Term Paper: Special Education in Science Class

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Special Education in the Science Classroom

The objective of this work is to review the initial negative results of science education since inclusion of special education students in the classroom and what lessons have been learned and can be applied to management of similar situations in the future.

There is general acknowledgement among educators that teaching science is more than simply teaching facts for students to learn and recall through memorization of those facts. Indeed, teaching science is really about teaching students to thinking critically, to ask questions, and to build upon knowledge through inquiry. 'Scientific Inquiry' is defined as: "The areas of scientific knowledge are taught in tandem with the skills of scientific enquiry." (Primary Science, 2003) Additionally stated is that: "Research suggests that scientific inquiry should build on children's existing knowledge, interests and ideas; link to everyday context; and encourage discussion." (Primary Science, 2003)


The work of Charles J. Eick (2000) states that the goal "of scientific literacy...includes more than just understanding the concepts of science. Scientific literacy also involves the knowledge of the processes that create the concepts and the organizing framework that is science." According to the work of Schwartz, Lederman and Crawford (2000):"True scientific inquiry in the strictest sense, provides the context for deepening student understanding of the process of how science is conducted." (p. 7)


The work of Benjamin Bloom at the University of Chicago which developed a classification of the various levels of intellectual behavior that are important in the learning process states findings that most of the test questions that students are required to answer did not require the students to think at higher levels than only that of simple information recall. (Bloom, 1956) the six levels of cognition that were named by Bloom and his colleagues in this classification system were: (1) knowledge; (2) understanding; (3) application; (4) analysis; (5) synthesis; and (6) evaluation. The following figure illustrates the hierarchical classification as posited by Bloom (1956)

Hierarchy of Levels of Learning

Bloom (1956)

The following are learning characteristics that are stated to fall within each respective level of knowledge in each of these levels of learning as proposed by Bloom (1956):

Knowledge: The recall of data or information.

Understanding (or Comprehension): To understand the meaning, translation, interpolation, and interpretation of instructions and problems. To state a problem in one's own words.

Application: The student is able to use a concept in a new situation or unprompted use of an abstraction and applies what has been learned in the classroom into new situations.

Analysis: Separates material or concepts into component parts so that its organizational structure may be understood. Distinguishes between facts and inferences.

Synthesis: The study is able to build a structure or pattern from diverse elements and place parts together in the formation of a whole while emphasizing the creation of a new meaning of structure.

Evaluation: The student is able to make judgments about the value of ideas or materials.


The work of Brian S. Friedlander entitled: "Changing the Face of Science Education in the Classroom with Technology" published in September/October 2004 in the Inclusion Times: Technology for Children & Youth with Disabilities" states that "Many students often feel that Science is nothing more than memorizing a bunch of facts. But nothing could be further from the truth. Science should engage our students in questioning, observing and analyzing." (2004, p.3) Friedlander reports the exploration of "a number of science tools that hold much promise...tools that help students visualize data that were once difficult to conceptualize." (2004, p.3) Friedlander states that the tools are effective in engaging students in formation of hypotheses, collection of data, and analysis of the results. Friedlander states that in order the change the student's experience in the science classroom, it is… [END OF PREVIEW]

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