Opening Both Eyes: Gaining an Integrated Perspective of Geology and Biology

Opening Both Eyes: Gaining an Integrated Perspective of Geology and Biology

Renee M. Clary (Mississippi State University, USA) and James H. Wandersee (Louisiana State University, USA)
Copyright: © 2015 |Pages: 19
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-7363-2.ch074


The focus of this chapter is an exploration of integrated geology and biology learning—from past to present. The chapter explains why active and integrated geological and biological learning became the lodestar of the authors' decade-long EarthScholars Research Group's research program. The authors argue that using an active and integrated geobiological pedagogical approach when teaching geology or biology provides natural opportunities for students to learn and do authentic scientific inquiry in a manner similar to how contemporary scientists conduct their work. The authors further review research that concerns the active, integrated geobiological science learning approach—in middle school, secondary, and college classrooms, laboratories, and field studies. The authors favor a gradual course transition to this pedagogy, while highlighting the advantages of adopting such an approach—both for teachers and students. Finally, the authors conclude the chapter with challenges and future directions in the design of active, integrated geobiological science learning environments.
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Benefits Of Integrated Scientific Learning: The Human Constructivist View

As firm supporters of the inclusion of the history and philosophy of science in science teaching (Matthews, 2003), we recognize that the most effective methods for science instruction do not necessarily involve new approaches or the latest technology. In our research and historical investigations, we concluded that the re-appropriation of some historical techniques can add value in modern science classrooms. For example, our research demonstrated that several historical visualization methods—including aquarium view graphics or scientific caricatures—can be used for effective teaching and assessment (Clary & Wandersee, 2005, 2010a). We further recognize that the older, more integrated approach in science classrooms more authentically represents the interdisciplinary nature in which contemporary scientists conduct research. We propose a return to the “natural philosophy” by which science instruction was historically conducted.

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