Teaching History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of Biology
A pre-conference workshop organized by the Education Committee of the
International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Studies of
Quinnipaic College, Wednesday July 18, 2001
Through their teaching, writing, and public presentations many
ISHPSSBers promote the constructively critical analysis of science among
students, practicing scientists, science studies scholars, and the wider
public. The idea of a pre-conference workshop is for ISHPSSBers to
share how we address this challenge. To get the ball rolling the
Education Committee has arranged three presenters for the 2001 meetings.
We hope this will incite others to offer to share their wares before
and at future ISHPSSB meetings. A lunch meeting will be held during the
conference to plan future pre-conference education workshops.
This workshop consists of three experiential sessions. That is, instead
of the session leaders telling us how they teach, participants
experience the kinds of teaching the session leaders are exploring and
reflect on the pedagogical issues raised. Participants are encouraged
to attend the full day to compare and contrast the different approaches.
Logistics: Indicate on the ISHPSSB Conference registration form that
you will attend the workshop and need Wednesday lunch. Indicate also if
you need Tuesday night dormitory accommodation and breakfast, available
at the same (low) cost. There will be no cost for the workshop, but
please email [log in to unmask] if you will be attending so sufficient
copies of the handouts can be made.
with provisional descriptions of the workshop sessions (11 March 2001;
updates will be posted when available)
Douglas Allchin, Minnesota ([log in to unmask])
"Learning from Minamata"
Minamata, Japan suffered from severe mercury poisoning in the
1950s-perhaps the earliest and most emotionally engaging case of
point-source pollution in history. Unfolding the episode in reverse
chronology frames questions and lessons in science, society and
Steve Fifield, University of Delaware ([log in to unmask])
"Whose Embryo Is It, Anyway?: A Problem-Based Learning Activity"
In this session participants will experience a problem-based learning
activity that foregrounds ethical and cultural dimensions of science in
society that are often marginalized in science education. The case
involves a mistake at an in vitro fertiliation clinic that raises issues
in reproductive biology and parenthood, biotechnology, genetics, race,
and bioethics. In the problem-based approach, complex, real world
problems or cases are used to motivate students to identify and research
concepts and principles they need to know in order to progress through
the problems. Students work in learning teams, bringing together
collective skill at acquiring, communicating, and integrating
information in a process of inquiry. This necessarily accelerated
experience will give participants a taste of the problem-based learning
Peter Taylor, University of Massachusetts, Boston ([log in to unmask])
"Inquiry-based approaches to science education can be enhanced by
placing developments in science and technology in their social context"
Participants in this session will be encouraged to take its title
seriously. After a warm-up activity, you will experience a case or two
from my own teaching in biology/environment and society, then critique
the case(s), and work on lessons and activities in your own areas of
interest to teach or present to the wider public.
For further information, contact Peter Taylor, Program in Critical and
Creative Thinking, Graduate College of Education, University of
Massachusetts, Boston, MA 02125. Tel: 617 287 7636. Email:
[log in to unmask]