Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Brian Rude on Measuring higher-level scientific thinking


Brian Rude said...

Arguing against the scientific method is sort of like arguing against motherhood and apple pie. But I'm used to being the grinch, so here goes.
I would argue that in general the type of science appropriate for elementary and secondary education is primarily descriptive. To be scientifically literate students must build up a mass of information. That takes years to do. Without a solid foundation of information, much of which can be called descriptive information, there is nothing on which critical thinking can be applied.
We do not know about the world primarily through experimentation. We learn about the world primarily by making plausibility estimates. Contrived experimentation is important, but only key points in the development of a science. Contrived experimentation is a very ineffective and inefficient for learning science. Explanation and plausibility fitting are effective and efficient.

I have developed ideas along these lines in two articles on my website. "Rules and Methods of Science" is at, and "The Rationale Of Laboratory Exercises In The Teaching Of Science" is at

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