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Oscar Newman

Annotated Bibliography Science Methods (EDC&I 473A)

Week 2 Readings

Bang, M., & Medin, D. (2010, March 1). Cultural processes in science education: Supporting
the navigation of multiple epistemologies. Retrieved September 29, 2019, from
https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1002/sce.20392?
shared_access_token=V7LauS_tQ80wHiFvpq55u04keas67K9QMdWULTWMo8PA_w-
eVhsvvPzYnLfklbI461PVZRqSeu9ldENinlyy7Hbuxyse3V7nD3SggIpEAOR3DIfD_3Tye6KlvuZ
rAUF6Ojufe0Dtrl1Ht2SGsDNLA9CwelOevlLNYjnQYcr9AWo=&.

Summary: Studying the diverse ways in which knowing occurs is a necessary step in creating
improved outcomes for students from indigenous communities. Ideas about knowing are
cultural, and in order to instruct students better these need to be explored.

Quote: “...[S]cience instruction is seldom recognized as a set of cultural practices.”

Response: It is informative that the authors included the sorry history of research within
American Indian communities. The way in which educators (and I am not certain this is
particular to science education) approach student knowledge and either recognize and
appreciate what conceptions students bring to class will make it easier or difficult to learn. My
concern is the degree to which the article criticizes a straw man. Is there anyone arguing that
it is best practice to be dismissive about student ways of knowing and learning? To be sure,
there is a danger in placing science instruction outside of culture (as is also the case in
mathematics), but this is a poor read of the history of science. Problem based instruction and
effective methods for leading discussions offer some ways to approach this problem. For the
discussion of teaching students the nature of science, there are similar dynamics teaching all
children. Science is not common sense, and there are areas of tension between science and
all cultures, to be certain, these tensions are especially pronounced in many communities,
and there should be no sugarcoating the connections between science and white supremacy,
but solutions may look similar across diverse communities.

Gonzales, J. (2018, September 20). Culturally Responsive Teaching: 4 Misconceptions.


Retrieved October 2, 2019, from https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/culturally-responsive-
misconceptions/.

Summary: In this interview, Zaretta Hammond, author of Culturally Responsive Teaching and
the Brain, is interviewed about culturally responsive teaching. The interview identifies
misinterpretations and criticisms of CRT from the educational community and defines its
principles.

Quote: All instruction is culturally responsive. The question is, to whose culture is it
responding?

Response: This podcast explored the way that culturally responsive teaching has taken on a

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life of its own since being defined in the mid-90s by Ladson-Billings. Of especial note is in the
distinction between multiculturalism and CRT. Student learning and achievements are the key
pieces of evidence that the teacher is employing CR practices, but there is a tendency to get
bogged down on superficial aspects of a classroom. That being said, in a social and political
era in which students who are undocumented or who identify as LGBTQ+, physical
statements of solidarity, welcome, and safety can go a long way in initiating dialogues that will
ultimately improve what students know and are able to do. Hanging flags and posters may
just be a starting point, but it can be an important one.

National Audubon Society. Climate Change and Birds. (2014, September 8). Retrieved from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aN2-a82_3mg.

Summary: Birds are sensitive to environmental phenomena. Climate is changing due human
actions.

Quote: Every bird species is uniquely adapted to its surroundings.

Response: How very sad. I enjoyed the concise summary of what to do: reduce carbon
emissions and protect habitat of threatened species. I am concerned with two issues: 1. is this
an example of best practices in terms of getting people to change their behavior? I am not
certain. 2. The “there's something we all can do” message is asystemic. Personal choices
matter, but leveraging political power needs to be part of the message as well.

Pang, Valerie & Lafferty, Karen & Pang, Jennifer & Griswold, Joan & Oser, Rick. (2014).
Culture Matters in Science Education. Science and Children. 051.
10.2505/4/sc14_051_05_44.

Summary: Science instruction is more effective when parents are recruited as collaborators
and content is presented in accessible ways. Culturally responsive teaching can improve
student outcomes.

