Faculty Advisor

Dr. David W. Rudge


Science Education

Presentation Date


Document Type



Science educators have identified that Nature of Science (NOS) is essential to improve students’ science literacy. Numerous empirical studies suggest that incorporating the history of science (HOS) into class by means of an explicit reflective approach is one way to promote students’ NOS conceptions. In view of these findings, we developed a unit using an interrupted story technique to depict the discovery of the structure of DNA featuring Rosalind Franklin’s neglected role to help students learn both science content and NOS. Our study design compares an experimental group (story used) with a control group (no story used). The SUSSI (a well known instrument to study NOS) was administered pre- and post- instruction during both terms to assess the impact of this lesson on students understanding of the NOS. Semi-structured interviews were conducted to further clarify students’ responses. The results show that most of the participants in the experimental group made significant gains in their understanding of two aspects of NOS targeted by the intervention ((1) creativity and imagination, and (2) social and cultural influences). Several interviewees in the experimental group specifically mentioned that the story helped them to better understand these two aspects of NOS. The current study provides additional support for using historical narratives to improve students’ NOS understanding.