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Nature of science (1)


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Nature of Science Past Present and Future

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Nature of science (1)

  2. 2. OUTLINE  What Is and What Is Not Nature of Science  Changing Face of Nature of Science  Research on Student’s Conceptions  Research on Teacher’s Conceptions  The Early Years Research on Teaching and Learning of NOS  Contemporary Years –A Shift In Perspective Research on Teaching and Learning of NOS  Assessing Conceptions of Nature of Science
  3. 3. Norman G. Lederman  Professor of Mathematics and Science Education at the Illinois Institute of Technology  Research Areas  Development of students’ and teachers’ conceptions of nature of science and scientific inquiry  Teachers’ knowledge structures of subject matter and pedagogy, pedagogical content knowledge, and teachers' concerns and beliefs  President of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching (NARST), the Association for the Education of Teachers in Science (AETS), and the Oregon Educational Research Association.
  4. 4. When we attempt to distinguish science from other academic endeavors (political science, history, art, religion) “The values and assumptions inherent to scientific knowledge and its development” It is the NOS that establishes the difference
  5. 5. Discussion Understanding NOS is often defended as being a critical component of scientific literacy. Do you think that you are a scientifically literate person? How do you implement the NOS in your daily life? (Tuğçe)
  6. 6. Arguments on Why Understanding of NOS Is Necessary Cultural To appreciate the value of science as part of contemporary culture Utilitarian To make sense of science and manage the technological objects and process in everyday life Democratic For informed decision- making on socio-scientific issues Moral To develop an understanding of the norms of the scientific community Science Learning To facilitate the learning of science subject matter
  7. 7. What Is and What Is Not NOS  Disagreements about the definition and meaning of NOS among philosophers, historians and science educators  In general, science educators define the NOS as the epistemology of science, science as a way of knowing, of the values of beliefs inherent to the development of scientific knowledge.  Historians and philosophers of science do not agree with this scientific definitions because they find it too general.  The issue of the existence of an objective reality as compared to phenomenal realties  Lederman & Abd-El-Khalick (2002) suggested that there is an acceptable level of generality regarding the NOS that can be made accessible to K-12 students and relevant to their daily lives
  8. 8. The Aspects of NOS Observation Descriptive statements about natural phenomena are directly accessible to senses and about which several observers can reach consensus with relative ease 1. Distinction Between Observation and Inference Descriptions of the morphology of the remnants of a living organism Development of explanations about observed morhology in terms of its possible contributions to function Inference Development of explanations about the observed morphology in terms of its possible contributions to function
  9. 9. Many individuals hold a simplistic, hierarchical relationship between observations, hypothesis, theory and laws Myth : Hypotheses become theories that in turn become laws Hypothesis initially developed from observations and then, become theories and theories become laws depending on the availability of supporting evidence Law Theory Hypothesis Observations 2. Distinction between Scientific Laws and Theories A former U.S. president said ‘I am not troubled by the idea of evolution because it was, in his words, “just a theory.”
  10. 10. Social and Cultural Context Alternative View of the Relationship of the Categories of Scientific Knowledge Scientific Law Scientific Theory Boyle's Law (1670s) Relates to the pressure of a gas to its volume at a constant temperature Kinetic Molecular Theory(1850s) Provides an explanation for what is observed and described by Boyle’s Law Scientific Laws and Theories are different kinds of knowledge and ones does not develop or become transformed into the other. Theories are as legitimate a product of science as Laws Laws are statements or descriptions of the relationship among observable phenomena Theories are inferred explanations for observable phenomena
  11. 11. 3. Scientific knowledge involves human imagination and creativity Science involves the invention of explanations and this requires a great deal of creativity by scientists. Atoms, black holes, and species are functional theoretical models rather than faithful copies of reality “I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” Albert Einstein
  12. 12. Is it possible that some scientists may look at the same pieces of evidence or set of data and see different thing or come up with different conclusions? Scientists agree that about 65 millions of years ago the dinosaurs became extinct. However, they disagree about what had caused this to happen even if they look at the same pieces of evidence or set of data 4. Scientific knowledge is subjective and theory-laden Scientists’ theoretical commitments, beliefs, previous knowledge, training , experiences and expectations influence their work. Science rarely starts with neutral observations. Observations are motivated and guided by questions or problems. These are derived from within certain theoretical perspectives
  13. 13. Science affects and is affected by the various elements and intellectual spheres of the culture in which it is embedded. These elements include social fabric, power structures, politics, socio- economic factors, philosophy and religion 5. Scientific Knowledge is socially and culturally embedded “The Church banned books explaining Copernicus’ suggestion that the sun was at the center of the solar system”.