Quote: To create effective activities, teachers need to know how to integrate cultural and
linguistic elements into science education.” (Pang et al p.49)

Response: No surprises here. I was a little concerned that a lot of the examples of culturally
responsive teaching, e.g., posters of diverse scientists, represented the most superficial way
to present content differently. These were presented as decoration rather than shifts in
approach to teaching, whereas presentation of materials in Spanish represented a deeper
attempt to smooth communication boundaries between school and home. Overall, it was a
starting point, if not a deep shift in pedagogy.

Alexakos, Konstantinos & Antoine, Wladina. (2005). The Golden Age of Islam and Science
Teaching. Science Teacher.

Summary: In this article from an NSTA publication, teachers are presented with some
highlights of the history of science during the Golden Age of Islam to enrich their presentation
of the history of science as a human endeavor with contributions from many cultures.

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Quote: (Responding to Kuhn) “[S]cience and scientific research have to be understood as
human activities reflective of the era, culture, and scientific community in which they were
developed.”

Response: There were some examples with which I was not familiar here. I use a little
knowledge of this history in my Algebra 1 course, and I appreciated the presentation of the
development of mathematics as fully integrating the Greek approach to geometry and the
Babylonian and Indian focus on symbols. I am interested to learn more about the approach to
optics mentioned in the article that may represent an early tentative step to science as an
empirical field.

Stokes, N.C. (2001) The Fin Art of Science: Japanese Fish Printing Brings Interdisciplinary
Science and Culture to the Classroom. The Science Teacher, March, 22-24

Summary: This is a practical exploration of a science activity. There is some cultural


background provided, but the main focus is on how to implement the activity in a science
classroom.

Quote: “There is no reason to stop at making prints from fish – many invertebrates such as
shrimp, crab, starfish, squid, and octopus also make great prints.”

Response: Who would have known? I thought the presentation of this activity represented a
pleasant approach to science inquiry: the level of content to grapple depends very much on
students. This was an activity with a lot of accessibility to explore deeply.

Madden, Lauren; Joshi, Arti. (2013) What Does Culture Have to Do With Teaching Science:
Teaching Plant Growth from an Asian-Indian Hindu Lens. Science and Children, September,
pp. 66-69

Summary: Plants are presented as an easy entry point to making connections with students'
home cultures in order to improve science instruction. The example of Indian American
students is presented, as well as background on the way plants are considered in Hinduism,
but there are ideas that can be applied to any culture.

Quote: “Using these strategies can enhance science teaching by sharing with students that
[there] are many sources of knowledge an expertise that should be valued and appreciated int
the classroom.”

Response: Every culture uses plants in some way. Every elementary school will feature plants
in its curriculum at some point. This approach represents an easy starting point for building
connections between the classroom and community. I especially liked the idea of using
interactive notebooks to have parents and family members see what students are learning
and enhance it.

Week 3 Readings

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Gonzales, J. (2019, July 21). Episode 126: Student-Written Graphic Novels. Retrieved
October 9, 2019, from https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/pod/episode-126/.

Summary: Interspersed with advertisements that make my disdain for podcasts come alive,
are some interesting explorations of how graphic novels and cartooning can create meaning.
Amplification through simplification is an interesting approach to using a different way of
approaching science observations. From a teaching standpoint, students are willing to share
information that they may not be able to articulate in other ways. For trauma informed
teaching, the use of graphic novels represents a potentially powerful tool.

Quote: “[A graphic novel] builds content schema for readers.”

Response: I enjoyed the intentional approach of introducing the graphic novel as a way to
strengthen relationships and use knowledge of students' proximal zone of development to
advance learning. The section on assessment was interesting and leads to more questions
about how to implement an activity like this in class. It would be interesting to explore more
about the use and creation of graphic novels in science class. Trinity: A Graphic History of the
Atomic Bomb and Feynman stand out as interesting examples to explore.

Renstrom, J. (2017) “Science Fiction as a Looking Glass: Teaching Students to Save the
World”. Tedx WalthamED Series. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=9Ed8OeZcOBI

Summary: The author explores uses of science fiction to teach tough concepts without some
of the cultural baggage with directly addressing the same issues in class. There was an
interesting aside on SF as cautionary as often as hopeful.

