History of Science Reading Materials as Everyday Homework to Improve Middle School Students’ Epistemological Beliefs about Science

Shih Yeh Chen, Cyong Huei Chen, Shiang Yao Liu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The history of science (HOS) has played an important role in science curricula for teaching about science. However, historical information in science textbooks is often de-contextualized, coupled with limited class time and teaching barriers, and thus fails to help students understand the dynamic process of scientific development. This research effort was then directed to design nontextbook, supplemental reading materials that include scientific historical vignettes and guiding questions to elicit views about nature of science (NOS). The homework notebook was designed as a carrier to provide students after-school learning opportunities with the HOS-NOS approach. In the large-scale implementation study, 18 middle school homeroom teachers voluntarily adopted the designed HOS-based notebook for the regular purpose of homework recording and teacher-parent communication over a semester. They were interviewed about homework policies. Their students’ scientific epistemological beliefs and individual interests in science and reading were assessed at the beginning and end of the semester to evaluate the effectiveness of the notebook. Quantitative results indicated that these 7th and 8th grade students had significant improvements in epistemic understandings of the source and the (un)certainty of scientific knowledge after using this notebook. Students’ individual interest in science and reading was interrelated with their epistemic views about the evolving nature of science and justification methods in science. Further explorations on the quality of students’ reflective writings in the notebook suggested that students’ reading experiences were affected by the homework policies and writing requirements their homeroom teachers adopted. This research provides implications on the design of reading materials for improving students’ scientific literacy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)69-92
Number of pages24
JournalInternational Journal of Science and Mathematics Education
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Nov


  • History of science
  • Individual interest
  • Nature of science
  • Reading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Mathematics


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