|M.Sc Student||Duek Oshra|
|Subject||Characterization of Middle School Students' Conceptions|
of the Nature of Science and their Relationship to
Attitudes towards Science-Using
|Department||Department of Education in Science and Technology||Supervisors||Ms. Luli Stern|
|Mr. Michael Moore (Deceased)|
The Nature of Science is a topic that deals with the character of scientific knowledge per se. Little research deals with common perceptions among Israeli students about ideas dealing with the nature of science. Reliable evaluative tools are lacking in Hebrew to assess students’ understanding of aspects related to this topic, and data is lacking as to what would be an effective way for teaching it. One of the reasons for including the Nature of Science in the curriculum was the hypothesis that it would bring about more positive attitudes towards science. The relationship between students’ conceptions about the Nature of Science and their attitudes towards science has never been investigated, neither in Israel nor in other countries.
The research questions were: 1 - What are the conceptions of middle school students about communication between scientists, methods of scientific investigation, the accumulation of scientific knowledge and its temporal stability?
2 - Is there a relationship between these conceptions and the students’ attitudes towards science? If so, what is this relationship?
In view of the data, the main conceptions about the subject of communication between scientists were that students perceive the publication of scientific knowledge as vital to the development of science. However, there was no understanding of publication as a mechanism for sharing information between scientists. On the subject of accumulation of knowledge over time, it was found that knowledge is perceived as timelessly useful. Nevertheless, the majority of the students thought that science is infinite and there will always be new discoveries and new things to investigate. On the subject of scientific method, experiments were perceived as central to scientific investigation; The majority of students think there is a set order for scientific investigation. A low correlation was found between attitudes towards science and students’ perceptions on subjects pertaining to the Nature of Science
In this research, for the first time, a questionnaire focusing on certain aspects of the nature of science was constructed and middle school students’ perceptions were delineated. The practical contribution of this research is the construction of questions that can serve as a starting point for developing curricular units on this topic. In addition, this research contributes to the body of knowledge in the field of teaching about the Nature of Science.