  14. 14. Aspirin  Aspirin used as a headache remedy for many years before the scientist informed us that it carries the risk of possible development of ulcers  Recently, doctors have found that  Aspirin is useful in decreasing the risk of heart disease  Even more recently, researchers have found that ulcers are not caused by aspirin Is something wrong? Are the scientists making premature claims? Should they wait until all the facts are in before making their recommendations?
  15. 15. 6. Scientific Knowledge, including Facts, Theories and Laws, is tentative and subject to change Myth: Scientific knowledge is absolute or certain Scientific claims change as new evidence, made possible through advances in theory, and technology, is brought to bear on existing theories or laws or as old evidence is reinterpreted in the light of new theoretical advances or shifts in the directions of established research programs As new information arises, modifications to old theories are “allowed”
  16. 16. The Aspects of NOS (cont’d)  Distinction between NOS and science process or scientific inquiry  Scientific Process: are activities related to collecting and analyzing data and drawing conclusion  Scientific Inquiry: involves various science processes used in a cyclical manner  NOS: epistemological underpinnings of the activities of science and the characteristics of resulting knowledge NOS and Scientific Inquiry are intimately related; inquiry experiences provide students with foundational experiences upon which to reflect about aspects of NOS.
  17. 17. Discussion Do you think that categorizing the aspects of nature of science (as subjectivity, tentativeness, creativity, etc) is a good way to understand the nature of science, or making this categorization is a problematic issue? Why? (Birgül)
  18. 18. The Changing Face of NOS  NOS can be a moving target…  Perceptions of NOS are tentative, if not more so, than scientific knowledge itself  Analogous to scientific knowledge.  Perceptions may change as additional evidence is collected or the same evidence is viewed in a different way Is NOS itself changeable?
  19. 19. Science as a body of knowledge Science as a set of processes Science as a way of knowing: NOS Science as a way of knowing: NOS Emphasis given to NOS in science textbook
  20. 20. Emphasis given to NOS in science textbook
  21. 21. Research on Students’ Conceptions Early studies include assessments of attitudes or conflated the NOS with attitude toward science Results  Wilson, 1954 - Scientific knowledge is absolute and scientists’ primary objective is to uncover natural laws and truths  Klopfer and Cooley,1961 - High school students’ understandings of the scientific enterprise and of scientists was inadequate  Miller (1963) - Student conceptions that were considered totally inadequate
  22. 22.  Mackay, 1971; Students lacked sufficient knowledge of  The role of creativity in science  The functions of scientific models  The roles of theories and their relation to research  The disctintions among hypotheses, laws and theories  The relationship between experimentation, models, theories and absolute truth  the fact that science is not solely concerned with the collection and classification of facts  What constitutes a scientific explanation  The interrelationships among and interdependence of the different branches of science Research on Students’ Conceptions (cont’d)
  23. 23.  Bady, 1979 - Students have a simplistic and naively absolutist view of the nature of scientific hypotheses and theories  Zeidler, Walker, Ackett and Simmons, 2002 - A significant number students did not understand scientific knowledge to be tentative and partially subjective and involve creativity  Sutherland and Dennick, 2002  Worldviews, Language and culture affected students’ views  Scarhmann and Noh, 2004 - Students had an empiricist/absolutist view of science Research on Students’ Conceptions (cont’d) “Scientific Knowledge is tentative and subject to change.” One of the misconceptions that may arise among students is that scientists make premature claims therefore scientific knowledge is subject to change. How can we handle it as a teacher? (Burcu)
  24. 24. So… The overwhelming conclusion is that students did not possess adequate conceptions of the nature of science or scientific reasoning… Agreement among educators and scientists that promoting accurate students’ understandings of NOS should be a primary objective of science education
  25. 25. RESEARCH ON TEACHER’S CONCEPTIONS Research Efforts Teacher’s conception of NOS Teacher must possess an adequate knowledge of what he/she is attempting to communicate to students.
