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6.2 Shaping knowledge

It seems inevitable that any understandings we have will have been shaped and influenced by other (past and present) members of the same culture(s) we belong to. Most of these influences ‘just happen’: they arise out of our experiences as part of a culture whose members have had their experiences and shared them over many centuries. However, knowledge can also be deliberately influenced by powerful elements within a society: as we saw in Section 5.3, the church suppressed Galileo's r
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5.7 Summary

This section of the unit has made you aware that:

  • science is formed by a community of practice, creating knowledge and requiring a special language for its communication;

  • there is a difference between objective scientific methods and subjective ways of knowing;

  • political power influences scientific discoveries, and scientific knowledge is always socially embedded;

  • public understanding and perception of scien
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5.5 How society constructs scientific thinking

To understand science, it is important that we appreciate the contexts in which discoveries are made or suppressed. We can see from the account on the previous page that human understanding of the universe has changed significantly over time. The social and political climate in which scientists work has always had a profound influence on what can and cannot be said, done, published or even postulated as worthy of further investigation. (You could undertake a similar study of the debates on hu
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5.4 A brief history of scientific revolutions

We now go on to look at the history and traditions of scientific discovery. As an early years practitioner, you will find this survey useful in helping you to challenge the prevailing perception of science as ‘absolute truth’.

What we call science was once regarded as ‘magic’, ‘alchemy’ or ‘conjuring’. Such knowledge was viewed as ‘black magic’ and feared as a satanic art (Woolley, 2002). In part this may have been because, in the Middle Ages
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5.2 Scientists as a community of practice

Science has been described as involving observation, description, categorisation, investigation, experimentation and formation of theoretical explanations for naturally occurring phenomena – activities performed by scientists using scientific methods.

Jacob Bronowski (1973) said, ‘That is the essence of science: ask an impertinent question, and you are on the way to a pertinent answer’ – an apt way to put it, as with science, we set off from a starting point of curiosity an
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5.1 Introduction to the social construction of scientific knowledge

This section explores how scientific knowledge and scientific literacy can be built up through working in communities of practice (groups of people who work together and share a common language). We also look at issues relating to the ideas of subjectivity and objectivity, and at deductive and inductive thinking. Finally, we explore the public understanding of science by examining how society, in wider terms, constructs or influences scientific thinking and understanding.

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2.1 Language in everyday life

Language is an ever-present feature of human life. In the developed world in particular, we are surrounded by language. Radio and television provide a soundtrack to the lives of many people. Written language is part of everything from cereal packets and street signs, to relatively new technologies such as email and text messaging. If you were completely alone, far away from any other people or any kind of human contact, how long would it be before words came into your head, perhaps because of
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4.3 Further exercises
Number systems and the rules for combining numbers can be daunting. This unit will help you to understand the detail of rational and real numbers, complex numbers and integers. You will also be introduced to modular arithmetic and the concept of a relation between elements of a set.
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3.7.1 Spoiled identities: stigma

In his classic book Stigma (1963) the sociologist Erving Goffman argues that stigma is a relationship of devaluation in which an individual is disqualified from full social acceptance. Society establishes ways of categorising persons and what are felt to be the ‘natural’ or ‘normal’ attributes for each category. Stigma, then, is essentially a pejorative label that sticks, one that is applied to an individual's ‘differentness’, their perceived non-confo
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3.5 Identity and identities

So far in this extract we have considered the importance of people's individual biographies to an understanding of who they are. Such biographies play an important part in making us who we are and we will now explore some of the ideas that have contributed to social workers' understanding of the concept and importance of ‘identity’. These ideas are all examples of the kind of ‘knowledge’ or ‘theory’ that informs social workers' practice.

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Learning outcomes

On completion of this unit you will have:

  • examined the place play has in the curriculum framework/guidance or documents most relevant to your setting;

  • considered various definitions of play;

  • explored ideas about the value of play and adults' attitudes towards play;

  • considered play in your setting and attempted to access children's perceptions of play;

  • explored issues such as gender and play and children's right to play.
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1.2.2 How older pupils view school

For older children the work of school becomes less important in itself. Research that explored Scottish secondary school pupils' ideas about why they went to school revealed that for many pupils school served primarily as a social experience during the first two years and then later was seen as being instrumental in what would happen in their future lives:

‘You don't want to be one of these drunks and that y
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Intrinsic and Extrinsic Morphology Optimization
By: icamp2012school Moritz Riede, TU Dresden
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Tower Views - International Student Welcome
In this edition of Tower Views, Larry Burns vice president of external affairs is joined by Pete Thomas and Rocky as they take part in the new student international welcome.
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Girl running
When we exercise, the heart works extra hard to pump blood to the lungs to pick up oxygen and then throughout the body to bring oxgyen and glucose to the cells for cellular respiration (a process to make the energy we need to exercise). Glucose is brought to the body, first by digestion and absorption of the food we eat, and then by circulation of the glucose via the circulatory system to the cells of the body.
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Sergei Gukov, Quantization and Categorification, Lecture 2
Both "quantization" and "categorification" have influenced many recent developments in pure mathematics and modern mathematical physics, ranging from applications in knot theory to geometric representation theory. Yet, these deep and fundamental concepts can be explained in simple and concrete examples, which will be one of the main goals in my lectures. I will follow a "hands-on" approach, aimed at understanding explicit calculations in addition to learning the general theory. For example, we
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2012 African Health OER Network Impact Study

The current impact study follows on from two earlier evaluations of the project.

A formative evaluation of the Design Phase completed at the end of 2009 focused mainly on OER ‘take-up’ and production in the partner institutions (OER Africa 2009). This evaluation concluded that expectations and contractual targets had been met, or exceed
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Dividing Positive and Negative Numbers - Khan Academy
Basics of dividing with negative numbers. (04:52)
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Las selvas tropicales de Costa Rica - los perezosos, los colibríes (parte 2 de 4)
Aquí las relaciones entre plantas y animales son muy intensas. Se cree que sólo en torno a una simple flor pueden vivir cerca de 20 especies de animales distintos. 4:33

Fragmento de un documental de la serie Mundos de agua de TVE.

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Strawkets and Thrust
In this activity, students investigate the effect that thrust has on rocket flight. Students will make two paper rockets that they can launch themselves by blowing through a straw. These "strawkets" will differ in diameter, such that students will understand that a rocket with a smaller exit nozzle will provide a larger thrust. Students have the opportunity to compare the distances traveled by their two strawkets after predicting where they will land. Since each student will have a slightly diff
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