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Scientific Literacy

  1. Sep 22, 2013 #1
    I am teaching introductory physics at community college level and I want to incorporate assignments or tasks to improve students' scientific literacy. What are some assignments that can be assigned? Most importantly, I would like to know what worked for you.

    Some of my ideas are: Assign reading tasks. Students can read topics related to the content and write a summary of the reading. Sources could be online physics sites such as Physics.org, NASA. and APS.

    Students can report on a current science related news. For example an article from ScienceNews.org.

    If you could even point me to some online sources where I can find similar possible assignments and rubrics to go with it would be highly appreciated!


  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 23, 2013 #2

    Andy Resnick

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    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    I like your idea, definitely. I would simply stress that the written summary should not be a passive recounting, but rather a critical dissection highlighting claims that are not well-supported by data. For a rubric, I suggest including the following items:

    Require students to evaluate the accuracy, authority, currency, objectivity, and reliability of information sources.

    Require students to address the ethical and legal uses of information.

    Interpret mathematical models such as formulae, graphs, tables, and schematics and draw inferences from them.

    Represent and interpret mathematical information that is presented symbolically, visually numerically, or verbally.

    Use arithmetic, algebraic, geometric, statistical models and technology or appropriate combinations of these to solve problems.

    Estimate and check answers to mathematical problems in order to determine their reasonableness, identify alternatives, and select optimal results.

    Recognize the limits of mathematical and statistical models and be able to explain those limitations in context.
  4. Sep 23, 2013 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    I guess some threads in the product claims subforum can be a good starting point for a discussion in class.
  5. Oct 6, 2013 #4
    I suggest you first look at multiliteracies.

    http://wwwstatic.kern.org/filer/blogWrite44ManilaWebsite/paul/articles/A_Pedagogy_of_Multiliteracies_Designing_Social_Futures.htm [Broken]

    You suggest they write a report. What are the literacies involved ins scientific report writing? This can form the basis of the report itself.

    - what is the tone of a scientific report? formal or informal?
    - what is the modality? written, web, spoken at conference?
    - what grammatic structures are there? past tense? third person? passive voice?
    - what graphic organisers are used.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 6, 2017
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