Reflection: Adjustments to Practice Historical Connections: Ecology and Classification - Section 4: The Classroom Flow: Sharing Out, Wrapping Up


More and more, I am seeing how much students love stories in science.  So often, science history is presented in textbooks as established since the dawn of time or when there is a sense of time/place, the knowledge is still thought of by students as something that was always expected to be true--the drama and uncertainty is not transmitted in a way that feels real to them.

I like taking some of our class time together to explore the people behind the science and their stories.  So many of our students think scientific discoveries are only done by experts in a given field of study.  And yet, many of our stories revolve around the role of the outsider, someone with a fresh perspective that added to the debate and introduced or refined important ideas.  Students tell me this is inspiring to them when they don't see themselves as an expert in anything.  Historical perspectives and the stories surrounding specific breakthroughs in science or people in the field also allow us to ask the big question of our current social and educational landscape:  What voices are missing here?  What perspectives are not represented that should be?  Why aren't they present in this story?  

I also find that students recall complex factual information more often and with more accuracy when it is delivered with a  story that hooks students into the subject and addresses the eternal question of every student: Why should I care about this?  People are the core of every scientific discovery and we care about people.  The more I have seen this basic fact played out in our classroom, the more intentional I am about finding and telling stories and asking students to discover and tell stories in science for each other and for me.

  The Importance of the Historical Perspective and the Human Story Behind the Science
  Adjustments to Practice: The Importance of the Historical Perspective and the Human Story Behind the Science
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Historical Connections: Ecology and Classification

Unit 9: Unit 9: Energy, Ecology, & Classification
Lesson 5 of 7

Objective: SWBAT to trace the schemes of classification by investigating the work of ecologist Robert Whittaker.

Big Idea: Use close reading and discussion strategies to help your students connect the classification kingdoms throughout history!

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