Quote: “Perhaps more importantly, these characters also inspire students to believe that the
world can be a better place and when that happens in class, students look around and they
see others invested in that idea. And when that happens, students are bolstered by the
possibilities of what a like-minded community can achieve.” (10:41)

Response: A lovely thought, but one that involves a lot of time invested. Is there a value to
using science fiction in science class? Perhaps, but there are some practical considerations
that are not addressed in the talk. For example, what about the different levels of reading
ability in class? Is there support for students with an IEP? For those students, a focus on
reading as opposed to hands-on science investigations may represent a frustration point that
does not have the same dynamic for other students. While there is more to teaching science
than “covering content,” this is a real problem for teachers who may already feel
overwhelmed. Is it worth the amount of time it could take to do this with more involved works
as opposed to novellas or short stories? Would it be better, then to implement something as
an after-school club or program? Perhaps, but then not all students would have the
opportunity. As a science teacher, I constantly reference science fiction – this gives me a
different perspective on reboots as new generations are introduced to familiar characters –
but at the same time, guidelines on implementation would need to be carefully considered to
implement SF into a science classroom.

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Week 4 Readings

Zimmer, C. (n.d.). Episode 1. Carlos Mariscal: What Do We Mean When We Ask, “What Is
Life?” Retrieved October 16, 2019, from https://carlzimmer.com/podcasts/.

Summary: Carl Zimmer, an author and recipient of the Stephen Jay Gould Prize (2016) for
“advancing public understanding of evolutionary science” interviews a philosopher of science
on the question, what is life? By exploring objects with intriguing ambiguities, the question of
categorizing objects in a binary system of living or nonliving is challenged. Additionally, human
impositions on the natural world, such as brain death, are explored. The exploration is
reminiscent of the Werner Heisenberg quote, “We have to remember that what we observe in
nature is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning.”

Quote: “It resembles life in a number of important respects...It has a function. And the function
is given to it by the designer of this object.” (Zimmer, 05:09)

Response: The explanation of the wind-up gorilla was fascinating. The tentative answer given
for the objects “I worry that the question itself may be presuming the kinds of answer that it is
seeking” was a fabulous attempt to get at the heart of the question itself as an imposition on
an untidy natural world. Science is a construction. There are useful outcomes and
applications of that knowledge, but this podcast represents an exploration of the fact that all
science rests upon assumptions. Even if amazing outcomes are possible using those
assumptions, this knowledge results from a conceptual leap. Last, the quote above was
chosen because its language parallels language used in the recent movement to undermine
the teaching of evolution by natural selection, Intelligent Design.

(See Appendix A)

Goldacre, B. (n.d.). Battling Bad Science. Retrieved October 16, 2019, from
https://www.ted.com/talks/ben_goldacre_battling_bad_science?language=en.

Summary: There are many types of bad science. This talk explores bad public
entertainers/”scientists” but is largely focused on science that is bad because it is presented
in a way to obfuscate the strength of results. Unfortunately, the title of this talk is misleading.
There are many other kinds of bad science, including textbooks rife with misconceptions,
teaching that fails to address student prior knowledge adequately (e.g., the Private Universes
Project), or lack of teacher preparation in teaching science. A more appropriate title would
relate to battling charlatanism or the unfortunate effects of the pharmaceutical industry relying
upon lack of science literacy in the general public.

Quote: “But we're also unimpressed by authority because it's so easy to contrive.” (Goldacre.
01:59)

Response: People respond to authority. There would be no need to fabricate credentials or


intentionally misrepresent trial data if there were no benefit in doing so. This talk presents the
results of a scientifically misinformed public in a society that has now codified the ability of
industry to influence its own regulation as free speech. There are important things that should

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be resisted, but declaring those things to be defined as bad science is also detrimental.

Gonzales, J. (2016, November 27). Know Your Terms: Constructivism. Retrieved October 16,
2019, from https://www.cultofpedagogy.com/constructivism/.

Summary: Constructivism carries the day in education. At least in theory. It would be an


interesting challenge to find an educational philosophy that was in opposition to the idea that
students create meaning through rich experiences guided by the teacher. In practice,
however, rote learning still exists. A fundamental dissonance between theory and practice.

