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MERLOT II


    

Peer Review


Teaching about Evolution & the Nature of Science

 

Ratings

Overall Rating:

5 stars
Content Quality: 5 stars
Effectiveness: 5 stars
Ease of Use: 5 stars
Reviewed: Jan 20, 2002 by Teacher Education
Overview: This is the complete text of a book, for teachers, published by the National Academy of Sciences. The book addresses the rationale for teaching science students about evolution, the nature of science, the National Science Education Standards, and activities for teaching K-12 students about evolution and the nature of science.
Learning Goals: To present a summary of observational evidence for evolution through discussions, dialogs, and activities. To assist teachers in presenting evolution theory in the context of the nature of science.
Target Student Population: Preservice teachers, inservice teachers, and interested college and high school students. Other educators and policy makers who design, deliver, and oversee classroom instruction in biology.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills: None
Type of Material: Reference, resource material - Web pages of a complete source that is an informational document.
Technical Requirements: None

Evaluation and Observation

Content Quality

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science website is organized into chapters that discuss many aspects of evolution including why to teach the subject, suggested activities, and selecting instructional materials. Presented by the National Academy of Sciences it offers a surprising broad view of the teaching of evolution. Not only does it consider current and historical scientific theories but also includes a discussion of creationist theory. An excellent resource and reference for sometimes considered a delicate subject. A must read for all science preservice and inservice teachers and certainly teacher educators who teach not only science methods but general methods as well.
Concerns: None

Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: This site could be used in variety of ways and at different educational levels. Instructors of science method courses could encourage preservice teachers to use this website as a resource. The site is not only a reference site but provides for activities, lesson plans, and ties to the state and national standards. Students in an education class could be assigned chapters and asked to use this and other resources to design further student lessons. The discussion of scientific and creation theories alone make this a worthwhile site for teachers and teacher educators. Several activities are presented that could be useful for exploring the evolution concept. The activities alone provide an excellent teaching tool but preservice and inservice teachers should be encouraged to read the entire document.
Concerns: Some teachers may assign the site to students to read. For advanced classes or home schooling with the instructor it is acceptable, it should not be used as an assignment without engaging in the activities.

Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty

Rating: 5 stars
Strengths: Website well organized for educators to use as a resource. Very simple to navigate and read.
Concerns: May be considered by some to be a ?dry? reading resource, and thus miss the eight excellent activities for teaching evolution.