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How to advance scientific literacy
Date:9/3/2009

(http://www.amjbot.org/cgi/reprint/ajb.0900025v1) summarizes why it is important for scientists in general and botanists in particular to invigorate science teaching with inquiry methods. He illustrates the challenges we face because students lack critical thinking skills, are generally uninformed about plants, and many are actually hostile toward learning about plant biology. To improve this situation, Uno provides seven principles of learning that make recommendations about how botanists should teach, including using themes and "thinking botanically" to illustrate all biological concepts.

Judith Scotchmoor and her colleagues Anastasia Thanukos and Sheri Potter (online soon at http://www.amjbot.org/papbyrecent.dtl) discuss efforts targeted at raising public awareness of science (via COPUS, the Coalition on the Public Understanding of Science) and provide resources that are available to teachers who seek to weave the "process of science" into courses to inform students about how science works. By developing a public that is more actively aware of science as part of their lives, both citizens in general and students in particular are more likely to be interested in learning about science. Scotchmoor et al. also discuss the web-based project called "Understanding Science" that aims to improve teacher understanding of the nature of the scientific enterprise, provide resources that encourage and enable K-16 teachers to reinforce the nature of science throughout their teaching, and serve as a clear and accessible reference that accurately portrays the scientific endeavor.

Matthew Nisbet and Dietram Scheufele (http://www.amjbot.org/cgi/reprint/ajb.0900041v1) melded their presentations into a joint-authored paper to discuss efforts targeted at raising public awareness of science.
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Contact: Richard Hund
rhund@botany.org
314-577-9557
American Journal of Botany
Source:Eurekalert

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