Quote: “Each time one prematurely teaches a child something he could have discovered
himself, that child is kept from inventing it and consequently from understanding it
completely.” (Piaget, quoted in Cult of Pedagogy)

Response: I have never taught primes using beans. There is rich possibility of a garden math
lesson emerging from that little nugget from Bruner's quote. To understand education today
(at least in theory, see above) one must be familiar with Constructivism. Of course, there are
critiques of child-centered learning based on a fear of relativism or the belief that students are
best prepared by acquiring a standard set of knowledge, but a larger dynamic would be the
disconnect between educators that value this approach, but teaching in a stereotypically
traditional manner. It would be worthwhile to explore whether this dynamic were more evident
in schools serving low income, at-risk students.

Kirch, S., & Stetsenko, A. (2012). What Does It Mean to Know? Third-Grade Students
Research Using Claims and Evidence in Science. Science and Children, (Summer 2012), 44–
49.

Summary: This article summarizes a professional development program for intermediate


teachers to learn methods for teaching students about claims and evidence. Students
operated at a sophisticated intellectual level in evaluating evidence within a short time.
Creative activities like integrating art to have students represent the meanings of claims and
evidence were used as well.

Quote: “Tommy added, 'But it says 'the scientists' so I think it is real,' and Katie elaborated on
Tommy's comment...”

Response: These teachers must have also read the Bruner's Process of Education in which it
is claimed “We begin with the hypothesis that any subject can be taught effectively in some
intellectually honest form to any child at any stage of development.” The students in this
project were doing some heavy intellectual work. Future questions are raised: how might this
lesson be extended into other areas? Examples from science and literature are used, but
what about deductive disciplines like mathematics. Teachers are expected to promote
mathematical discourse much as teachers are expected to use competing explanations
strategically in science class, but the way a lesson like this would possibly unfold in a
mathematics classroom would be an interesting area to explore.

Keely, P. (2012). Guest Editorial: Misunderstanding Misconceptions. Science Scope, 12–15.

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Summary: In this short article, Keely articulates misconceptions about misconceptions.
Important works in the study of science misconceptions, such as the Private Universes
Project of the Harvard Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics and the Uncovering Student
Ideas in Science probes are mentioned. Students enter the classroom with conceptual
understanding that may be in error, but through which students are able to make meaning.
Understanding is presented as a continual process and there are many actionable steps for
classroom teachers, including to overcome the urge to immediately correct ideas at odds with
conventional science explanations.

Quote: “I have observed that the word misconception seems to have a pejorative connotation
to most practitioners.” (Keely, p. 13)

Response: Bravo to the idea of celebrating the ability of all students to think and create
meaning. With regards to the idea that misconceptions arise from instruction and instructional
materials, there is certainly more that could have been written, but teacher preparation would
certainly be a means of resolving this. There is also the system by which educational
materials are created, marketed, and used by real districts that informs the quality of
instructional materials. As a critique, the idea that teachers are just using probes like the ones
in Uncovering Student Ideas and “calling it a day” does not seem warranted. Perhaps
teachers are not reading the material at the front of the book and only using it as a handout,
but that is an assessment of science educators that is not very charitable.

Jackson, J., Durham, A., Dowell, S., Sockel, J., & Boynton, I. (2016, December). Claims and
Evidence: Creating Opportunities for Students to Practice Speaking and Writing About
Science. Science and Children, 64–69.

Summary: In this article, introducing primary elementary students to CER frameworks is


explored. Actionable ideas include being systematic about the use of language, providing
stems for student statements, and visual aids are described. Interactive word walls, in
particular, are presented as a way to visually provide information to students as well as an aid
in student discussions about evaluating competing claims and assessing the strength of
claims.

Quote: “They get flustered and concerned. “I have to explain that I’m asking Why? because
they were right and I want them to tell me more. Because? is less threatening.” (Jackson et al.
p.64)

Response: Assessing the way that teachers roll out science inquiry to young students and the
particular challenges of using language that will create easy points of access for students who
are English Language Learners is insightful. The stem, “I know I am right because...” in
contrast, does not seem that it would be particularly helpful. This seems to set kids up for
failure by not presenting scientific explanations as tentative. This type of language focuses on
“being right” more than being scientific.

Canipe, M., & Tolbert, S. (2016). Many Ways of Knowing: A Multilogical Science Lesson on
Climate Change. Science and Children, 31–35.

