2022 Chicago National Conference

July 21-23, 2022

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FILTERS APPLIED:Postsecondary, Presentation, Developing Scientific Literacy in the Science and STEM Classroom, Life Science


Rooms and times subject to change.
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Exploring a General-Education Science Class Designed to Teach Skills, Not Facts

Thursday, July 21 • 9:40 AM - 10:40 AM

McCormick Place - W186a

(Only registered attendees may view session materials. Please login with your NSTA account to view.)
Teach Skills Not Facts Handout
Teach Skills, Not Facts Article

STRAND: Developing Scientific Literacy in the Science and STEM Classroom

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General-education science classes are often the last chance we have to empower students with the science literacy skills necessary to navigate today’s world. But what is science literacy? Memorizing facts and following recipe-like labs? Or is it understanding how the process of science learns about the world by testing explanations and critically scrutinizing the evidence? A good science education teaches students how, not what, to think. Science isn’t just what we know; it’s how we know. This presentation explores a novel course developed using a backward design approach designed to teach the essential skills of critical thinking, information literacy, and science literacy. By focusing on the process of science over content, students learn how to evaluate the evidence for claims to determine how we know something. Directly including pseudoscience (e.g. astrology, psychics, homeopathy, Bigfoot) and science denial (e.g. climate change, evolution, GMOs) increases engagement, addresses common misconceptions, and teaches students how to recognize the characteristics of good science. Assignments and activities in which students actively create misinformation inoculates them against the real thing. Finally, providing students with a structured toolkit to evaluate claims (with lots of opportunities to practice) helps students apply what they’re learning to the “real world.”

The goal of general education science should not be memorizing facts, but learning the essential skills of critical thinking, information literacy, and science literacy.

Melanie Trecek-King (Massasoit Community College)

Science Education in an Age of Misinformation

Friday, July 22 • 2:20 PM - 3:20 PM

McCormick Place - W184d

STRAND: Developing Scientific Literacy in the Science and STEM Classroom

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We are living in an Age of Misinformation. Developing the capabilities to evaluate scientific information is a key goal of scientific literacy. Moreover, “obtaining, evaluating and communicating information” is a core practice of NGSS. The NGSS standards, however, were developed a decade ago before misinformation became so pervasive and were not developed to address this threat. Much of this misinformation is scientific. Therefore, this session will present a set of ideas and materials about how to address this challenge. These have emerged from a report developed at Stanford University drawing on the expertise of an international group of science educators, scientists and psychologists entitled “Science Education in an Age of Misinformation”. In this session, we will present the main arguments and recommendations of the report. Using a set of practical, web-based classroom examples, participants will work in small groups to trial and discuss the suggested teaching approaches and materials we have developed. Opportunities will be provided for feedback, questions and discussion in a final plenary. What we will present will empower teachers of science with ways they can support their students to avoid being misled by the purveyors of misinformation.

Participants will learn what are the challenges posed by misinformation and what they can do to help science education address this challenge using practical examples of exercises and ionnovative teaching materials.

Daniel Pimentel (Stanford University: Stanford, CA)

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