By Group 7 MINI SCIENCE ESSAY:
AC1: An explanation of scientific literacy Being scientifically literate is the ability to understand basic scientific language and concepts. This includes factors such as being able to carry out an experiment including a fair test, changing variables, understanding the dependent and independent variables and constructing a hypothesis. A scientifically literate person should know how to compare and analyse data and use this to create graphs and tables in order to visually present data. It is also an important skill to be able to judge science in the media and understand how to fairly criticise it using other resources.
AC2: Analysis of an example where a lack of scientific literacy has led to inaccurate media reporting We began to look at examples of unfair tests in the media and came up with hundreds. For example In June 2010 a new headline claimed that fish oil would help children concentrate, leading to mass success in the fish oil business. This was tested on 3,000 school children and measured through their GCSE results, to see if it enhanced their exam performance. However it was found that throughout the experiment, 2,168 subjects dropped out of the study and the results drawn from them were therefor unreliable and produced false negatives. Regardless of this study, fish oil supplements are still the most successful supplements on the British market, claiming that it boosts productivity and concentration, even though there are no tests that support this claim. This is a good example of a scientific claim/ study that lacked scientific justification which led to media inaccuracy. Dave Ford from Durham council performs incompetent experiments on children. – bad science (2000) Available at: http://www.badscience.net/2008/09/dave-ford-from-durham-council-plays-atbeing-a-scientist-again/#more-807 (Accessed: 26 January 2017). In-text citations: (Dave Ford from Durham council performs incompetent experiments on children. – bad science, 2000)
AC3: Discussion of how teaching fair testing school science links to scientific literacy. We felt it is very important to teach children about fair testing so they are able to make informed decisions about what they read in the media. Our lesson involved putting children through an unfair test and allowing them to identify for themselves that the test was not reliable. This will hopefully give them a more critical eye in the future. The test involved splitting the class into groups and giving each group a different amount of lego blocks, they were then to be given ten minutes to build a tower and whoever tower was the tallest wins. The second test then involved giving each group different amounts of lego and different amounts of time to build their tower. Obviously both test are unfair and the same group who had the most lego and the most time won. The class would then be asked why they thought that group won and hopefully be able to understand this was because each group had different resources. It is also important to go on and explore other ways test can be unfair such as lack of participants or false results to develop children scientific literacy skills.