Learning the art of science

Education and public engagement must be more than fun facts and activities, argue Dr James Redfern and Professor Joanna Verran – they must tell us about the science

The Biologist 62(2) p9

Universities and other learned organisations are increasingly engaging with non-expert audiences with the aim of improving science literacy and knowledge, or simply showing that science can be fun and an attractive career path. This proactive work in science communication and education has led to the development of a range of activities and resources that are delivered by a pool of talented and engaged individuals, be they scientists, science communicators, or formal and informal educators.

Having been involved with many such projects in recent years, we have seen the trend for imaginative, inspiring and thought-provoking practical activities up close. However, we have started to wonder whether the focus is on content at the expense of process. Should we spend more time asking how and why we do science? Or, what is 'good' science and how are scientific investigations constructed?

These sorts of ideas – about how science works – can be grouped under the umbrella term 'nature of science' (NOS).

 

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