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* What ideas about science do school students form as a result of their experiences in and out of school?
* How might science teaching in schools develop a more scientifically-literate society?
* How do school students understand disputes about scientific issues including those which have social significance, such as the irradiation of food?
There have been calls in the UK and elsewhere for a greater public understanding of science underpinned by, amongst other things, school science education. However, the relationship between school science, scientific literacy and the public understanding of science remains controversial.
In this book, the authors argue that an understanding of science goes beyond learning the facts, laws and theories of science and that it involves understanding the nature of scientific knowledge itself and the relationships between science and society. Results of a major study into the understanding of these issues by school students aged 9 to 16 are described. These results suggest that the success of the school science curriculum in promoting this kind of understanding is at best limited.
The book concludes by discussing ways in which the school science curriculum could be adapted to better equip students as future citizens in our modern scientific and technological society. It will be particularly relevant to science teachers, advisers and inspectors, teacher educators and curriculum planners.