Arthur Stinner

History of Science & Science Education

Textbooks generally present Newton's laws of motion as if they had come full-blown from the great man's imagination right after the apple fell on his head. Even a cursory historical survey will show that Newton struggled in a web of misconceptions for many years to finally arrive at his great synthesis.

Arguments for introducing science, at least in part, by means of the history of science:

  1. History promotes a better understanding of scientific concepts and methods.
  2. History connects the development of individual thinking with the development of scientific ideas.
  3. Important episodes in the history of science and culture should be familiar to all students.
  4. History of science is necessary to understand the nature of science.
  5. History counteracts the scientism and dogmatism that are often found in the media and even in texts and classrooms.
  6. History humanizes the subject matter of science.
  7. History allows connections to be made within topics and disciplines of science as well as with other disciplines.


Stinner, A. (2007). Toward a Humanistic Science Education: Using Stories, Drama, and the Theater, Canadian Theater Review, pp. 14-19. (This was an invited article for a special edition of the journal).
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Stinner, A, McMillan, B., Metz, D., Jilek, J., Klassen, S. (2003). The Renewal of Case Studies in Science Education. Science & Education.
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Stinner, A. (2003). Lord Kelvin and the The-Age-of-the-Earth debate: A dramatization. Science & Education.
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Stinner, A. (2001). Linking 'The Book of Nature' and 'The Book of Science': Using circular motion as an exemplar beyond the textbook. Science & Education, 10:323-344. January/February, pp. 38-50.
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Stinner, A. and Williams, H. (1995). Teaching Science in the Secondary School: A Modern Perspective. Published by the University of Manitoba Bookstore. Currently used in Science methods (secondary) courses at the University of Manitoba.