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One of the main components of science education, science literacy entails possessing the conception of the nature of science (NOS). One way of teaching the NOS is to make use of the history of science. Interactive historical vignettes (IHV) that are based on the history of science, through which students can find many opportunities for discussion and that are prepared on the basis of the life stories of scientists can be used as an effective technique in the instruction of the NOS. The purpose of the current study is to see how effective enhanced with concept cartoons and visuals are in teaching of the NOS and in contributing to studentsâ€™ scientific thinking and argumentation.
IHV enhanced with concept cartoons to develop the conception of the NOS were studied with 23 fifth graders for five weeks. The development in the studentsâ€™ conception of the NOS was analyzed by examining video recordings and IHV documents.
The findings show that the studentsâ€™ conception of the NOS developed as a result of the application. Improvement was observed in the conception of the NOS of 19 students out of 23. Of these 19 students, 13 participated more in the discussions related to IHV and started to use statements more in compliance with the NOS over time.
This is believed to be because the enrichment of IHV with concept cartoons and visuals enabled the students to think more scientifically and thus improved the discussion atmosphere in the class and as result it is believed to be effective in focusing students on the elements of the NOS existing in IHV and in developing their conception of the NOS.
Keywords: Nature of science, Interactive historical vignettes, Concept cartoons, Middle school
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