20 January 2009 Teaching children the structure of science
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Abstract
Maps of the world are common in classroom settings. They are used to teach the juxtaposition of natural and political functions, mineral resources, political, cultural and geographical boundaries; occurrences of processes such as tectonic drift; spreading of epidemics; and weather forecasts, among others. Recent work in scientometrics aims to create a map of science encompassing our collective scholarly knowledge. Maps of science can be used to see disciplinary boundaries; the origin of ideas, expertise, techniques, or tools; the birth, evolution, merging, splitting, and death of scientific disciplines; the spreading of ideas and technology; emerging research frontiers and bursts of activity; etc. Just like the first maps of our planet, the first maps of science are neither perfect nor correct. Today's science maps are predominantly generated based on English scholarly data: Techniques and procedures to achieve local and global accuracy of these maps are still being refined, and a visual language to communicate something as abstract and complex as science is still being developed. Yet, the maps are successfully used by institutions or individuals who can afford them to guide science policy decision making, economic decision making, or as visual interfaces to digital libraries. This paper presents the process and results of creating hands-on science maps for kids that teaches children ages 4-14 about the structure of scientific disciplines. The maps were tested in both formal and informal science education environments. The results show that children can easily transfer their (world) map and concept map reading skills to utilize maps of science in interesting ways.
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Katy Börner, Fileve Palmer, Julie M. Davis, Elisha Hardy, Stephen M. Uzzo, Bryan J. Hook, "Teaching children the structure of science", Proc. SPIE 7243, Visualization and Data Analysis 2009, 724307 (20 January 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.812347; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.812347
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