Time for Science Education: How Teaching the History and Philosophy of Pendulum Motion can Contribute to Science Literacy / Edition 1

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The book demonstrates the importance of history and philosophy of science for science education. It provides a case study of the pendulum, showing the pivotal role played by the pendulum in the Scientific Revolution. It describes how the pendulum enabled the creation of accurate clocks that, among other things, enabled the long-standing problem of longitude to be solved. The book charts how the solution of the longitude problem was of enormous social, economic and cultural significance for European and consequently world history.
Further, the book shows how the discovery of the laws of pendulum motion by Galileo, Huygens and Newton hinged on the acceptance of a new methodology for science. The pendulum laws are a window through which to view the fascinating mixture of experiment, mathematics and philosophy that characterized the foundations of modern science - the Galilean-Newtonian paradigm - and distinguished it from Aristotelian, medieval and commonsense science.
The book covers: learning about the nature of science; navigation and the longitude problem; ancient and medieval timekeeping; Galileo's analysis of pendulum motion; Huygens, Hooke, Newton and the pendulum; clocks and culture; science and philosophy; the mechanical world view; teaching about time and pendulum motion; and teacher education and culture.
The book defends a liberal, or contextual, approach to the teaching of science. It shows how understanding the scientific, philosophical and cultural contexts and ramifications of the pendulum laws can allow teachers to plan more engaging lessons, and conduct informative historical- investigative experiments. Students can re-live history. Contextual understanding of the pendulum allows connections to be made with other parts of the science curriculum, and with other subject areas such as geography, literature, religion, music and mathematics. Readers will come away with a deeper understanding of the nature of science and its role in history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
'Michael Matthews ... has just published a book that should be read by all serious physics educationists. ... Given the lamentable lack of books on physics education that try to show how the history and philosophy of science can be incorporated into real physics, Matthew's book is highly recommended.'
Ivan Slade in Physics World, February 2001
'I recommend this wide-ranging and fascinating book to all science educators, and I hope that Matthew will publish a shortened version of it for science (physics) educators and classroom teachers. The story of the pendulum, as told here, would enliven the physics classroom and make it reach beyond the textbook.'
CJSMTE/RCESMT, 1:4 (2001)
'Mathew's book is a true work of scholarship and I have no hesitation in urging anyone interested in informing debates about science education to read it from cover to cover.'
Studies in Science Education
This book presents the scientific, philosophical, and cultural ramifications of the invention of the pendulum, and it indicates how this story can be used by teachers to shape curricular content, with suggestions for experimental and project work as well as points of connection with other school subjects. The author (U. of New South Wales, Australia) has been involved with the subject for several decades, and his presentation straddles the disciplines of history of science, philosophy of science, horology, science education, and philosophy of education. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780306458804
  • Publisher: Springer Netherlands
  • Publication date: 10/31/2000
  • Series: Innovations in Science Education and Technology Series, #8
  • Edition description: Softcover reprint of the original 1st ed. 2000
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 440
  • Product dimensions: 9.21 (w) x 6.14 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements. Preface. 1. Learning about the Pendulum and Improving Science Education. 2. Navigation and the Longitude Problem. 3. Ancient and Medieval Timekeeping. 4. Galileo and the Pendulum Clock. 5. Galileo's Analysis of Pendulum Motion. 6. Christiaan Huygens and the Pendulum Clock. 7. Perfecting Mechanical Timekeeping and Solving the Longitude Problem. 8. The Pendulum in Newton's Physics. 9. Clocks and Culture: The Clock Analogy in Philosophy and Theology. 10. Science and Philosophy: Some Lessons from the History of Pendulum Motion. 11. Teaching and Learning about Time and Pendulum Motion: Some Theoretical Considerations. 12. Teaching and Learning about Time and Pendulum Motion: Some Pedagogical Considerations. 13. Science Education and Culture. Endnotes. References. Credits.

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