History/Philosophy

A Class Discussion on the Nature of Science

The first chapter of every middle and high school science textbook I have ever seen contains an oversimplified section on “the scientific method.” I wanted my students to gain an understanding of science by doing science, as best as we can replicate in a classroom, though inquiry labs, class discussions, and defending claims with evidence.

"The Stress Test", by Dana Goodyear

Rivalries, intrigue, and fraud in the world of stem-cell research. This "inside story" from some of the most prestigious biochemistry laboratories in the world can provide grist for any course on ethics in modern science.

Haber - The Father of Chemical Warfare

The HaberFilm.com website is a helpful resource for teachers that have interest in using the Haber video in their curriculum. Reading materials and lesson ideas are available. I recently used a lesson that my colleague created directly from the provided materials. You can check out that lesson here. The lesson included some background reading, viewing the video, participating in an excellent discussion and a follow up writing assignment.

Who Owns the Future? by Jaron Lanier

One of the pioneers in digital media and networks is disquieted by the dominance of the digital landscape by a few Siren Servers, who capitalized not on their superior products or expertise, but solely on their ability to extract a profit from each of the bits that make up Big Data. He thinks we all should be paid for our contributions, or at least the system be changed so as to provide incentives real contributions.

The Half-Life of Facts: Why Everything We Know has an Expiration Date

Samuel Arbesman, a mathematician and network scientist, uses the idea a half-life as an analogy for the changes in human knowledge that science brings. He discusses both the changing rate at which new science is done and the speed at which old results are replaced by newer ones. The analogy is far from perfect, but it emphasizes some critically important aspects of the processes of science.