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Exploring Science as Transactional Inquiry:
A Working Group on Elementary Science Education

On "Thinking" As a Scientist/Educator/Inquirer:
Thoughts on What "Scientists" Do and (Some) Others Don't,
and Hence on What Science/Inquiry Education Should Focus On
Paul Grobstein
10 December 2006

Thinking IS dangerous, and risky, and lots of the time what you come up with won't be better than what you have already. But that's not the point, unless you're so happy with what you have that you can't imagine it ever being better ... I'm going to spend less time worrying about whether other people think I'm doing my job right, and more time thinking. And I'm going to tell my students that that's what they should be doing too, whether or not they or anybody else think that's what I'm supposed to be telling them ... This Isn't Just MY Problem, Friend, 1991

  1. Distinguish between "observations" and "interpretations/stories"

    I saw A,B,C and think therefore D
    vs
    I saw D

  2. Recognize that "interpretations/stories" are one of multiple ways to account for observations

    A,B,C might mean D, or E, or F

  3. Recognize that multiple "interpretations/stories" for a given set of observations are not only acceptable but may be valuable

    1. Different ones may be most useful in different circumstances
    2. Different ones may fit more comfortably with other "interpretations/stories" deriving from other sources
    3. Combinations of different ones may motivate new questions/ observations/interpretations/stories

  4. Recognize that there is a valuble social character/interplay in science/inquiry
  5. Recognize that "interpretations/stories" in turn affect observations, and so diverse perspectives are valuable
  6. Recognize that, in light of the above, no "interpretation/story" or set of observations in unchallengable
  7. Derive pleasure/satisfaction from the inevitably ongoing process of inquiry as not only discovery but also creation


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    Last Modified: Monday, 11-Dec-2006 14:58:02 EST