New Text Supplement
Teaching the Nature of Science
Reflecting the ENSI Approach

Science Surprises:
Exploring the Nature of Science

This text supplement is available as an eBook at Smashwords (see below). If you're looking for a unit to effectively teach the nature of science (NOS), with lessons for practicing scientific argumentation, critical and skeptical thinking, THIS IS IT! This new text supplement is intended for students in any science class, grades 7-10. It can replace (or supplement) the usual Ch.1 in any secondary science textbook with an updated and more accurate treatment of how science works, what it can and cannot do, and why it's so effective for increasing our understanding of the natural world. The book particularly addresses the many misconceptions about NOS, e.g., the myth of the "Scientific Method." [Read the short passage about this being a myth, from the Framework for K-12 Science Education, p. 78 (NRC 2012)].It also satisfies virtually ALL of the new NOS standards (in NGSS and Common Core).

Many teachers just assume that students will “absorb” NOS by “osmosis” while doing hands-on investigations - but current research shows that very little, if any, is learned that way. In fact, that research tells us clearly that NOS must be taught explicitly, like any other basic subject content in science [see research paper summary on this]. It must be explicit, and integrated throughout your course if you expect the concepts to be understood and retained. Unfortunatesly, NGSS does not clearly point that out. But read Appendix H in the NGSS for teaching NOS.

This student text is designed to be tightly integrated with several of the free student-centered NOS lessons on the ENSI site. Teaching strategies are based on research pointing to those that are most effective, e.g., the 5-E Learning Cycle approach, student interactive discussion, and teaching NOS explicitly. There is also a comprehensive Teaching Guide (TG) to help you do this most effectively. The SS TG is currently available at no charge from the author and ENSI webmaster Larry Flammer. Please pass the word along to your colleagues and science teacher organizations that might be interested in this eBook. Share it at conferences and workshops.

Pre-publication versions of Science Surprises have been peer-reviewed, and field-tested (by 4 middle school and 4 high school science teachers across the country and in urban, suburban and rural schools). Positive results of that testing have been applied to the current published version. Every paragraph of the text proper is adjusted for 8th grade reading level.

The Teaching Guide includes worksheets, additional activities and information, suggested unit schedules, and many useful strategies to effectively implement the Science Surprises NOS materials. If you don't have the time to do the complete book in your introductory unit, just do the first 2-3 chapters, and insert the remaining chapters later in your course (preferably before dealing with any topic that may be considered “controversial,” e.g., climate change or evolution).

When you have some time to sample Science Surprises, especially after you use it with your classes, please let the author know what you think. In fact, it would be very much appreciated if you would write a brief review of the book (and the unit), and post it as a REVIEW on the Smashwords site. If you have any constructive suggestions (e.g., corrections, changes or additions), please let the author know directly by email. A nice feature about eBooks is that they can be easily modified and new editions uploaded.

The eBook is currently available for $3.99 USD from Smashwords (see below). Suggestions for how to make this eBook available to your students, in your classroom, and at their homes, are in the Teaching Guide (see TG pages 6-7). The author can arrange to provide a group discount “Coupon Code” for all of your students so it would only cost them (or your school budget) $0.99 each. There is also a printed version of Science Surprises available (contact the author). But they could cost about $10-$25 each (depending on the total number needed and shipping costs). They are 8.5 x 11", spiral bound, with durable covers and pages with colored illustrations.

These Science Surprises (SS) materials were developed by the ENSI/SENSI webmaster to facilitate the efficient classroom use of ENSI/SENSI NOS lessons. They were published by the author’s publishing company, ENSIWEB, LLC, and the eBooks are distributed by Smashwords.  Those SS materials coordinate and enhance the effective presentation of selected NOS lessons, following research-supported pedagogy. They clarify and reinforce the concepts introduced by those NOS lessons on the ENSI/SENSI website. They show how using the SS materials with selected lessons meet all the new science standards (NGSS) for the NOS concepts.  Information for obtaining those SS materials is provided on the ENSI/SENSI website as a convenience for educators to obtain and try them in their classrooms.

ENSIWEB, LLC is not affiliated with Indiana University, its faculty, its servers or the ENSI/SENSI website: <>. Science Surprises: Exploring the Nature of Science (as an eBook and a printed book) and the Science Surprises Teaching Guide are not required for freely using the nature of science (NOS) lessons on the ENSI/SENSI website.


You can sample and/or purchase the eBook at
The eBook is available for download in the following formats:
EPUB: to your desktop/laptop computer, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch.
(You may need to download the free Adobe Digital Editions, for desktop and laptop computers, to read this eBook).

For Android devices, download Aldiko, a free reading app.

(for Kindle). You may need to download Kindle for PC (reads .mobi), Kindle for Mac (reads .mobi) or the popular FBReader (reads .epub, .txt, .mobi and multiple other formats). IF these don't work, download the PDF version.

and RTF formats should be directly readable on your desktop or laptop computer, or tablet

format can be read via your Web browser on your PC or tablet.
Smashword eBooks are also readable in Barnes & Noble's Nook.

Let the author know if you have any problems downloading the entire book, or accessing the sampling of Science Surprises. For the sample, you should be able to read the first chapter.


Click here for a review of Douglas Allchin’s book: Teaching the Nature of Science: Perspectives & Resources. These materials nicely extend the Science Surprises NOS focus (or theme) throughout your course. Allchin explains and provides examples and resources for using authentic science historical narratives to effectively engage students. Strategies are easily applicable throughout your course.

All of the ENSI lessons are designed to engage students with active learning. iBiology tutorials (free online) will help you to learn this most effective teaching skill. So, click here for these excellent interactive tutorial video clips for teaching with student-centered interactive materials. For example, the tips and strategies for using Think-Pair-Share (TPS) are helpfully demonstrated.