“Intellectual life should
not be construed as two cultures of science and humanities at war, or
even at variance. Human
culture arose from the material substance of a complex brain; and science
and art meld in continuity.”
Gould & Purcell (2000, p. 82)
In his now famous Rede Lecture, Snow (1969) expressed concern over division
of the intellectual life of western society into two cultures; literary
intellectuals on one side of the divide and scientific intellectuals
on the other. One of Snow's greatest concerns was over the lack of communication
between these two cultures. Increased specialization within the sciences
and humanities is cited as a reason for this communication gap. Snow's
solution to closing the divide was through "rethinking our education." A
solid educational grounding in both the sciences and humanities, explicit
curriculum connections between subjects, and interdisciplinary communication
between professional educators at all levels should narrow the gap between
the two cultures.
K-12 educational reform in the sciences, mathematics, and technology
has been strongly promoted by the National Research Council (NRC, 1996),
the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences (AAAS) via
Project 2061, and the National Science Teachers Association (NSTA). Part of the NRC and AAAS reform effort includes interdisciplinary
links (i.e., curriculum connections) among many disciplines (AAAS, 1998).
While plant study typically occurs in biology, incorporating these important
organisms into other disciplines within the K-12 curriculum can easily
be done - including connecting the sciences with humanities. These connections
can be woven into K-12 education in several ways and at many levels,
therefore below are three links based on connections between plant biology
and 1) other academic disciplines (interdisciplinary), 2) real-world
connections, and 3) the world of work (see AAAS, 1998, p. 126).
“The greatest enterprise of the mind has always been and always
will be the attempted linkage of the sciences and humanities” Wilson
(1998, p. 8)
Interdisciplinary connections with plant biology - plants and math, art, history, etc.
Real-world connections with plant biology.
National Science Education Stds.
AAAS (American Association for the Advancement of Science). 1998. Blueprints
reform: science, mathematics, and technology education. Oxford University
Gould, S.J. 2003. The hedgehog, the fox, and the magister’s pox:
mending the gap
between science and the humanities. Harmony Books. NY.
----- & R.W. Purcell. 2000. Crossing over: where art and science
Rivers Press. NY.
NRC (National Research Council). 1996. National Science Education Stds.
National Academy Press. Washington D.C.
Snow, C.P. 1969. The two cultures: and a second look. Cambridge University
Wilson, E.O. 1998. Consilience. Knopf. NY.