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Understanding the Process of Science and Evaluation of Evidence

Seminar Leader:
Ingrid Waldron


This seminar will begin with a discussion of several different conceptualizations of the scientific process, including: the relevant learning goals in the Philadelphia middle school science and high school biology core curricula; the scientific practices recommended in A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas; and additional principles derived from analyzing the history of scientific research.
In the spirit of learning by doing, much of the seminar will be devoted to activities in which seminar participants will use science process skills to investigate selected topics in areas such as genetics, ecology, and evolution. We will also evaluate evidence concerning several health-related and ecological controversies.
In addition, we will explore the similarities and differences in the scientific process and nature of the evidence in different research areas, including cell biology, nutrition, ecology, and evolution. Throughout these activities, we will be using the scientific literacy skills and practices which are included in the Common Core curriculum. Relevant background will be provided as needed to ensure that all seminar participants can understand the readings and actively participate in our activities and discussions.
We will also discuss a series of questions concerning seminar participants’ goals, successes, and challenges in helping their students to develop science process skills and understand the scientific method. These discussions will help seminar participants think about applications to their teaching and develop their curriculum units.
It may be helpful for potential seminar participants to know that we will not be following a strict inquiry approach. Instead, we will focus on developing a variety of science process skills and understanding how science progresses in the context of learning important science content. Thus, we will be engaged with science content (mainly on topics related to biology, health, and environment) at the same time as we develop a deeper understanding of the process of science.

Unit TitleAuthor


DNA Replication, Transcription, Translation: What is the Difference?

Kathleen Tait
Keywords: (DNA) replication, (DNA) transcription, (DNA) translation, Biology, DNA, Middle School, Science

The Plasma Membrane, Through the Eyes of a High School Scientist

Winnie Chan
Keywords: Biology, cells, cellular transport, High School, osmosis, plasma membrane, Science, Scientific Method

Natural Selection: Understanding the Driving Force Behind Evolution

Alan Tso
Keywords: Biology, Evolution, High School, Natural Selection, Science

Understanding and Experiencing Electricity: Helping Students Understand the Process of Science through Electricity

Sharon Mastrobuoni
Keywords: conductors, electrical circuit, electricity, elementary, insulators, Physical Science, Science, scientific process

All That Glitters is Not Gold. Extending Scientific Thinking to Analyze Manufacturers’ Claims on Consumer Products

Naomi Mureria
Keywords: Biology, Chemistry, Consumer Power, Environmental Science, High School, Physical Science, physics, Science, Scientific Method

Using Scientific Process with Child Development

Suzanne George
Keywords: child development, computer research, early child development (birth to age four), Health, High School, project, rubric

Applying the Iterative Nature of the Scientific Process

Troy J. Holiday
Keywords: Biology, hands-on, High School, iterative process, Science, Scientific Method

Genetic Engineering

Richard Staniec
Keywords: biological sciences, Biology, engineering, genetics

Improving Reading Comprehension Skills in High School Biology Curricula

Stuart Surrey
Keywords: biological sciences, Biology, Reading, reading skills, reading strategies