What it's all about
If you were at a party and quoted Archimedes' principle - an object immersed in a fluid is buoyed up by a force equal to the weight of the fluid displaced by the object - it probably wouldn't earn you a round of applause, writes James Williams.
Literacy in science is about being able to access the words in science, writing about science and understanding scientific writing. But scientific literacy is about how you use your knowledge and understanding of scientific concepts to make decisions about things that affect you in society.
If you are scientifically literate, you should be able to ask and find answers to questions about everyday experiences that you find curious. A useful aspect of scientific literacy is being able to read and understand science-based articles in the popular press. Even more useful is being able to assess how accurate and valid those articles' claims are.
We often lose sight of the purpose of science in the curriculum. It's not just about ensuring a supply of scientists and engineers to industry, but about making our pupils more scientifically literate.
The pupils we teach are bombarded with information that has science or technology at their heart - for example, vaccinating against measles, mumps and rubella; assessing the health implications of mobile phone masts, or alternative energy, or whether or not genetically modified crops are beneficial. The more scientifically literate we are, the more we can assess the evidence and make the right choice.
Get pupils writing science poems with alessio's Ode to Photoelectricity lesson. bit.lyOdeToScience
TRF23 shares creative ideas for embedding scientific literacy into your lessons. bit.lyScientificLiteracy.