  26. 26. Teachers possessed serious misconceptions  Miller’s, 1963  Many teachers do not understand science as well as their students, much less understand science well enough to teach it effectively  Carey and Stauss, 1968  A methods course “specifically oriented toward NOS” could significantly improve teachers’ viewpoints  Courses in the history and philosophy of science be included in teacher preparation programs Research on Teacher’s Conceptions (cont’d)
  27. 27. The anthropocentric (people-centered) nature of the subjects’ beliefs significantly influenced teacher’s conceptualizations of science, the theory of evolution, and how one would teach evolution Bloom, 1989 Teachers believed science is people centered, with its primary purpose being for the benefit of humankind According to Bloom’s study teachers believed science is people centered. How this situation can affect a teacher’s science teaching? (Tuğçe)
  28. 28.  Aguirre, Haggerty, and Linder, 1990  Preservice teachers did not possess adequate conceptions of the nature of science and there could be some connection between teachers’ views of NOS and their conceptions of learning and teaching  King, 1991  Although most of the teachers felt that the history and philosophy of science were important, their lack of education in these areas left them lacking with respect to how such topics could be integrated within instruction  The lack of science teachers’ background in the history and philosophy of science clearly influences the teaching of science Research on Teacher’s Conceptions (cont’d)
  29. 29. So… Research on NOS was fairly descriptive and served to establish that neither teachers nor students possessed what were considered adequate understandings of NOS…
  30. 30. Discussion What are the similarities and differences between teacher and sudent conceptions of nature of science that Lederman highlights? Where this conceptions (teacher and student) could be stemming from? (Dilek)
  31. 31. TEACHING AND LEARNING OF NATURE OF SCIENCE (THE EARLY YEARS) Research on Students Curriculum Projects History of Science Cases for High Schools” (HOSC) Physical Science Study Curriculum (PSSC) 1960s Curriculum Projects Science: A Way of Knowing
  32. 32. Discussion What benefits does it supply to education when it is integrated to curriculum? (Sevgi)
  33. 33. “History of Science Cases for High Schools” (HOSC) Curriculum Klopfer & Cooley, 1963  The use of materials derived from the history of science would help to convey important ideas about science and scientists  The HOSC instructional approach was an effective way to improve students’ conceptions of NOS  Physical Science Study Curriculum (PSSC)  Jones (1965)  Laboratory-centered, experimental approach to physics that is designed to emphasize process as opposed to simply science content
  34. 34. 1960s Curriculum Projects  Yager and Wick (1966)  Three approaches of the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study (BSCS) Blue Version  The textbook-laboratory approach (TL)  The multi-referenced laboratory approach (MRL)  The multi-referenced laboratory and ideas approach (MRLI)  A multi-referenced, laboratory-focused approach to the teaching of biology would produce increased student growth in understanding the nature of the scientific enterprise (Ramsey & Howe, 1969)
  35. 35. “Science: A Way of Knowing” Aikenhead (1979)  The primary goals of the curriculum were to have students develop;  a realistic, nonmythical understanding of the nature, processes, and social aspects of science;  a variety of inquiry skills and a realistic feeling of personal competence in the areas of interpreting, responding to, and evaluating their scientific and technological society;  insight into the interaction of science and technology and, in turn, into the interaction of these with other aspects of society  Significant differences were found in students’ conceptions of NOS
  36. 36. Studies of Specific Programs  Carey, Evans, Honda, Jay, and Unger (1989) assessed the effectiveness of a unit specifically designed to introduce the constructivist view of science on students ’ epistemological views  Their instructional unit was designed to emphasize theory building and reflection on the theory-building process  The instructional unit appeared to have been at least partially successful in enabling students to differentiate ideas and experiments. When we think about Turkish old and new science education program, what can be said about NOS?
