7 Ocak 2013 Pazartesi

Nature of science



          The nature of science refers to ideas which provide a description of science as a way of knowing. Over the whole human history, people developed many interconnected and validated ideas about the physical, biological, psychological, and social worlds. Those ideas have enabled successive generations to achieve a comprehensive and reliable understanding of the human species and its environment. Let’s start from scratch, the existence of mankind.

          Mankind wants to know the nature and dominate to nature from existence. For this reason, mankind fights with nature from existence. Recently, the inverse of this opinion is argued. Human try to live with nature in peace. In my opinion, these two prospects are equal. As some politicians say, for continuous peace, we must be ready for continuous war. Some natural disasters or events like thunder, lightening flash or solar eclipse are most of the time interested by human as well as be frightened. On the other hand, this fear compel human to overcome it and satisfy his curiosity. The only way for human to overcome this fear is know about the real reasons of natural events and be sovereign over them. All too soon, the only reason for the war between mankind and nature is that? In other words, the motive which creates sciences is mankind’s necessity? Absolutely, yes!

          So what is science? ‘Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.’ (Online Document, Science Council, 2012)  In order to find evidences as stated in the above definition, scientists must do researches. Due to another resource, ‘Science is a systematic and logical approach to discovering how things in the universe work. It is derived from the Latin word “scientia,” which translates to knowledge. Unlike the arts, science aims for measurable results through testing and analysis. Science is based on fact, not opinion or preferences. The process of science is designed to challenge ideas through research. It is not meant to prove theories, but rule out alternative explanations until a likely conclusion is reached.’ (www.livescience.com)

           Scientific knowledge is accumulated by systematic study and organized by general principles and has some characteristics. For example; conclusions of science are reliable, though tentative. Which means that ‘science is always a work in progress, and its conclusions are always tentative but just as the word "theory" means something special to the scientist, so too does the word "tentative." Science's conclusions are not tentative in the sense that they are temporary until the real answer comes along. Scientific conclusions are well founded in their factual content and thinking and are tentative only in the sense that all ideas are open to scrutiny. In science, the tentativeness of ideas such as the nature of atoms, cells, stars or the history of the Earth refers to the willingness of scientists to modify their ideas as new evidence appears’. (evolution.berkeley.edu)   

          Secondly, science is not democratic. ‘Scientific ideas are subject to scrutiny from near and far, but nobody ever takes a vote. If the question of plate tectonics had been decided democratically when it was first presented in the early twentieth century, we would, today, have no explanation for the origins of much of Earth's terrain. Scientific ideas are accepted or rejected instead on the basis of evidence’. (evolution.berkeley.edu)   

          Thirdly, science is non-dogmatic. ‘Nothing in the scientific enterprise or literature requires belief. To ask someone to accept ideas purely on faith, even when these ideas are expressed by "experts," is unscientific. While science must make some assumptions, such as the idea that we can trust our senses, explanations and conclusions are accepted only to the degree that they are well founded and continue to stand up to scrutiny’. (evolution.berkeley.edu)

          Fourthly, science is non-dogmatic. ‘Nothing in the scientific enterprise or literature requires belief. To ask someone to accept ideas purely on faith, even when these ideas are expressed by "experts," is unscientific. While science must make some assumptions, such as the idea that we can trust our senses, explanations and conclusions are accepted only to the degree that they are well founded and continue to stand up to scrutiny’. (evolution.berkeley.edu)

          Finally, science can not make moral or aesthetic decisions. ‘Scientists can infer the relationships of flowering plants from their anatomy, DNA, and fossils, but they cannot scientifically assert that a rose is prettier than a daisy. Being human, scientists make moral and aesthetic judgments and choices, as do all citizens of our planet, but such decisions are not part of science’.  (evolution.berkeley.edu)

        It is important in nature of science to understand the difference between observation and inference, too. However, this knowledge in itself is not enough. We should also learn to make good observations and inferences, and understand the role that observations and inferences play in the development of scientific knowledge. Let’s start with observations. When we describe an environment based on our five senses, it is called an observation. For example, ‘Upon magnification, the painted lady eggs appear bluish and barrel-shaped. Observations are direct enough that most would make the same observation in the same situation.’ (www.teacherlink.org)

