Spring 2015 - Undergraduate Course Descriptions

Gossin, Pamela
Discipline and Number
HIST 3327 Section 501
R Time 7:00 PM - 9:45 PM
Course Title
Perspectives on Science (SciEd)

Description of Course:

Perspectives on Science (SciEd) (3 semester credit hours). This course is especially designed for those training to be elementary and secondary science and mathematics teachers including UTeach students; it may be available to others interested in the interdisciplinary relations of science and the humanities, such as pre-health majors and those pursuing the minor in Medical and Scientific Humanities.

Prerequisites: HIST 1301 or HIST 1302 or HIST 2301 or HIST 2330 or HIST 2331 or equivalent and department consent required. (3-0) T

Requires permission of Mr. Bill Neal or UTEACH Advisor Hailey King.

***HIST 3327 counts toward the Minor in Medical and Scientific Humanities (MaSH)***

Course Description:

In this interdisciplinary history course we will ask such questions as: Where did science come from? How did human beings begin to make sense of the natural world and their part in it? How did the processes of observation, imagination, invention and discovery work to shape our understanding of the natural world both then, and now?

By exploring many different kinds of source materials and texts, we will trace the origins and development of western science and its construction of natural knowledge from the ancient world through the near present. In the process, we will gain experience with different pedagogical approaches – lecture, discussion, individual presentations, group work, project-based learning (PBL), as well as a variety of best-practices for integrating interdisciplinary methods and texts into math and science content/courses.

Among our central inquiries will be: What is "nature"? What is "natural"? What is "supernatural"? How have our definitions of such concepts changed over time and altered our ideas about what it means to be "human"? Do we "discover" order in the universe or do we "invent" it? Was there such a thing as the "Scientific Revolution"? How have the relationships between (and relative values and roles of) imagination, faith and reason shifted from the ancient world through the early modern period into the present? How can the untold (or undertold) histories of women's contributions to math and science help us tell a more meaningful story for the 21st century?

Class meetings will include lecture, discussion, films and student presentations as we examine developments in magic and alchemy, astronomy and cosmology, natural history, the history of medicine, life sciences, and experimental science. NO specific technical or scientific background is required.

Course objectives:

Students will read, discuss and write about a wide variety of source materials (literature, film, historical texts and interpretations) and will demonstrate the ability to interpret and analyze themes and issues using various critical methods, including literary, historical, biographical and cultural approaches.

Required Texts:


REQUIRED TEXTS (for purchase) -- TBA (will announce 5-7 texts on the full syllabus which will be posted on Course Lookup in December)

Hankins, Thomas, Science and the Enlightenment, selections
Women in Science, selected articles
other selected chapters
Galileo's Battle for the Heavens, video/dvd (for outside viewing)

ADDITIONAL REQUIRED TEXT (everyone will need to purchase or check out ONE of these (or something similar/pre-approved), but NOT until you have formed your small-groups for the PBL assignment!)

Select ONE from one of the 3 categories/columns below:

Sobel, Galileo's Daughter
Heiligman, Charles and Emma
Brock, Comet Sweeper
Goodall, Reason for Hope or Jane's Journey
McGrayne, Nobel Prize Women
Maddox, Rosalind Franklin
Gornick, Women in Science
Des Jardins, The Madame Curie Complex

- Marlowe, Dr. Faustus
- Galileo, Sidereus Nuncius
- Swift, Gulliver's Travels
- Carson, Silent Spring
- Feynman, Surely You're Joking

Macdonald, Feminine Ingenuity
Weitekamp, Right Stuff, Wrong Sex
Isaacson, Innovators
Turkle, ed. Falling for Science
Seife, Zero or Proofiness
Numbers, Galileo Goes to Jail and Other Myths about Science and Religion

Course Requirements/Evaluation Criteria:

Graded Assignments / Course Requirements:

UTeach Students will complete items 1, 2 and 3UT, with each counting 1/3rd;
non-UTeach students (if any) will complete items 1, 2 and 3NON.

1. Attendance and participation (A&P): includes in-class participation, film critiques, quizzes, study sheets, peer review comments

2. Midterm unit exam: 30pt essay + 70 pt objective section

3UT. 10 min presentation and lesson plan based on cooperative small-group project
3NON. Final unit exam: 3 pp book critique as (30pt) take-home essay + 70 pt. objective section

* Extra credit may be earned to enhance your A&P grade, through such items as Reading Notebooks, vocabulary definitions, taking notes on "Special Topics" readings etc. Listen in class for more ideas and info!

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