Kalman - Science & Education 2009

Enabling Students to Develop a Scientific Mindset
Science & Education

Calvin Kalman

This paper is centered on getting students to understand the nature of science (NOS) by considering historical material in relation to modern philosophers of science. This paper incorporates the methodology of contrasting cases in the calculus-based introductory physics course on optics and modern physics. Students study one philosopher all semester as a group project and report regularly on how their philosopher would view the subject matter of the course. Almost all of the students were able to argue successfully on the final examination about all three philosophers. Students become aware that the same textual material can be viewed in a variety of ways. The answers that students give about the NOS have become clearer at the end of the course.