3 Reasons Why Teaching Students about Science History is Critical

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The recently released Next Generation Science Standards confirmed that students need to gain a fuller understanding of “the entire enterprise of science” and that science history is an integral part of that learning.

Besides fulfilling several key understandings from the NOS (nature of science) matrix, understanding scientific history helps students better understand modern concepts in science. For instance, with all the interest and debate on current climate change, students can draw a parallel with Louis Agassiz’s glacial theory presented in 1837.  When Agassiz essentially told the scientific world that much of North America and Europe had been covered with ice and shaped by continental glaciers during “ice ages”, many geologists of the time said something akin to, “You’re saying thick ice sheets shaped our landscape? You must be kidding, dude. There’s no ice here.”

Of course the theory was ultimately proven using the scientific process. It also gives insight into modern science on how dramatically climate change might affect the future of the planet. Some of the features that scientists used to support Agassiz’s notion were such things as glacial erratic boulders, striated bedrock, moraines and other geologic features unique to glaciation.

It wasn’t long before geologists realized that glaciers not only shaped the land, but the deposits and formations they left behind affected river patterns, ground waters, forest cover, soil fertility, and even the ecology of a region. Wowser!

Agassiz’s glacial theory was the springboard to all kinds of scientific investigations and discoveries. And to provide today’s students with a better understanding of those discoveries, plus offer teachers more classroom tools for effective learning, we created a whole learning series of videos and lesson guides on Ice Age Mysteries. Whether it’s Searching for Glacial Features using online tools, or unraveling why Glacial Geology Matters, students will discover videos and lessons that take them into the icy past to help them understand the science of the future.