  37. 37. S0…  There was an implicit assumption - Research focused solely on the development of curricula and/or instructional materials.  Student conceptions could be improved if a concerted effort was made in that direction BUT!  The teacher’s interpretation and enactment of the curriculum were ignored  The effectiveness of NOS-oriented curricula could only mean that the instructional approach, style, rapport, and personality of the teacher are important variables in effective science teaching.  If the same curriculum is effective for one teacher and ineffective for another, and the variable of student ability is controlled, a significant factor must be the teacher
  38. 38. Research on Teachers What can be done to improve teachers’ knowledge on NOS? (Sevgi)
  39. 39. Research on Teachers Teacher’s behavior and the classroom environment are necessarily and directly influenced by the teacher’s conception of NOS Teacher’s Understanding of NOS affects his/her students’ conceptions Two Assumptions
  40. 40. • advocated by science educators, an understanding of NOS is a learning outcome that can be facilitated through process skill instruction, science content coursework, and doing science • utilized science process skills instruction and/or scientific inquiry activities or manipulated certain aspects of the learning environment Implicit Approach Explicit Approach • advocated by researchers, utilized elements from history and philosophy of science and/or instruction focused on various aspects of NOS to improve science teachers’ conceptions
  41. 41.  Kleinman’s (1965)  The influence of the individual teacher on student learning , two directions can be pursued;  study what a teacher does that affects students’ understandings of NOS  Study on teachers’ knowledge  Yager (1966) - There are significant differences in students’ abilities to understand NOS when taught by different teachers  Kimball (1968) - Inclusion of a philosophy of science course as part of the undergraduate science major curriculum might improve the teacher’s conceptions of NOS.  Barufaldi, Bethel, and Lamb (1977) argued that argued that “a major affective goal of science teacher education should be the enhancement of the philosophical viewpoint that science is a tentative enterprise and that scientific knowledge is not absolute”
  42. 42.  Riley (1979) argued that teachers’ understandings of and attitudes toward science would improve as a result of first-hand, manipulative experiences and enhanced proficiency in the processes of science  Haukoos and Penick (1983)  They argued that gains in the development of students’ inquiry skills and science process skills might be related to aspects of the classroom environment, such as the extent to which instruction is directive or non-directive (Discovery Classroom Climate and Non-discovery Classroom Climate)  The classroom climate influenced students’ learning of science processes  Akindehin (1988) argued that attempts to help science teachers develop adequate conceptions of NOS need to be explicit.
  43. 43. So…  Science teachers do not possess adequate conceptions of NOS, irrespective of the instrument used to assess understandings  Techniques to improve teachers’ conceptions have met with some success when they have included either historical aspects of scientific knowledge or direct, explicit attention to nature of science  Academic background variables are not significantly related to teachers’ conceptions of nature of science
  44. 44. TEACHING AND LEARNING OF NATURE OF SCIENCE (CONTEMPORARY YEARS— A SHIFT IN PERSPECTIVE) Earlier research on student and teacher characteristics or curriculum development to the exclusion of any direct focus on actual classroom practice and teacher behaviors The relationship between teacher’s conceptions and realities of daily classroom practice. Research efforts should “extend well beyond teachers’ understanding of nature of science, as the translation of these understandings into classroom practice is mediated by a complex set of situational variables” (Lederman, 1992)
  45. 45.  Duschl and Wright (1989);  The nature and role of scientific theories are not integral components in the constellation of influences affecting teachers’ educational decisions.  NOS was not being considered or taught to students as a consequence of perceived students’ needs, curriculum guide objectives, and accountability Research on Teacher - Contemporary Years (cont’d)
  46. 46.  Lederman (1999) investigated old assumption that teachers’ conceptions of NOS directly influenced classroom practice  Altough the teachers possessed good understandings of NOS, classroom practice was not directly affected.  Even in the classrooms that exhibited some similarity with teachers’ understandings, students did not learn NOS, because the teachers did not explicitly intend to teach NOS. Research on Teacher - Contemporary Years (cont’d) Do teachers' conceptions of NOS (teachers possess good understanding of NOS directly influence classroom practice and students' understandings of NOS? (Burak)
  47. 47. Several variables have been shown to mediate and constrain the translation of teachers’ NOS conceptions into practice. • pressure to cover content • classroom management and organizational principles • concerns for student abilities and motivation • institutional constraints • teaching experience • Discomfort with understandings of NOS • the lack of resources and experiences for assessing understandings of NOS Research on Teacher - Contemporary Years (cont’d)
  48. 48.  Bell, Lederman, and Abd-El-Khalick (2000)  Possessing an understanding of NOS is not automatically translated into a teacher’s classroom practice. NOS must be planned for and included in instructional objectives, like any other subject matter content  Akerson, Abd-El-Khalick, and Lederman (2000)  The courses explicitly should address aspects of NOS with a reflective, activity-based approach  Explicit attention to NOS was an effective way to improve teachers’ understandings of NOS There has been a shift to more explicit instructional approaches in research related to teachers’ conceptions of NOS.