          Secondly, When we bring our past experience into making a judgment based on an observation, it is an inference. For example, ‘The caterpillar appears as if it is about to form its chrysalis is an inference, because you are interpreting observations according to knowledge from past experience. Inferences are important in science in making explanations, but one must be careful not to confuse observations with inferences when conducting a study.’ (www.teacherlink.org)

          Nature of science’s other important content is about the difference between theory and law. Let’s start with some everday life definions. A fact is something that is true whether you like it or not. Generally, it is the strongest thing that can be said about anything. A law is on the same level as a fact. It is something that is true, that generally explains or answers lots of different things. Outside of scientific circles, a theory is more of a supposition. It may or may not be true but it’s a supposition that is supported by some sort of observation. A hypothesis is sort of on the same level as a theory if slightly below.

         People think that the pieces of scientific knowledge they learn as facts but we should not refer to scientific knowledge as fact, because ‘that would tend to perpetuate the idea that scientific knowledge is inalterable.’ ‘Scientific facts are observable phenomenon in a particular situation. "Dinosaurs were cold-blooded" is not a scientific fact, because this phenomenon cannot be observed. "The caterpillar is 2.6 cm in length" is an example of a fact, because the phenomenon was observed in a particular situation.’ (www.teacherlink.org)

          Hypotheses is an “idea” that is formulated to explain observations. I can hypothesize that there is a force that pulls on the ball, counteracted when I’m holding it or that the wind exerts a force on the flag that causes it to flutter. ‘The purpose of a hypothesis is to explain one or more observations in a cogent way. A good hypothesis must be testable – it must be able to make predictions about what would happen in similar situations – otherwise a hypothesis can never be verified nor refuted and it remains “just a hypothesis.” At present, String “Theory” is really just a hypothesis.’ (pseudoastro.wordpress.com)

           Laws are a descriptive generalization about how some aspect of the natural world behaves under stated circumstances. For example, ‘Kepler’s Three Laws of Planetary Motion are;

(1) Planets travel in ellipses with one focus being the Sun

(2) Planets sweep out equal area in equal time 

(3) A planet’s period-squared is proportional to its semi-major-axis-cubed’ (pseudoastro.wordpress.com)

          Finally, theories are often ideas that have not been validated. In science, a theory has a much stronger meaning. ‘Scientific theories are broadly based concepts that make sense of a large body of observations and experimentation. Because theories successfully tie together such a huge amount of information, they are among the most important ideas in science.’ (www.teacherlink.org) Examples these days are the Theory of Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, the Germ Theory of Disease, and yes, the Theory of Evolution.

          To conclude, in those days, information age is lived and our state needs individuals who can use knowledge rather than store it. If teacher says to student everything in a way that students can not make any decisions; students could not learn how to stand on their own feet and they can not found no way out to their problems. By teaching students the nature of science, we also teach them how the science exists, how scientists work and think. Therefore, teachers should promote students’ scientific enterprise by assume scientific roles because students who are educated by this method can examine and posses the ability of problem solving and generating notion.


- The Guardian Science Blog. 2009. Retrieved from www.sciencecouncil.org/definition

- K., Zimmerman, R., Britt. 2012. Retrieved from www.livescience.com/20896    


- Berkeley. 1998. Retrieved from evolution.berkeley.edu/evolibrary/article/nature_06

- Staff. 2010. Retrieved from www.teacherlink.org/content/science/class_examples/


- S., Robbins. 2008. Retrieved from pseudoastro.wordpress.com/2008/12/21/terminology-


