Defining Scientific Literacy by dfhdhdhdhjr


  National Science
Education Standards
 Scientific literacy requires
“knowledge and understand-
ing of scientific concepts and
processes ... for personal
decision making, participating
in civic and cultural affairs,
and economic productivity.”
 Project 2061: Science
  for all Americans
“The scientifically literate
person is one who is aware
that science, mathematics, and
technology are interdependent
human enterprises with
strengths and limitations;
understands the key concepts
and principles of science; is
familiar with the natural
world and recognizes both its
diversity and unity; and uses
scientific knowledge and
scientific ways of thinking for
individual and social
   Illinois Learning
“Science is the quest for
objective truth. It provides a
conceptual framework for the
understanding of natural
phenomena and their causes
and effects.
Among the purposes of the
study of science is the
development of students who
are scientifically
knowledgeable, understand
that modern technological
growth is an outcome of the
scientific enterprise;
knows the difference between
objective fact and subjective
values, and can apply
scientific thinking and
information in problem
solving and decision making.”
Scientifically Literate?
 Are we scientifically literate?
 How many Americans can do
 what the definitions suggest?
 Only 6.9% of Americans are
 scientifically literate at the
 lowest level – term recognition
                     Per Jon Miller at NIU
    US Citizens Not SL
 During March 2010, reporter
 John Stossel recruited people
 in Times Square (NYC) to sign
 a petition banning dihydrogen
 monoxide. See petition.
 80% of those solicited signed
 the petition to ban – water.
          The Outlook:
    In the US 50 - 60 year olds
    are the most SL:
    – those 70 - 80 have low rate.
    – those 20 - 30 have low rate.
 In foreign countries, SL
 decreases with age.
 Implications are profound.
       Scientific Literacy
   not easy to define
    – Dewey all the way down to...
    – current reform movements
   several types
    – cultural or nominal (recognition of terms)
    – functional (use of scientific/technical terms)
    – conceptual/procedural (concepts/processes)
    – multidimensional (nature of science, social
      context, differentiates science from other ways
      of knowing)
Common Elements
   content knowledge
      – facts
      – vocabulary
      – concepts
     skills
      – manipulative
      – intellectual
     dispositions
      – attitudes
      – behaviors
What is worth knowing?
      personal needs
      societal needs
      global needs
How should one think?
     logically
     independently
     objectively
     skeptically
     critically
     rationally
      Benefits of SL:
 develop effective solutions to
 foster intelligent respect for
 avoid being prey to dogmatists
 assess use of new technologies
        The Problems:
Science teachers not oriented
toward achieving SL emphasize:
   answers over questions
   memory over thought
   recitation over argument
   reading over doing
    Teaching Problems:
  little metacognition going on
 teaching versus learning
 training versus educating
 failure to determine essential content
 teaching topically, not thematically
 focusing on low-order skills
 poor assessment skills/programs
 emphasizing breadth over depth
      Other Problems:
 Science & math voluntary
 most pupils take biology in HS
   45% take chemistry in HS
   23% take physics in HS
   10% take no algebra
   6% take calculus
    More Problems:
 Minorities, girls, and non-
 college-bound students are
 under-represented in math/sci
 Personal relativism has
 become a societal problem
          We are all
       responsible for...
    the current state of affairs
 breadth over depth
 seatwork over activity
 memorization over critical thinking
 recitation over well-reasoned
    making necessary changes.

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