What is Science

What is Science?

What is science — a collection of facts, a means of understanding the world we live in? I’m Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Bekken: I think the most interesting thing that I do is study how students learn science.

Geoscientist Barbara Bekken. She says the challenge of practicing science is not just learning information, but learning how to use that information in new, useful and creative ways.

Bekken: I think a lot of that has to do with how students conceptualize the way knowledge is created. Over time, students learn that they can be knowers. Although that sounds very simple it’s a highly complex process for students to change from taking knowledge that is out there , to owning it.

So science students have this huge vocabulary to put together at the same time they’re building a series of mobiles in their head — cognitive structures that allow them to connect that language to some sort of process. They’re so busy putting together vocabulary and getting up to speed with what we know about science that to be able to use it is another big step. So, after you get an idea of how the science is constructed, then you have to put it to work.

Putting science to work means pursing a question or idea, going through a rigorous process of experimentation, gathering evidence, and letting that evidence inform your search.

Bekken: Too many people say “Oh, I have this cool idea; let me go get the evidence to support it.” And that’s not science it’s the other way around.” You have a hunch and you go out and gather the evidence, but you let the evidence lead the answer of the hunch, not the other way around.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.

What is Science

You go out and gather the evidence and let the evidence lead the answer to your hunch, not the other way around.
Air Date:02/13/2015
Scientist:
Transcript:

What is Science?

What is science -- a collection of facts, a means of understanding the world we live in? I'm Jim Metzner and this is the Pulse of the Planet.

Bekken: I think the most interesting thing that I do is study how students learn science.

Geoscientist Barbara Bekken. She says the challenge of practicing science is not just learning information, but learning how to use that information in new, useful and creative ways.

Bekken: I think a lot of that has to do with how students conceptualize the way knowledge is created. Over time, students learn that they can be knowers. Although that sounds very simple it's a highly complex process for students to change from taking knowledge that is out there , to owning it.

So science students have this huge vocabulary to put together at the same time they're building a series of mobiles in their head -- cognitive structures that allow them to connect that language to some sort of process. They're so busy putting together vocabulary and getting up to speed with what we know about science that to be able to use it is another big step. So, after you get an idea of how the science is constructed, then you have to put it to work.

Putting science to work means pursing a question or idea, going through a rigorous process of experimentation, gathering evidence, and letting that evidence inform your search.

Bekken: Too many people say "Oh, I have this cool idea; let me go get the evidence to support it." And that's not science it's the other way around." You have a hunch and you go out and gather the evidence, but you let the evidence lead the answer of the hunch, not the other way around.

Pulse of the Planet is made possible in part by Virginia Tech, inventing the future through a hands-on approach to education and research.