Elaboration of the Relationship for
Science for All Americans

Because science begins with observation and wonder, introductory activities demonstrate limitations on the scope and reliability of our powers of direct observation. Thereafter, the course is motivated by asking such initially vague questions as, What is the nature of the universe? Students study aspects of the history of astronomy from ancient times through Newton, with attention to methods that were used or introduced. Similarly, in answering basic questions about the nature of matter, students explore changes in the composition of matter, how such changes lead to the development of Dalton's atomic theory, and how new technologies led from Dalton's structureless atoms to the Bohr model and beyond. The question: What is life? invites consideration of such topics as metabolism, photosynthesis, respiration, chemical information, and the genetic code.

 The focus of the class then turns from an understanding of science to its applications. The relationship between the predictive properties of science and the development of technology are explored. The human species is examined in its global environment. A dilemma such as the depletion of rain forests or the hole in the ozone layer opens up discussion of exponential growth in an environment limited by the availability of resources and the conservation laws that govern all of nature.

 The following specifies connections between syllabus entries (by number) and chapters or sections in Science for All Americans (SFAA).

 1, 2, and 4 directly address The Nature of Science (Ch. 1 of SFAA). Questions concerning Habits of Mind (Ch. 12 of SFAA), both individual and collective, are addressed here and revisited throughout the course.

 The questions raised in 3 and 5 are essentially those raised in The Physical Setting and The Living Environment (Ch. 4 and 5 of SFAA).

 4 and 5 emphatically offer Historical Perspectives (Ch. 10 of SFAA). 10 and 11 do so to a lesser degree.

 4 is explicit in addressing the Nature of Mathematics and its role in scientific inquiry (Ch. 2 of SFAA). The importance of discerning Patterns and Relationships (a section of Ch. 2) is central to this part of the course.

 7 and 8 consider The Flow of Matter and Energy (a section of Ch. 5 of SFAA).

 6 first raises connections between Technology and Science (first section of Ch. 3 of SFAA), focusing here on the contribution of technology to basic scientific inquiry. The contribution of science to technology is considered more fully in 11. Issues in Technology (third section of Ch. 3 of SFAA), particularly the impact of technology, is considered in 11-13 and in various of the "reprises." Inevitably these discussions are bound up with questions of Human Society (Ch. 7 of SFAA) and the interaction between The Designed World (Ch. 8 of SFAA) and The Living Environment (Ch. 5 of SFAA). Values and Attitudes (first section of Ch. 12 of SFAA) are explicitly addressed in this last part of the course, including questions of whether these are or can be shaped by the conditions that bear on our lives.