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Table 1 Overview of the lesson plan for the Medicines topic

From: In defence of non-epistemic aspects of nature of science: insights from an intercultural approach to history of science

Lesson Topic (content or NOS) Activities
1 Natural resources
Medicines (active ingredient, extraction, natural versus artificial)
Scientific claims (testimony and evidences)
Collaborative and collective nature of the scientific work
Introduction to the topic (cards about early historical contexts—Egyptians, Chinese, native Americans, Arabic, Indian)—in groups
Sharing information from the previous cards + teacher talks about naturalist travels and their impacts on medical practices (natural resources in science)
Compare and discuss herbal and conventional medicines (task 1)—in groups
Open debate about task 1 (collecting evidence, claims, testimony, natural v artificial)
Task 2 (homework): research about a traditional plant and how it is used by a different culture (based on discussions about task 1)
2 Medicines (active ingredient, extraction, natural versus artificial)
Socio-cultural influences in science
Development of medicines (natural resources, animal/human testing)
Environmental issues and intellectual property in science
Ethics and economics in science
Peer review + discussion about task 2
Teacher introduces modern techniques of drug production (natural v artificial, active ingredient)
Video about biodiversity and drug production
Task 3: biodiversity/native knowledge and drug production—in groups
3 Development of medicines (quality control and animal/human testing)
Experimental design in science (fair testing, double blind, placebo)
Socio-political aspects, ethics and controversies in science
Teacher introduces next stages of drug production (animal/human trials, thalidomide)
Debate about drug trials (Ebola epidemic and animal testing)—task 4
Task 5 (homework): investigate the future of drug production
4 Development of medicines (quality control and animal/human testing)
Vaccines
Scientific claims (testimony, evidence)
Socio-cultural influences, ethics and controversies in science
Brief open discussion about task 5
Talk about the history of vaccines (historical case—Smallpox in different societies) and what they are (including MMR case)
Task 6: Debate about anti-vaccination movements