Some girl in a café in Saarbrücken
Some girl in a café in Saarbrücken
What Is Scientific Literacy?
Yesterday, we considered the meaning of scientific literacy in America… or lack thereof. So let’s take this discussion one step further as it’s a particularly interesting topic. According to the National Academies:
Scientific literacy is the knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts and processes required for personal decision making, participation in civic and cultural affairs, and economic productivity. It also includes specific types of abilities. In the National Science Education Standards, the content standards define scientific literacy.
Scientific literacy means that a person can ask, find, or determine answers to questions derived from curiosity about everyday experiences. It means that a person has the ability to describe, explain, and predict natural phenomena. Scientific literacy entails being able to read with understanding articles about science in the popular press and to engage in social conversation about the validity of the conclusions. Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed. A literate citizen should be able to evaluate the quality of scientific information on the basis of its source and the methods used to generate it. Scientific literacy also implies the capacity to pose and evaluate arguments based on evidence and to apply conclusions from such arguments appropriately.
Individuals will display their scientific literacy in different ways, such as appropriately using technical terms, or applying scientific concepts and processes. And individuals often will have differences in literacy in different domains, such as more understanding of life-science concepts and words, and less understanding of physical-science concepts and words.
Scientific literacy has different degrees and forms; it expands and deepens over a lifetime, not just during the years in school. But the attitudes and values established toward science in the early years will shape a person’s development of scientific literacy as an adult.
Okay. Now if we assume Monday’s comment thread is representative of Intersection readership at large, most folks agree that quizzing the general populace on a series of facts doesn’t necessarily provide much information. So, let’s continue…
First, are you satisfied with the definition outlined above? Further, how we might more reliably measure the state of scientific literacy in this country?
I think I just fell head-over-heels in love (or at least “really strong like”) with Bunpei Yorifuji’s Wonderful Life With The Elements book. Each element becomes a character, giving a cartoonish face to their particular chemical properties. Sure, some aren’t wearing pants … but minerals do as minerals want (peek through the book preview if you don’t believe me).
Periods are divided by their odd haircut choices, and the age of the element since discovery via facial hair. Other physical and chemical characteristics are evident by attire and appearance. If you’re looking for an early Christmas present for your favorite science blogger, just go ahead and put it in the mail with my name on it.
When asked during a reddit AMA session three days ago whether or not he would consider doing new episodes of Bill Nye the Science Guy, Bill Nye said:
Yes, yes. But, it would have to be with the right producers, and it would have to be a less unfavorable contract. I put my heart and soul into that thing; everybody on the crew did. It was a unique time in TV history. It was exciting to be part of it. Let’s change the world.
A redditor specifically asked him if he would consider doing it on YouTube or independently on the internet, to which Nye replied “Stay tuned [winky face].”
Now, we learn that Bill Nye is bringing a new show to Chris Hardwick’s Nerdist YouTube channel.
“I’m proud to announce you guys, that Bill Nye will be coming to the Nerdist channel on YouTube,” announced Hardwick on his Nerdist podcast.
Wait I thought it wasn’t a sure thing yet. I remember him in talks, and saying if the user interest was there and he got some backing he’d do it. Well if he finally agreed to doing it you can call me a devout viewer already :D
Definitely the biggest turn on, imo.
Estás re-chulo, Gael.