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Summary: This article details lessons that incorporate both Western scientific evidence as
well as indigenous evidence. Students are guided to a deeper understanding of the issue of
climate change by learning from multiple perspectives that are rigorous and systematic.

Quote: “When integrating indigenous knowledge in science education, it’s important to


position it as a valuable knowledge system in its own right and not merely as a tool for
acquiring Western scientific knowledge.” (Canipe & Tolbert. p. 35)

Response: While the perspective of science as a human endeavor is appreciated, there is an


unnecessary dilemma established in the quote above. It could also be the case that both
qualitative evidence as well as formal scientific evidence can complement one another in
guiding the development of conceptual understanding about climate science. Moreover, the
bird foraging lab was utterly contrived. There is no problem modeling ecosystem interactions,
but this aspect of the sequence of instruction did not seem to serve to advance
understanding.

Week 5 Readings

Davis, V. (2018, February 9). 5 Formative Assessment Strategies to Help with Classroom
Management @coolcatteacher. Retrieved from https://www.coolcatteacher.com/e250/.

Summary: The title of this podcast is straightforward. Indeed, there are explanations of five
simple formative assessment activities presented here. Activities were presented that involved
different amounts of time for implementation/student attention to thinking.

Quote: “So, remarkable teachers, remember… we need to be checking for understanding –


pretty often! Every 15-20 minutes at least, in our class periods. That’s 2-3 times per class
period if you have a 50-minute class period like I do.”

Response: The above quote is fairly important. In addition to assessing student


understanding, teachers need to assess student engagement with a lesson, conceptual
difficulty, task difficulty, and so on or the teacher will get to hone management strategies
instead of the lesson they originally planned. It is easy to forget that many management
situations occur when there is a disparity between what the students can do and what the
teacher is asking them. I imagine these numbers are even more pronounced for the students
we teach at IW. Last, the Twitter activity was interesting, but I wonder if this is not dated.

(Growth Mindsets v Fixed Mindset Sprouts). Sprouts. 2016. YouTube Channel. Retrieved from
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUWn_TJTrnU

Summary: This is literally the TLDR version of Mindsets. As such, it presents the broadest
generalizations that can be drawn from the book while avoiding nuance.

Quote: “shows that nurture is more important than nature”

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Response: Egads. What a miserable quote in 2019. Nature v nurture deprives all but the
worst conversations of nuance and complexity. One study justifies this extravagant
statement? This claim is completely unwarranted.

The Big Idea of Sustainability & Essential Questions. (n.d.). Retrieved October 23, 2019, from
http://www.sustainableschoolsproject.org/sites/default/files/Big Ideas Essential Questions.pdf.

Summary: These are indeed a long list of questions that can inform discussions of
sustainability and community.

Quote: “How are human and natural systems interrelated?”

Response: The authors must have failed to read last week's readings.

These are questions that can be used to consider the way that environment and a place
interact. Context is sorely lacking here. Who are the authors and what are their goals? The
questions seem tame enough and could probably guide interesting conversations, but to what
end? By whom?

Froschauer, L., & Bigelow, M. L. (2012). Rise and shine a practical guide for the beginning
science teacher. Arlington, VA: National Science Teachers Association.

Summary: This is a chapter on assessment from a book for preservice or teachers that are
new to teaching science (or their mentors). Topics include preassessments, formative
assessments, tips on reteaching strategies, summative assessments, rubrics, and some
description of PBL strategies and authentic assessment.

Quote: Although a comprehensive discussion of assessments and grading is beyond


the scope of this book, this chapter provides some information and ideas that will
prove helpful to the beginning teacher. (Froschauer & Bigelow. p.106)

Response: There are useful ideas here that can explain topics that are new to teachers at the
beginning of their career. However, the failure to address a core issue, grading, makes this a
problematic resource. For many teachers the tension between ideas of assessment and
grading undergird the tensions between philosophy of education statements and the practices
in which classroom teachers actually engage.1
Finally, the failure to venture into this ethical minefield is a salient way that most teaching
certification programs fail to adequately prepare their students. 2

McNeill, K. L., Katsch-Singer, R., & Pelletier, P. (2015, December). Assessing Science

1See Newman (unpublished) rule 67: If you want to get a room full of teachers to disagree, ask them to decide
on the best way to grade students. (Also, the corollary: 67A: If your school culture becomes too agreeable, ask
teachers if missing assignments should be counted as a zero. Hyperbole alert!)
2 I am truly trying to be charitable here, but I have never encountered teachers who felt like they were really
prepared to grade at the beginning of their careers, yet everyone spent time learning about assessment.
There are legal, ethical, institutional, and cultural reasons why this topic is avoided, but the subject is often
avoided to the detriment of teachers and students.

