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Palpating Pachyderms: How Do We Interpret Observations?
This lesson teaches students that interpretations of scientific data may be limited by the completeness of the data. The lesson is built around the poem by John Godfrey Saxe (1816-1887): The Blind Men and the Elephant. Through small group activity and class discussions, the limiting influence of incomplete data and bias, along with the value of collaboration, are experienced.
Intended for grade levels:
  • Middle (6-8)
  • High (9-12)
Type of resource:
  • For the classroom:
    • Lesson plan
Subject:
  • History and philosophy of science
Technical requirements:
No specific technical requirements, just a browser required
Cost / Copyright:
No cost
Copyright 1999 ENSI (Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes) This material may be copied only for noncommercial classroom teaching purposes, and only if this source is clearly cited.
DLESE Catalog ID: DLESE-000-000-004-642
Educational standards:
  • National Science Education Standards (NSES):
    • 5-8:
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Understanding about scientific inquiry
      • G - History and nature of science:
        • Nature of science
        • Science as a human endeavor
    • 9-12:
      • A - Science as inquiry:
        • Understandings about scientific inquiry
      • G - History and nature of science:
        • Nature of scientific knowledge
        • Science as a human endeavor
Resource contact / Creator / Publisher:
Publisher: Evolution and the Nature of Science Institutes


Author: Steven M. Dickhaus