Historical Short Stories and the Nature of Science in a High School Biology Class

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Smith, Jennifer Ann Reid
Iowa State University; Digital Repository @ Iowa State University
History of Science; Nature of Science; NOS; Science Education; Secondary Science; Short Stories
thesis / dissertation description
To overcome students' misconceptions regarding the nature of science, it is essential that teachers utilize instructional activities that accurately and explicitly portray the nature of science within the context of the science content being taught. This study examines the impact of implementing two historical short stories in a high school biology course during units on genetics and biological evolution. The stories describe the lives and work of Mendel and Darwin and how their scientific ideas were developed. Questions embedded in the stories explicitly draw students' attention to key nature of science concepts. Students in the treatment group demonstrated significantly higher understanding of several key nature of science concepts than students in the control group. Additionally, most students reported preferring the short stories to textbook readings.