  49. 49.  Abell, Martini, and George (2001)  Students’ failure to apply what they learned beyond the learning activities themselves, to the scientific community in general, was a consequence of not making an explicit connection between what scientists do and the activities completed in class  Lin and Chen (2002)  Helping teachers learn how to use the history of science in science instruction positively influenced the teachers’ understandings of NOS Research on Teacher - Contemporary Years (cont’d)
  50. 50. The depth of NOS understanding, subject matter knowledge, and the perceived relationship between NOS and science subject matter affected the teachers’ learning and teaching of NOS This investigation illustrated for the first time that knowledge of subject matter was a mediating factor in the successful teaching of NOS. How does subject matter knowledge affect on the successful teaching of NOS? (Burak) Schwartz and Lederman (2002) investigated the effect of subject matter knowledge on teacher’s understainding of NOS;
  51. 51.  Bell and Lederman, 2003  Decision-making is complex, and the data did not support the assumption that an understanding of NOS would contribute prominently to one’s decisions.  NOS may not have been considered because individuals need to have instruction on how NOS understandings could be used in aiding the decision-making process.  Abd-El-Khalick (2005)  Students who were enrolled in the philosophy of science course developed more in-depth understandings of NOS than those just enrolled in the science methods course. Research on Teacher - Contemporary Years (cont’d)
  52. 52. Research on Students General agreement among researchers concerning the strong influence of  curriculum constraints,  administrative policies,  teaching context on the translation of teachers’ conceptions into classroom practice Research efforts to identify factors that do influence students’ conceptions
  53. 53.  Teacher behaviors and classroom climate variables was related to specific changes in students’ understandings of NOS (Lederman & Druger, 1985) The classes of the most effective teachers;  frequent inquiry-oriented questioning,  active participation by students in problem-solving activities,  frequent teacher-student interactions,  infrequent use of independent seat work, and little emphasis on rote memory/recall  With respect to classroom climate, classes of the more effective teachers were more supportive, pleasant, and “risk free,” with students expected to think analytically about the subject matter presented Research on Students- Contemporary Years (cont’d)
  54. 54.  Zeidler & Lederman, 1989 focused on the nature of teacher-student interactions and the specific language used  When teachers used “ordinary language” without qualification, students tended to adopt a realist conception of science  When teachers were careful to use precise language with appropriate qualifications, students tended to adopt an instrumentalist conception  Abd-El-Khalick and Lederman,2000; assessed the influence of three history of science courses on college students’ and teachers’ conceptions of NOS  When change was noted, it was typically with respect to some explicit attention to NOS in history the courses Research on Students- Contemporary Years (cont’d)
  55. 55.  Moss (2001); assessed the influence of hands-on activities on students’ understandings of NOS  He recognized that making NOS explicit was necessary  Several students made slight changes in response to implicit messages, which led to the conclusion that there is still a valuable place for implicit learning Comparison study of explicit and implicit approaches;  Khishfe and Abd-El-Khalick (2002) investigated the effectiveness of explicit, reflective approaches to teaching NOS relative to implicit approaches  The implicit group showed no changes in views of NOS, whereas students in the explicit group all exhibited improvement in their understandings of one or more aspects of NOS Research on Students- Contemporary Years (cont’d)
  56. 56. Research on Students- Contemporary Years (cont’d) • Sadler, Chambers, and Zeidler (2004) focused on how students’ conceptions of NOS affected how they interpreted and evaluated conflicting evidence on a socio-scientific issue  How the students reacted to conflicting evidence was at least partially related to their views on NOS.  An understanding of NOS is important because it contributes to an individual’s decision-making. What is the importance of knowing about NOS on the evaluation of conflicting evidences on socio-scientific issues? (Burcu)
  57. 57. Why is it important to take an explicit approach to teach the NOS? (Dilek) Discussion
  58. 58. Implicit Versus Explicit (Reflective) Approach Implicit Approach NOS can only be acquired implicitly through practice; NOS “cannot be taught directly, rather it is learned, like language, by being part of a culture” (Duschl, 2004) Explicit (Reflective) Approach NOS cannot be learned automatically or implicitly through engagement in doing science: It should consciously addressed as part of the science curriculum through structured reflection on practice Empirical evidence weighs on the side of the (explicit) reflective perspective both for Students and Teachers “Explicit” has instructional implication; Students should be provided with structured opportunities to reflect on their engagement with science Such reflection is undertaken from lenses that draw on the conceptual tools from history, philosophy, and psychology of science “Explicit” has curricular implications Enhancing learners NOS’ conceptions should be planned for instead of being anticipated as a side effect or secondary product of learning content or engagement with science activities
  59. 59. Early 1960s; The first formal assessments emphasized quantitative approaches, as was characteristic of the overwhelming majority of science education research investigations Prior to the mid- 1980s; With few exceptions; researchers were content to develop instruments that followed for easily “graded” and quantified measures of individuals’ understandings More recently; In an attempt to gain more in-depth understandings of students’ and teachers’ thinking, educational researchers have resorted to the use of more open-ended probes and interviews. The history of the assessment of nature of science mirrors the changes that have occurred in both psychometrics and educational research design over the past few decades.
