. That is why they are brought together here as scientific habits of mind rather than more narrowly as problem-solving skills or more generally as thinking skills.

To be continued...

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