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A Discipline-Specific Approach to the History of U.S. Science Education.

Valerie K Otero, David E Meltzer

UIID-AD: 4644


Although much has been said and written about the value of using the history of science in teaching science, relatively little is available to guide educators in the various science disciplines through the educational history of their own discipline. Through a discipline-specific approach to a course on the history of science education in the United States, we have spurred the interest of college science faculty and future high school science teachers as well as doctoral students in discipline-based education research. Our course entails a systematic exploration of past reform efforts in physics education and how they have--or have not--impacted the way physics is taught on a broad scale. In this article, we provide suggestions for those who might want to develop similar courses, particularly in science disciplines other than our own area of physics. We describe methods we used to acquire relevant literature, create appropriate reading lists, and structure and guide classroom discussions and activities. We also provide references to literature in biology, chemistry, and geoscience for scholars who are interested in building their own discipline-specific course.

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