Science Surprises: Exploring the Nature of Science

Rated 5.00/5 based on 3 reviews
A text supplement for students in any grade 7-10 science class, it is used with several freely available interactive lessons for a unit on the nature of science (NoS). The unit addresses many of the common misconceptions about NoS. It satisfies virtually all the latest NoS standards (in NGSS, CCSS). It includes strategies for critical and skeptical thinking. Teacher's Guide is also available. More

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About Lawrence Flammer

With an MS in zoology, I taught high school biology for 38 years, "retired" in 1997. I also taught earth science, physical science, life science and computer programming. In 1998, I developed a website for the ENSI program (Evolution and Nature of Science Institute). The site provides classroom-tested interactive lessons on the nature of science and evolution (including geological age dating). These lessons are freely available for download. The site continues to be very popular, with upwards of 2,000 hits per month, and more than 600 teachers on the ENSI listserves. Its lessons are used in many undergraduate classes and increasingly in AP Biology classes. The textbook "Science Surprises" evolved out of a text supplement I developed for teaching the nature of science in the 1960s. I have also enjoyed mentoring new science teachers, both directly and online (with the eMSS program out of UC Santa Cruz New Teacher Center).

I have published a few articles on teaching evolution and the nature of science:
“The Evolution Solution” in the ABT's American Biology Teacher in March, 2006. You can access it easily at . The article details the approach to teaching evolution that I used for most of my teaching years.

"Chromosome Connections: Compelling Clues to Common Ancestry" in the ABT's American Biology Teacher in February, 2013, available at . Using tangible features of chromosomes to reveal different lines of evidence of human ancestry.

"Patterns in Time" in NSTA's Science Scope in February, 2011, available at . Engaging lessons for developing a personal time sense for deep time, and the patterns of emergence for the major classes of vertebrates over tens of millions of years.


Review by: kvanhoeck on July 16, 2014 :
As a high school biology teacher, I have used numerous lessons from the ENSI website over the years. I always try to start out my school year delving into how science works, what science is and isn't, the difference between hypotheses, theories and laws, etc. Larry Flammer has written a very accessible, detailed and easy to use unit on the nature of science. It's written in a student friendly manner and includes current examples of scientific studies and controversies. There is a teacher's guide that is correlated to NGSS and shows which ENSI activities should be used to demonstrate particular ideas about the nature of science. The unit is organized using the 5E learning cycle and includes a day-by-day lesson plan on how to implement the unit. It's all here in one package.
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Martin Nickels on June 29, 2014 :
Disclaimer (of sorts): I am a colleague of Larry's in the Evolution and Nature of Science Institues (ENSI) whose lessons and labs are still available online at the website listed in Larry's biographical statement above. So, I might be biased, but I really don't think I am in stating that I think this book is an excellent resource for science teachers. Larry has managed to describe both accurately and succinctly the major ideas regarding the nature of science and scientific knowledge that I deem as essential to teaching science effectively. The reality is that almost all of the students that take science classes through college will never become scientists and (depending on the subject) much of the "science" that they learn will change to some extent over their lifetime. But, the nature of the scientific approach to the world and the importance and impact science will have on their lives will only increase. For that reason, Larry's work here focusing on science itself is of immense importance. I could not be happier with the product of Larry's years-long endeavor to improve the teaching of science at the pre-college level. This book is as accessible, practical (with its links to specific ENSI lessons) and accurate as any teacher could want. I know of no other publication available that succeeds as well as this book does.
Martin K. Nickels, Ph.D. June 29, 2014
(reviewed the day of purchase)

Review by: Lewis Held, Jr on June 23, 2014 :
As a practicing scientist, I can affirm the validity of this book's portrayal of how science works. Mr. Flammer is a seasoned educator, and every page benefits from his skilled expertise. What I like most about it is not its professional quality, nor its didactic utility, nor its accessible clarity, but rather its advocacy of science as fun--not just for nerds, but for everyone! It has the feeling of an amusement park that beckons you to explore. Its style reminds me of Carl Sagan at his best. If ever there were a book to whet a student's appetite for science, this is it!
(reviewed the day of purchase)

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