1 Ocak 2013 Salı



           ‘The awed wonder that science can give us is one of the highest experiences of  which  the human  psyche  is capabl e... to rank with the finest that music and poetry can deliver.’ 
 - Richard Dawkins.
            In the past, human life was not so good that the history told us. For a privileged minority, life was pretty but for the large predominance; it was awful, ugly and short. Mankind is a living creature who is sane, could try to find innovations with their mind and transver knowledge to other generation.  Not together with religious dogmas but with the help of science and artifice, mankind reached today’s stage. No longer, today’s people expects regular raise in their life standarts which is provided by the development of science and technology. Today, the world of science pursue to solve and ease the problems of the mankind in the commercial purpose.
            On the other hand, community in Turkey still hesitate towards science because they do not understand and rely on science. Science is told in schools with a boring manner. Students are encouraged about memorizing in order to pass, therefore they can not realize the relationship between science and the real world. Science which is learnt by only equations, frighten most of the people. Turkish people have a mentality like ‘ My little food, my warm head.’ With this stance, they do not regard secular life and continue with a life in which they just live from hand to mouth. People in the west try to invent something in their garage but this picture could not be seen in Turkey, unfortunately. Moreover, in turkey, searching  fundings of scientific organizations like TUBITAK functions money transfer to religious communities implicitly. TUBA is turned off, even for the sake of political interests. Finally, the effort of seperation from CERN is connected to the justification of lack of infrastructure. With this wrong understanding, we can easily guess the Turkey’s  future that is going to the depths of the Middle Ages. Independently of all causes, this depressing table of Turkey’s approach to science must be the most important reason which feed our passion of science teaching as Turkish physics teachers.
             Now, we are in the age of science and technology which growing at a dizzying pace. Human life is shaped by science and its welfare is provided by science, too. From the origin of the universe  to nanotechnology,  from robotics to genomics or from communication and information technology to gene therapy, the war of science and technology continues.
             So what is science? A fat textbook? White laboratory coats or microscopes? An astronomer peering through a telescope?  Einstein's equations scribbled on a chalkboard? (Online Document, berkeley.edu, nd.) ‘Science is the pursuit and application of knowledge and understanding of the natural and social world following a systematic methodology based on evidence.’ (Online Document, Science Council, 2012)  In order to find evidences as stated in the above definition, scientists must do researches. In turkey, most of the researches are done in universities. ‘The place of the Turkey in the world’s scientific collocation was 41st in 1983 and 20th in 2006.’ (Bozcuk, A.,N., Neden bilim, neden evrim?, nd.)   On the other hand, the number of scientific citations of Turkey and the number of applying for patents do not increase in the same rate. Besides, the share from the Gross National Product for research and development is far back compared with the share in developed countries. Architect of great successes has always been science people and educated brains in the world. In contemporary world the relationship between science and technology is become clear. Therefore, when ‘Why teach science?’ is asked, the short answer of the question is that ‘because science is the key of development’. In addition, unless changing the people through education, development called evolution can not be seen. The big leader ATATÜRK also said ‘Our true mentor in life is science.’
             R. Steven Turner adressed the issue why do we teach science and why knowing matters in his paper on science education. In the paper, Turner explored four different arguments which are identified as  economic, democratic, skills and cultural arguments that could be used to answer the why question.
             In the economic argument, ‘students are channeled upward to post-secondary schools to study science, technology and engineering. The goal is produce more scientists and engineers to meet the supply demands in science-related fields. The problem is that crises in manpower shortages has been greatly exaggerated and only 2/3′s of people majoring in science actually take jobs in science.’ (Online Document, Art of Teaching Science, 2010)
            In the democratic argument, ‘the curriculum would be quite different than the economic/standards-based design. It would focus on the technological and real-world applications of science. Science curriculum would focus on what students would need to know to participate in key controversies of the time, global warming, energy, environmental issues, and health. The humanistic argument is the central argument in the STSE movement (science, technology, society, environment). The STSE movement is not the dominant paradigm used in science curriculum, although one can find “STSE Standards” in the NSES publication.’ (Online Document, Art of Teaching Science, 2010.) Yet the research, as reported, supports the inclusion of STSE curriculum in school science, and that it does contribute to positive attitudes among students who take science courses.
           In the skills argument, ‘the mere study of science instills certain transferable skills that are important to students’ understanding of science. The skills argument is the process of science argument that is strongly advocated by science education researchers, and by organizations such as the National Science Teachers Association. Indeed, the skills argument claims that students should be involved in hands-on activities, analyze data, and plan open-ended investigations. The skills argument is the argument that suggests that teachers should use an inquiry-approach to teaching and help students learn how to practice inquiry.’ (Online Document, Art of Teaching Science, 2010.)
           In the cultural argument, ‘ the history and philosophy of science should play an integral role in science curriculum. Presently, lip service is played to this approach.’ (Online Document, Art of Teaching Science, 2010.) Robin Millar argues that we must reduce the amount of content that dominates the science curriculum, and in its place present to students a coherent and cohesive world picture of science that tell students stories of sciences great stories from quarks to superclusters and genes and gerontology. ‘The cultural argument could produce a curriculum that would interest students, and might reduce the general trend which is the more science courses students take, the less they like science.’ (Online Document, Art of Teaching Science, 2010.)
          After the most scientific part of the writing, in conclusion: it is very difficult to make out whether or not there is a future of the world for science people. For Example, because of the time interval for air to centre the world is 5 days, we could made maximum five-day wheather forecast. The rest is up to statistics and the wheater conditions.
          Generally, we love everything to be specified before, however; it cannot be; as we never know what is really specified. In general, it is accepted that, universe is evolved by well specified laws. These laws can be new found by scientists as well as God’s laws. Nevertheless; God does not treat to universe to break these laws. The time specified in holly books for the ending of universe has passed several times. All the time there has been an excuse for the passed date and new explanations has appeared. Scientific claims like weather condition reports may not be more correct than prophets and oracles. Regardless of anything, Turkish people must be involved in such kind of studies and join those arguments. For this reason, Turkey should not miss the opportunity of joining the CERN, if they do not want to lose anything about technology and science. There are already more tan 100 Turkish people working in the CERN. The substructure of application of the technologic developments obtained in CERN will occur in Turkey by time. Altough we have a prophet  saying ‘If science is at China, go there’ and a leader saying ‘Our true mentor in life is science’, it will be a huge mistake to step back from scientific developments for 70 million dollars. Even though we have the star and the crescent in our national flag, we are very far away from space and universe. It is found really ironic and weird by other nations.

