12. Teaching the Nature of Science
Abstract: To help students understand the nature of science, good science teachers will infuse considerations for the nature of science throughout their instruction. While teaching about the nature of science might be limited in scope and duration on any one day, it is generally ongoing, explicit, and in context. Poor science teaching assumes that students will acquire proper understandings about the nature of science implicitly through lecture, problem solving, and cookbook lab experiences. While this assumption is true to a limited extent, using an inquiry-oriented approach and teaching directly about the nature of science on a regular basis and in context will be considerably more effective in helping students proper understandings and avoiding misconceptions. In order to successfully teach about the nature of science, teachers must have essential understandings, know about suitable pedagogical practices, and have the requisite motivation so they can maximize what their students learn in this important topic area.