Ecology nature of science: Shared discussions and practices among ecologists and High School Teachers

Rebecca C. Jordan, Wesley R. Brooks, Jacqueline R. Delisi, Steven A. Gray, Alan R. Berkowitz, G. Middendorf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


While scientific and environmental literacy is said to be low amongst Americans, there are little data regarding the public's ability to think critically about environmental data. Many grade school science teachers aim to increase their students' capacity to use scientific and environmental information outside of the classroom, but fulfilling these goals requires a general understanding of scientific concepts and a keen understanding of how scientific evidence and claims are generated. In this manuscript, we describe the professional development elicited by our Ecosystems and Evidence project. As part of this project, we gathered a team of master teachers, science educators, and ecologists. This team was then formed in to two learning communities in New York and New Jersey, to collectively discuss the nature of science (NOS) construct and to develop a framework for what we termed ecology nature of science (ENOS). Participating teachers developed a more practice-oriented view of their instruction and assessment that centered on the tenets of NOS and ENOS. Specifically, we noted a shift in their instructional style from encouraging their students to learn about science to actually engage in science. We argue that practice-oriented experiences that articulate the practices of science within specific contexts much like ENOS, can enable learners (whether they be professional teachers or students) to use new science concepts and skills in a more meaningful context and provide an authentic sense of how science is done.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number223
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


  • Ecology education
  • Environmental literacy
  • Epistemology of science
  • K-12 education
  • Next Generation Science Standards
  • Science education
  • Science literacy


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