- Understanding Science. 2012. Retrieved from undsci.berkeley.edu/article/whatisscience_01
- The Guardian Science Blog. 2009. Retrieved from www.sciencecouncil.org/definition
- Biyoloji Eğitim. 2011.Retrieved fromwww.biyolojiegitim.yyu.edu.tr/ders/ev/sem/evrb/1.pdf
- J., Hassard. 2010. Retrieved from www.artofteachingscience.org/2010/11/25/why-do-we-
- Taek. 2009. Retrieved from www.taek.gov.tr/uluslararasi/cern/314-cern-deneyleri-ve-

An Example of Daily Lesson Plan

1.      Surname, Name:                                                                             Date:

2.      School:

3.      Grade Level: 10th  Grade

4.      Unit: Electricity

5.      Chapter: Electric charges

6.      Topic: Properties of electric charges

7.      Topical outline:

·        Charging by gaining and loosing electrons

-         Attraction of the balloon
-         Attraction of the straw
-         Bending water with a straw
-         Dancing fleas
-         Basic electroscope

8.      Link:

Yesterday, we ended the ‘Force and Motion’ unit and solved some problems.

Today, we will see that the matters can charge by gaining or losing electrons.   
Tomorrow, we will see the charge distribution of charged objects and electric force.

9.      Timing:

In this course there is no time reserve for repetition of previous lecture because in previous course some problems are solved. Therefore course will open with new unit.

Total: (45 minutes)

-         Introduction to new unit. (0.5 minute)
-         Showing a video and talk about it.  (5 minutes)
-         Make groups and distribute the activity sheets to groups. (0.5 minute)
-         Doing activities and controlling the students while they do demos. (10 minutes)
-         Distribute evaluation sheets about group performance. (1 minute)
-         Let students to explain what they have done. (10 minutes)
-         Explain briefly the students’ results. (3 minutes)
-         Give the concept effectively and talk about similar examples. (10 minutes)
-         Make a quiz (5 minutes)

10.  Prerequisite specific objectives:

- Students are able to describe charging styles. (Comprehension level)

- Students are able to describe what the notr atom is and how can it charged.
  (Comprehension level)

11.  General objectives:

- Students will know the terms about the topic. (Knowledge level)

- Students will comprehend the basic concepts about the topic. (Comprehension level)

- Students will apply what they learned in new or different situations. (Application level)

- Students will interpret the relationships due to results of activities. (Synthesis level)

12.  Specific objectives :

Students discover that matters can be charged by gaining and loosing electrons.
(Synthesis level)

13.  Instructional materials, technologies and media:

For instruction:

·        A video: We will show this as a starting point of course.

