Among the challenges in science education are creating quality inquiry-based teaching methods as well as promoting students' argumentation skills. Both these topics might be seen as parts of what goes as "the nature of science". In this last post of three, I argue that statements about food and cooking might be an excellent starting point for learning argumentation as well as inquiry, as well as content knowledge, while dealing with real-life problems with meaningful purposes.
The two first posts:
In part 1, I suggest that there might be a good idea to collect statements about food and cooking (culinary precisions) in an open database, whereas part 2 argues for the use of argumentation patterns in the analysis of such statements. For explanation of the term "culinary precisions", see part 1.
Background; challenges in science education
There is abundant literature, as well as political signals, that point to the need for development of fresh approaches to science education, not the least because of an alarmingly low interest in science and mathematics. Furthermore, the last years have seen a need to shift towards a science education in which "the nature of science" is taught as well as content knowledge; students at all levels should gain experience with scientific inquiry, argumentation etc. There are of course numerous ways this challenge might be taken on.
One problem when it comes to inquiry and argumentation is to find experiments, topics and investigations which are open-ended real-life problems. It's not very exciting to do "inquiry" if you know that the teacher has got the answer in his/her drawer. But what if the thing you were analysing, discussing and experimenting was a real problem? And even more, that others, such as a scientist or the general public, would be interested in the result you came up with? Such scenarios do exist (such as sustain.no, which in fact is a database), but I feel pretty confident that there is need for a range of such approaches, covering various topics.