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Practices: Moving Your Class Along a Continuum. Science Scope, 21–28.

Summary: With plenty of examples of classroom implementation, this article offers an


interesting approach to grouping NGSS Science Practices into different categories based on
the types of thinking involved and provides practical evidence on promoting development of
constructing explanations and engaging in argument from evidence.

Quote: “Limit teacher talk during argumentation by physically removing yourself from the
discussion (e.g., sit in the corner of the room) or telling students that you have a specific task
during the discussion.” (McNeill et al. p.27)

Response: This is a useful guide to exploring an important shift in the NGSSs. There is an
area of concern in that the authors position the rubric and evaluating practices as the
assessment of a class. Is this the level in which learning actually occurs? Also, how can this
be used to account for student differences in not only the attainment of mastery of the
Practices, but also preferred learning styles, language usage, and other things that could
affect student participation in a class discussion?

Week 6 Readings

Ross, D., Fisher, D., & Frey, N. (2009, November). The Art of Argumentation; Fourth Graders
Practice with Language Frames to Learn the Process of Argumentation in Inquiry-Based
Instruction. Science and Children, 28–31.

Summary: Based on the idea that argumentation is a skill that needs to be developed, this
article provides some practical suggestions in how to use templates for argument in class
discussions. Teaching argumentation is presented as a way to approach a sophisticated
understanding of science that accounts for uncertainty and the role of assumptions, warranted
or not in arguments.

Quote: “Children are often good at arguing, but not argumentation.” (Ross et al. p.28)

Response: This statement is so true. Frames are useful and appear in many classes. This
article is valuable in showing some ways they may be used to model the process of
argumentation, but I think more examples would have been helpful. Last, I was a little put off
by multiple frames that incorporated the word “belief” because this can lead the way to
unproductive conversations in science class. Science is not a set of beliefs. There are
credible arguments, and we can evaluate how evidence makes an argument credible or not,
but the use of belief edges into treacherous territory for science class.

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Falk, A., & Brodsky, L. (2014, October). Teacher's Toolkit: Scientific Explanations and
Arguments: Supporting Students with Explicit Reasoning in Argumentation. Science Scope,
10–21.

Summary: This article applies the work, The Uses of Argument, by Toulmin, to scientific
argumentation in classrooms. There are lots of graphic organizers presenting ways of
structuring and analyzing arguments derived from classroom discussions. In addition, there is
a focus on moving beyond primary data as the only valid source of evidence in science
classrooms. There were some useful tools like outlining facilitation moves to improve student
skills in deductive reasoning and sorting information to determine which evidence is more or
less relevant.

Quote: “In essence, we would be asking [students] to make arguments using information that
represents a series of inferences, not primary data. This is consistent with the practice of
scientists, who often use primary data but also use information from data that have been
interpreted by others.” (Falk & Brodsky, p. 20)

Response: This article was about an increasingly important topic, yet was presented in an
unwieldy way. As the ability of humans to communicate becomes easier via technology, there
is no better time to consider how to effectively weigh evidence and understand the
complexities of argumentation. The usability of this article will not improve the situation, which
is unfortunate, because the underlying ideas presented are sound.

Viskontas, I., & Hari, K. (n.d.). 137 Jonah Berger - The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior.
Retrieved October 29, 2019, from https://soundcloud.com/inquiringminds/137-jonah-berger-
the-hidden-forces-that-shape-behavior.

Summary: This Inquiring Minds podcast episode is an interview with author Jonah Berger
about the book Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces That Shape Behavior. The
conversation delved into how people who claim to value their independent thinking base
important decisions on conformity.