·        PowerPoint Presentation (15 slides):  We will show PowerPoint slides from projector to make easier students to follow the lecture flow.

·        Activity Sheets: We will deliver this paper when students will start to activity.

  • Quiz sheets: We will deliver this paper just after the course ended.

·        Evaluation sheets: We will deliver this paper after we finished the lesson.

14.  Teaching strategy:

We found “inquiry based learning” method appropriate for this lecture. Inquiry-based learning is a student-centered and teacher-guided instructional approach that engages students in investigating real world questions that they choose within a broad thematic framework. Inquiry-Based learning complements traditional instruction by providing a vehicle for extending and applying the learning of students in a way that connects with their interests within a broader thematic framework. Students acquire and analyze information, develop and support propositions, provide solutions, and design technology and arts products that demonstrate their thinking and make their learning visible.

15.  Steps which will be followed during lecture:

a)      Introduction to new unit.

In this part we will give an introduction to the electricity unit and talk about the previous knowledge of students related to electricity.

b)      Showing a video and talk about it. 

In order to attract students’ attention we will show a video which related to the static electricity. Then we will discuss the reasons of the situation in the video.

c)      Make groups and distribute the activity sheets to groups. Doing activities and controlling the students while they do demos.

After discussing video, we will distribute the activity sheets to students and give them enough  time for doing the activities and answer the questions in this sheets. There are four different activities and groups could be formed by 3 to 5 students. While students do the demos, we will control and help them about their faults.

d)      Distribute evaluation sheets about group performance.

After all groups finish their activities we will distribute evaluation sheets and ask them to answer in 1 minute.

e)      Let students to explain what they have done.

After collecting evaluation sheets, we will let students to explain what they have done in each activity. Every group will choose a talker for their group and these students will explain groups’ ideas.

f)       Explain briefly the students’ results.

After students finis their explanations, we will briefly explain their results and if there will a wrong thing in their explanations we will correct them.

g)      Give the concept effectively. Talk about similar examples.

We will again talk about the concept and give effective explanations again. After giving concept, we will talk about two similar examples with the help of the slides.

h)     Make a quiz.

At the end of the course we will distribute a quiz.

16.  Evaluation:

- Evaluation sheet about group performance:

It involves 1 minute at the end of activity where the students write down answers on a ``1 minute paper'' to a few questions as feedback to the instructor. The questions are as following:

·                     Did everyone in the group participate?

·                     Did the group stay on task?

·                     Did an individual dominate the group?

·                     What was the most important idea you learned today?

·                     What is one idea you are still confused about?

- Quiz:

At the end of the course students do this 5 minutes quiz which includes questions as following:
1)      Give one example to electrify with impact, friction and interference.
2)      In the activity of bending water with a straw, what was the reason that the pvc pipe draw the running water?

17.  Teacher role:

- The teacher reflects on the purpose and makes plans for inquiry learning. Teacher:
  • Plans ways for each learner to be actively engaged in the learning process.
  • Understands the necessary skills, knowledge, and habits of mind needed for inquiry learning.
  • Understands and plans ways to encourage and enable the learner to take increasing responsibility for his learning.
  • Insures that classroom learning is focused on relevant and applicable outcomes.
  • Is prepared for unexpected questions or suggestions from the learner.
  • Prepares the classroom environment with the necessary learning tools, materials, and resources for active involvement of the learner.
- The teacher facilitates classroom learning.

      ·    The teacher's daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly facilitation plans focus on setting   
            content learning in a conceptual framework. They also stress skill development and   
            model and nurture the development of habits of mind.

- Teacher:

      ·    Accepts that teaching is also a learning process.
      ·    Asks questions, encouraging divergent thinking that leads to more questions.
      ·    Values and encourages responses and, when these responses convey misconceptions,  
            effectively explores the causes and appropriately guides the learner.
      ·    Is constantly alert to learning obstacles and guides learners when necessary.
      ·    Asks many ‘Why? How do you know? What is the evidence?’ type of questions.
      ·    Makes student assessment an ongoing part of the facilitation of the learning process.

