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Teaching the Nature of Science

Perspectives & Resources

Douglas Allchin

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  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Dimensions: 6.00" x 9.00"
  • ISBN: 978-0-9892524-0-9
  • SHiPS Education Press

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Paperback$40.00

Teaching the Nature of Science

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Echoing the spirit of Andy Warhol's striking images of familiar icons, Douglas Allchin uses vivid insights from the history of science to help us rethink commonplace views about how science works. This book is a valuable guide for reflecting about the nature of science (NOS)—and for teaching about it effectively. Teaching the Nature of Science maps the challenges in preparing scientifically literate citizens for the 21st century. How do we assess the reliability of scientific claims? How do we learn how science works—or sometimes doesn’t work? How do common cultural images of science subtly shape our thinking? Allchin leads us on an adventure through the errors of a Nobel Prize winner, misleading “myth-conceptions” of famous scientists, the hidden complexity behind Mendel’s genetics and Boyle’s law, and the politics and science of Galileo’s trial and of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. This is essential reading for every science teacher and anyone involved in science education.


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"A fresh look at the purposes of science teaching and learning and ... the knowledge needed to be a citizen in the twenty-first century. ...Well-informed by the history and philosophy of science literature, ...[it] rightly makes NOS problematic, and indeed part of the debate in the cases. This is a refreshing and welcome perspective."

–Gregory Kelly, Associate Dean, College of Education, Pennsylvania State University


"Teaching the Nature of Science is a wonderful resource for anyone teaching  science, the nature of science, or anyone interested in understanding how science works. With impressive support from the literature, both in depth and in breadth, Allchin encourages the reader to embark on a continuous journey of development and exploration of ideas that delineate the reliability of claims and the limitations of the scientific endeavour.  To borrow from Bruno Latour, he presents ‘NOS in the making' as opposed to ‘ready-made NOS.'"

–Glenn Dolphin, Tamaratt Professor in Geoscience, University of Calgary

Douglas Allchin

Douglas Allchin is a historian and philosopher of science and science educator. He is co-author of Doing Biology and co-editor of An Introduction to the History of Science in Non-Western Traditions. His "Sacred Bovines" column appears in American Biology Teacher.