by Charles “Kip” Ault (Rowman & Littlefield, 2021)
For over 150 years the science education community has pursued the holy grail of scientific literacy predicated upon a unified nature of science. That vision has failed. Curriculum needs to embody the basis for placing trust in the sciences society depends upon rather than inculcating faith in a universal scientific method. Beyond Science Standards argues for prioritizing the social value of particular knowledge, not general scientific processes, in choosing what to teach.
Beyond Science Standards captures a vision of science education both whimsical and serious. Ranging across examples from elementary to university level classrooms and grounded in philosophy and history, the stories address dimensions beyond the realm of bureaucratic standards. Its thesis brings into question the premise of scientific unity and its representation in school as notions of method, process, nature, and practice. Schools, no less than the sciences, profit from playful exploration—of musical instruments in fourth grade physical science, for example, and hotel lobby decorative rock in a college geology course. Aesthetic expression permeates geologic interpretation and evolutionary insight—in depicting dentition, for instance, in the history of the horse family and linking this history to changing landscapes. Participating in collecting local, high altitude weather data enhances trust in climate science, especially when the observations benefit the local farming community. Allied with historical examples of the conduct of science, Beyond Science Standards offers the reader inspiring stories of science teaching, varying from place to place, time to time, discipline to discipline, and purpose to purpose.