18.  Students’ role:

- Students view themselves as learners in the process of learning.
  • They look forward to learning.
  • They demonstrate a desire to learn more.
  • They seek to collaborate and work cooperatively with teacher and peers.
  • They are more confident in learning, demonstrate a willingness to modify ideas and take calculated risks, and display appropriate skepticism.
- Students accept an "invitation to learn" and willingly engage in an exploration process.
  • They exhibit curiosity and ponder observations.
  • They move around, selecting and using the materials they need.
  • They confer with classmates and teacher about observations and questions.
  • They try out some of their own ideas.
- Students raise questions, propose explanations, and use observations.
  • They ask questions (verbally and through actions).
  • They use questions that lead them to activities generating further questions or ideas.
  • They observe critically, as opposed to casually looking or listening.
  • They value and apply questions as an important part of learning.
  • They make connections to previous ideas.
- Students plan and carry out learning activities.
  • They design ways to try out their ideas, not always expecting to be told what to do.
  • They plan ways to verify, extend, confirm, or discard ideas.
  • They carry out activities by: using materials, observing, evaluating, and recording information.
  • They sort out information and decide what is important.
  • They see detail, detect sequences and events, notice change, and detect differences and similarities.
- Students communicate using a variety of methods.
  • They express ideas in a variety of ways, including journals, drawing, reports, graphing, and so forth.
  • They listen, speak, and write about learning activities with parents, teacher, and peers.
  • They use the language of learning, apply the skills of processing information, and develop their own "ground rules" appropriate for the discipline.
- Students critique their learning practices.
  • They use indicators to assess their own work.
  • They recognize and report their strengths and weaknesses.
  • They reflect on their learning with their teacher and their peers.

19.  Next lecture:

In our next lecture we will talk about charge distribution of charged objects and electric force.

20.  References:

—Hewitt, P. G. (2006). Conceptual Physics (10th ed.). San Francisco: Pearson Addison Wesley.
—Kalyoncu, C., Tütüncü, A., Değirmenci, A., Çakmak, Y., & Bektaş, E. (2008). Ortaöğretim Fizik 9 Ders Kitabı. Istanbul: MEB.
—Tsokos, K. A. (2008). Physics for IB Diploma (Fifth ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

- For activities:

Activity – 1

Attraction of the Balloon and Attraction of the Straw

a) Attraction of the Balloon
Materials: A balloon, a paper handkerchief, a wall.
i)        Inflate a balloon.
j)        Rub the top of the balloon with a paper handkerchief.
k)     Push it delicately to the ceiling.
1)      What did you observe?
2)      What is the reason?
b-1) Attraction of the straw
      Materials: A straw, a paper handkerchief, small bits of paper.

- Rub a straw with a paper handkerchief.

- Draw it near small bits of paper or aluminum foil lying on an insulating table.
3)      What did you observe?
4)      What is the reason?
b-2) Attraction of the straw

Try same things with a book this time.
Rub a straw with a paper handkerchief and draw it near to a book’s paper.
5)      What did you observe?
6)      What is the reason?

Activity – 2
Bending water with a straw
      Materials: A straw, a plastic cup that has a small hole at the bottom of it, water.
     1.    One of the tester hold the cup.
     2.    Other tester fill the cup with water.
     3.    Charge the straw with hair.
     4.    Bring the straw close to the stream of water.
1)      What did you observe?
2)      What is the reason?
Activity -3 

Dancing fleas:

       Materials: Plexiglas sheet, a piece of wool, paper squares.


- Put paper squares on the table.

- Put Plexiglas on paper squares.

- Rub the top of the Plexiglas.

1)      What did you observe?
2)      What is the reason?


Activity – 4

Basic electroscope

     Materials: An electroscope, a pvc pipe or  a balloon, a wool.


         - Inflate a balloon.

         - Rub the balloon or pvc pipe with wool.

         - Draw the balloon near the electroscope.

         - Do the same thing but this time make balloon and electroscope in contact.

1)      What did you observe?
2)      What is the reason?

3)      When balloon and electroscope in contact, what happens?


Evaluation of group


Group name:

·                     Did everyone in the group participate?

·                     Did the group stay on task?

·                     Did an individual dominate the group?

·                     What was the most important idea you learned today?

·                     What is one idea you are still confused about?



      1) Give one example to charging by friction, contact and induction.

2) In the activity of bending water with a straw, what was the reason that the pvc pipe draw the running water?