The use of history of science case studies with first year education students to teach skills involved in scientific thinking Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/hm50tw04w

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  • The purpose of the study was to prepare and statistically evaluate a series of 11 history of science case studies designed to teach the following abilities involved in scientific thinking: 1. Recognizing problems, hypotheses, experimental conditions, and conclusions. 2. Understanding the relationship of evidence to hypotheses. 3. Understanding experimental conditions and the control of variables. 4. Making conclusions. 5. Interpreting data. Population and Treatment Groups The population consisted of the entire enrollment of first year education students in a general science course at the University of Victoria. The experimental group included 156 students randomly selected from this population to read history of science case studies. The control group included 154 students randomly selected from the same population to read a science textbook. Collection and Analysis of Data The Burmester Test of Aspects of Scientific Thinking was administered under standardized conditions to both treatment groups. This test was designed to measure the same five abilities mentioned above as case study objectives. Mean test scores for the two treatment groups were compared by analysis of variance, using the sex of the student as a covariable. The Nature of Science Scale was also administered and mean test scores compared by the same statistical analysis. Results Mean test scores of the treatment group reading history of science case studies were significantly higher (0. 05 level) than the control group on the total Test of Aspects of Scientific Thinking and on the sub-test on the ability to make conclusions. Mean test score differences between the experimental group and the control group were not significant for the other four abilities involved in scientific thinking, although all differences favored the experimental group. No significant differences were found between treatment groups in attitudes toward science, as measured by the Nature of Science Scale, or in general science course grades. Differences between males and females were not statistically significant on any of the criterion tests.
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