North-Central Section - 47th Annual Meeting (2-3 May 2013)

7
USING THE HISTORY OF RESEARCH ON THE PHENOMENON OF PLATE TECTONICS TO HELP STUDENTS BETTER APPRECIATE THE NATURE OF SCIENCE

Paper No. 7-1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM

USING THE HISTORY OF RESEARCH ON THE PHENOMENON OF PLATE TECTONICS TO HELP STUDENTS BETTER APPRECIATE THE NATURE OF SCIENCE


LANE, Joe, Mallinson Institute for Science Education, Western Michigan University, 1903 West Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo, MI 49008, joseph.m.lane@wmich.edu
This paper provides the reader with a detailed history on the phenomenon of plate tectonics, which focuses on the German scientist, Alfred Wegener. Wegener proposed that throughout most of geologic time there was only one continental mass, and one ocean. To strengthen his argument, Wegener drew perspectives from numerous scientific fields, as well as past works from specific scientists. This paper is designed as an educational instrument in order for students to examine the physical processes that our planet has undergone over, long, geologic periods of time. Students are presented with a Scientific Benchmark, stressing the importance that: ‘science is in fact one vast single system, in which everything in the universe occurs in consistent patterns that are comprehensible through careful, systematic study.’ This argument includes information on the need to explore the work of scientists; as well as, the essential characteristics that scientists must obtain when investigating our natural world. It is the primary purpose of this paper to inform students of the importance of scientific advancements and to illustrate the benefits of using history to support a better understanding of the nature of science.