Academic journal article Science Scope

Developing Critical Consumers of Science and Engineering

Academic journal article Science Scope

Developing Critical Consumers of Science and Engineering

Article excerpt

Schools need to train students to be critical consumers of science and engineering who can make informed decisions about aspects of their lives from personal health to socioeconomic and environmental issues. According to A Framework for K-12 Science Education, "Being a critical consumer of science and the products of engineering, whether as a lay citizen or a practicing scientist or an engineer, also requires the ability to read or view reports about science in the press or on the internet and to recognize the salient science, identify sources of error and methodological flaws, and distinguish observations from inferences, arguments from explanations, and claims from evidence" (NRC 2012, p. 75).

To be critical consumers of science and engineering, students need more than just exposure to core science content; they also need to locate, read, and understand information and to use their knowledge about the nature of science to judge the validity and quality of that information and how it was gathered or constructed.

This issue of Science Scope presents some excellent articles detailing instruction that will develop and enhance students' skills of information location, evaluation, and interpretation. On page 44, Covitt, Harris, and Anderson outline instructional activities to help middle school students evaluate and make sense of scientific arguments and evidence using a claims, evidence, and reasoning framework. …

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