Quote: “We think that where we ended up is the only place we could have ended up...But
some small things had a big impact on those decisions” (4:47)

Response: Other people have a big impact on our lives, to a greater degree than commonly
believed. There are some pretty sweeping generalizations in classic pop psychology mode.
There were some interesting suggestions about the role of class in valuing conformity or not,
but in the end, this is an interesting exploration of trivialities. One interesting connection to the
Islandwood program is in the effect of an audience on performance. Specifically, the effect of
a trusted or valued peer on a performance would seem potentially relevant in the case of
partner teaching or mentor observation. It is interesting to explore the way that the observer
influences the performance, especially when we evaluate whether the performance is in an
area of strength or weakness. There was also an interesting, if entirely ahistorical, section by
the moderators at the end that hinted at forgiving oneself for failing to reach the heights of
success.

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Davey, G. (2009, May 14). Friends - Ross and Phoebe argue about Evolution. Retrieved
October 29, 2019, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?
v=cXr2kF0zEgI&index=3&list=PL6ewytVfHTFvmGqPjIjoBG4oWSM41LDvF.

Summary: This is five minutes more than I have ever been able to stomach of this insipid
show. Phoebe mentions a variety of quack theories and then states she does not believe in
evolution (or gravity). The character Ross explains that there is evidence for evolution. In
addition to arguments that parallel historical critiques of evolution, Phoebe latches on to a
kernel of truth in a portrayal of scientists as prone to dogma as other humans.

Quote “Monkeys. Darwin. I just think it's a little too easy.” (0:53)

Response: Two quotes come to mind:

On the characterization of a scientist as dogmatic, here is one from Bertrand Russel:

“Every man of science whose outlook is truly scientific is ready to admit that what passes for
scientific knowledge at the moment is sure to require correction with the progress of
discovery; nevertheless, it is near enough to the truth to serve for most practical purposes,
though not for all. In science, where alone something approximating to genuine knowledge is
to be found, men’s attitude is tentative and full of doubt.”

On the entire episode:

“Debating creationists on the topic of evolution is rather like trying to play chess with a pigeon
— it knocks the pieces over, craps on the board, and flies back to its flock to claim victory.” -
S. D. Weitzenhoffer

Golden, B., Grooms, J., Sampson, V., & Oliveri, R. (2012, March). Generating Arguments
About Climate Change. Science Scope, 26–35.

Summary: In the instructional sequence highlighted in the article, students learn to construct
arguments from evidence about climate change exploring questions such as, What is
climate? Is there evidence the climate is changing? What are the causes of climate change?
Students are presented with a variety of evidence from sunspots data to disprove a common
misconception about climate change to global fossil fuel emissions over time to bolster the
accepted science understanding of the issue.

Quote: “Another helpful suggestion would be to elaborate to students that this is not an
opportunity to state their beliefs; instead, they should emulate scientists by building an
explanation based on data.” (Golden et al. p. 29)

Response: The idea of these lessons is sound, but there is a deeper issue. Is there a need to
have students prove that the climate is changing? This seems analogous to a biology
assignment in which students prove that evolution by natural selection can occur: there is
value in the exercise, but in a certain way, students are deprived of doing authentic inquiry

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since the answer is known3. Also, there are ways to do this sort of inquiry that are not as
clearly understood. For example, students could look at hurricane or tropical storm data over
time and see what trends emerge. Here, the science is more ambiguous and the convergent
aspect of these arguments would not be an issue.

3 Some, of course, may disagree of this assertion. To this, I would add that there have been many lines of critique on
Global Climate Change, but that not all lines of disagreement have been in the spirit of honest skepticism. I would be
wary, here, of the “teach both sides” approach that has devalued the teaching of evolution or made it so controversial
that real school teachers shy away from the headache of a scientifically conventional topic that is politically
controversial.

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Appendix A Bonus Quotes

“The Federal government doesn't want me


to go to school.
I ask too many questions,
and I don't play by their rules.
In school they tried to tell me
that a rock is not alive,
but I have seen a volcano growin' up and die
In school they tried to tell me
that a tree it couldn't feel.
But I have felt a tree and it was breathing for real.
In school they tried to tell
me animals couldn't talk.
But they can understand it when a dog starts to bark.
In school they tried to tell me
man doesn't have a soul.
'What happened to his?' I say
'Cause mine is still whole!'”

-Michael Franti & Spearhead, “Of Course You Can”

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