  60. 60. • Nature of Scientific Knowledge Scale (NSKS) • Measure of secondary students’ understanding of NOS • Nature of Science Scale (NOSS) • determine whether science teachers have the same view of science as scientists • Views of Science Test (VOST) • measure understanding of the tentativeness of science Cooley & Klopfer, 1961 • Test on Understanding Science (TOUS) • The content of the TOUS has been criticized and has fallen into disfavor • Wisconsin Inventory of Science Processes (WISP) • Excellent validity and reliability data, mostly used • Science Process Inventory (SPI) • Assess an understanding of the methods and processes by which scientific knowledge evolves Scientific Literacy Research Center 1967 Welch, 1967 Kimball, 1968 Billeh & Hasan, 1975 Hillis, 1975 Rubba, 1976 • Nature of Science Test (NOST) • measures the individual’s knowledge of the assumptions, processes of science and the characteristics of scientific knowledge
  61. 61. • Critical Incidents • use “critical incidents” (descriptions/scenarios of actual classroom events) to assess teachers’ conceptions of NOS • Modified Nature of Scientific Knowledge Scale (M-NSKS) • Views of Nature of Science B,C,D (VNOS B,C,D,E) • open-ended questions that focus on various aspects of NOS, with the differences incontext-specific Questions, developmental appropriateness and language Cotham & Smith, 1981 Aikenhead, Fleming, & Ryan 1989 Lederman & O’Malley, 1990 Meichtry, 1992 Nott & Wellington, 1995 Lederman, Abd-El- Khalick, Bell, and Schwartz (1998-2004). • Conceptions of Scientific Theories Test (COST) • linking certain viewpoints to the “highly prized” tentative and revisionary conception of scientific knowledge • Views on Science-Technology-Society (VOSTS) • assess students’ understanding of the nature of science, technology, and their interactions with society • Views of Nature of Science, Form A (VNOS-A) • open-ended survey designed to be used in conjunction with follow- up interviews
  62. 62. Criticism of Assessment Two critical issues have surrounded the traditional paper- and –pencil assessments of NOS  Assessment instruments are interpreted in biased manner  Lederman and O’Malley (1990) highlighted that discrepancies between their own interpretations of students’ written responses and the interpretations that surfaced from actual interviews of the same students  Some assessment instruments appear to be poorly constructed  Some researchers insist that students’ and teachers’ understandings of NOS are best assessed through observations of behavior during inquiry activities BUT the discrepancies that often exist between one’s beliefs/knowledge and behavior.
  63. 63. Discussion In order to understand students or teachers' NOS concepts both the likert-type scales and open ended questionnaire have been using. When the philosophical perspective is considered, which type of questionnaire is appropriate to collect data? (Birgül)
  64. 64. When they introduce their ideas to public they may end up having less credibility to what they say. How can Nature of Science understanding help scientists regarding this issue? When scientists talk about climate change, they may end up having opposing ideas regarding different perspectives of the climate change. Is it something good or bad? How this issue can be addressed through Nature of Science?