The Scientific Method in the American High School: How It's Changed and Why It Matters (Forthcoming)
Classroom accounts of how science generates new knowledge have turned over repeatedly since they were first introduced in high schools in the late 1880s. Tracing these shifting curricular portrayals illustrates the remarkable plasticity of the image of scientific work as packaged for student consumption. Indeed, over the past one hundred and thirty years that constitute the period of this story, classroom portrayals of science process have varied far more than the practice of science itself, which has remained remarkably stable over the same time period. This book tells the story of how the scientific method has changed from its first implementation in schools as the laboratory method in the 1880s through the introduction of the five-step scientific method around 1910 through science as inquiry in the years following Sputnik and then on to the nature of science during Project 2061 and the standards era. In doing so it highlights the various ways in which teaching about scientific method has mediated the relationship between science and the public.
Scientists in the Classroom: The Cold War Reconstruction of American Science Education
(New York: Palgrave, 2002)
In response to Soviet advances in science and engineering education, the country’s top scientists in 1956 launched an unprecedented program to reform pre-college science education in the US. Drawing on a wide range of archival material, Rudolph traces the origins of two of the leading projects in this movement in high school physics and biology. He describes how the scientists directing these projects drew on their wartime experiences in weapons development and defense consultation to guide their foray into the field of education and he reveals how the broader social and political conditions of the 1950s Cold War America fundamentally shaped the nature of the course materials they eventually produced.
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Education and the Culture of Print in Modern America
(Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 2010)
Edited by Adam R. Nelson and John L. Rudolph
Vividly revealing the multiple layers on which print has been produced, consumed, regulated, and contested for the purpose of education since the mid-nineteenth century, the historical case studies in Education and the Culture of Print in Modern America deploy a view of education that extends far beyond the confines of traditional classrooms. The nine essays examine “how print educates” in settings as diverse as depression-era work camps, religious training, and broadcast television—all the while revealing the enduring tensions that exist among the controlling interests of print producers and consumers. This volume exposes what counts as education in American society and the many contexts in which education and print intersect.
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