Time for Science Education: How Teaching the History and Philosophy of Pendulum Motion can Contribute to Science Literacy by Michael R. Matthews

Time for Science Education: How Teaching the History and Philosophy of Pendulum Motion can…

byMichael R. Matthews, M. R. Matthews

Paperback | October 31, 2000

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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.