Science Exercises and Instructional Materials

Teaching Science as if Minds Mattered!

To derive pleasure from the art of discovery, as from the other arts, the consumer-in this case the student-must be made to re-live, to some extent, the creative process. In other words, he must be induced, with proper aid and guidance, to make some of the fundamental discoveries of science by himself, to experience in his own mind some of those flashes of insight which have lightened its path. . . . The traditional method of confronting the student not with the problem but with the finished solution, means depriving him of all excitement, [shutting] off the creative impulse, [reducing] the adventure of mankind to a dusty heap of theorems.

Arthur Koestler, 1964

Five  fun-filled, self-discovery, science exercises can be accessed from this page.  This page also provides links to one case history in science and to a long essay on the nature of science. All these materials have been used extensively in the classroom and--with a bit of TLC--are guaranteed to endear science to your students and to teach them a great deal about it.  The dancing flies exercise, in particular, is the best lab exercise I've ever seen, or used, in 25 years of teaching science, while the What is Science? essay captures the complex nature of science from the unique perspective of a practicing natural scientist and a jack of all trades.  Copyrights for all materials herein are hereby waived, so they may be downloaded, printed, published, distributed, altered . . . for any instructional purpose whatsoever.  But do send me an e-mail if you have any questions.

A Guided Discovery Exercise for Introductory Physics Labs. The Physics Teacher 32: 104-107 (1994). Dancing Flies: a Guided Discovery Illustration of the Nature of Science. American Biology Teacher 58 (#3): 168-171 (1996).  
Phases of the Moon: a Guided Discovery Activity for Clarifying the Nature of Science. Science Activities 31 (#3): 26-29 (1994). What is Science? Gambling Anyone?


Greenhouse Effect Exercise
A Case History in Astronomy and Physics: The Speed of Light The Birth of Genetics and Gregor Mendel's Law of Segregation
A Hands-On Instructional Approach to the Conceptual Shift Aspect of Scientific Discovery. Journal of College Science Teaching 19: 105-107 (1989).
A Class Exercise for Teaching the Genetic Code. The Science Teacher  56 (No. 3): 76-78 (1989).