Paper No. 6-3
Presentation Time: 11:00 AM
OUTSIDE INFLUENCES: AN ACTIVITY TO TEACH THE NOS CONCEPT OF BIAS IN SCIENCE
A common conception among the general public is that science explores the fringes of human understanding without the effects of human bias. While attempting to strive for this goal, scientists are not immune to outside influences which can direct outcomes of scientific findings or their interpretation of the evidence (Wilholt, 2008). Lederman et. al., (2002) demonstrates a deficit in the understanding of how cultural and societal factors influence science through survey-based research. Their work iterates how the Nature of Science (NOS) is a key component to the learner’s ability to understand science.
In this activity students are given a scenario depicting a scientific expedition and are asked to predict what they expect to happen as a natural outcome of the scenario. Subsequently they are given alternative circumstances which could potentially alter how the original scientific research is conducted. Students are asked to list how these circumstances could change the outcome of the original scientific expedition. Finally, using follow-up questions as a guide, students engage in discussion linking the NOS concept of bias to their experience with this activity.