Article ID: CBB924664048

Mendel in Genetics Teaching: Some Contributions from History of Science and Articles for Teachers (2015)


School science descriptions about Mendel and his story are problematic because several statements that are controversial among historians of science are repeated over and over again as if they were established facts. Another problem is the neglect of other scientists working on inheritance in the second half of the nineteenth century, including Darwin, Spencer, Galton, Nägeli, Brooks, Weismann and de Vries, who paved the way for the reinterpretation of Mendel’s work in 1900. These problems are often found in textbooks and are likely to be present in school science throughout the world. Here, we discuss the contributions that history of science and papers published in journals that target teachers may bring to improve how school science deals with Mendel and his contributions. Evidently the idea is not that school teachers could solve problems still under discussion in the historical literature. The point is, rather, that it is important to avoid treating Mendel’s contributions as uncontroversial, mentioning, for instance, that there are ongoing debates on whether he proposed the laws named after him by appealing to invisible factors underlying phenotypic traits that are seen as the heritable potentials for those traits, and would in due time be known as genes. History of science can contribute to put the mythic Mendel into question in the science classroom, bringing school science closer to the controversies around the interpretation of his work.

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Article Erik L. Peterson; Kostas Kampourakis (2015) The Paradigmatic Mendel at the Sesquicentennial of “Versuche über Pflantzen-Hybriden”: Introduction to the Thematic Issue. Science and Education (pp. 1-8). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Shapiro, Adam R.
Niaz, Mansoor
Colbert, James
Niederhauser, Dale
Bonett, Douglas
Echeverria, Begona
Science and Education
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Filosofia e História da Biologia
Journal of the History of the Behavioral Sciences
Wall & Emerson
Cambridge University Press
University of Chicago Press
University of Chicago
University of South Florida
Teaching history of science
Science education and teaching
Teaching; pedagogy
Scopes, John Thomas
Stephanides, Michael Konstantinou
Darwin, Charles Robert
Brooks, William Keith
Weismann, August
Mendel, Gregor Johann
Time Periods
20th century, early
21st century
20th century
20th century, late
19th century
United States

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