Unit 1: Empirical evidence supporting the methods


Learning Objectives

At the end of Unit One, the learner will have been introduced to the evidence and ideas behind literacy in science.


"The National Science Education Standards' definition of science literacy also emphasizes the link between science knowledge and literacy skills. "Scientific literacy means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. It means that a person has the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena. Scientific literacy entails being able to read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions. Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. A literate citizen should be able to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it. Scientific literacy also implies the capacity to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately" (National Research Council, 1996)." - (SciMath and the Minnesota Department of Education, 2013)

The following PowerPoint was adapted from a presentation on Science Literacy. Review the following presentation which discusses the evidence behind integrating literacy into science. Evidence of Science Literacy Powerpoint After the short presentation, press the back arrow to return to this unit.

Science literacy is important for any citizen to decipher between what is pseudoscience and actual science; to make informed decisions on scientific policy; and to make informed personal decisions impacted by science. It is vital that a comprehensive science education involves allowing the learner to be literate in science. The following website from Minnesota Department of Education provides more evidence to support the idea of fostering scientific literacy.

Learning Activities

Since you have just viewed the evidence behind fostering scientific literacy, it is time to discuss the meaning behind literacy in science. Get into groups of 3-4 to discuss these questions:

1. What is literacy?

2. What does it mean to be literate in science?

3. What are some strategies used in other content areas to foster literacy, that can also be used in science?

4. What are some unique characteristics of scientific literacy?


Now that you have finished Unit 1, each participant should have an idea of what it means to be literate in science. In subsequent units, the use of strategies and ideas to implement in a science classroom will be discussed. As the NSTA Mission Statement states: "All those involved with science teaching and learning should have a common, accurate view of the nature of science. Science is characterized by the systematic gathering of information through various forms of direct and indirect observations and the testing of this information by methods including, but not limited to, experimentation. The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts and the laws and theories related to those concepts."

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Fostering Scientific Literacy