All over the world, children learn science and scientists do research. The fruits of this endeavour are evident everywhere, from the food we eat to the gadgets we rely on.
Since science will continue to underpin our lives, and as the pace of change accelerates, children will need a sound understanding of the global nature of science. As adults, some will contribute directly to the development of scientific knowledge. Others may apply scientific knowledge in making decisions about its applications. All will benefit from the labours of scientists – past, present, and future.
There are so many ways in which science is global. We share common systems, such as the oceans and atmosphere. We share common challenges, too. How will science help to meet the challenge of providing nutritious food for all, and tackle the causes and effects of disease? What contributions will science make in meeting the ever-increasing demand for raw materials as populations increase and expectations rise? We must prepare the adults of tomorrow to participate in tackling these challenges head-on.
Science has its own international language of symbols, measurements and equations. Worldwide, scientists collaborate on research projects and build on the findings of others. The research that scientists choose to undertake – and that governments and commercial organisations choose to fund – is shaped by a huge variety of cultures and experiences. Our pupils will need to be equipped to make decisions, both personal and political, in this milieu.
Finally, there are countless examples from history of the global nature of science. Scientists, many hundreds of years ago in China and India, were making amazing discoveries. Whilst Europe was in the Dark Ages, science flourished in the Arab world. To truly represent science, we must take heed of these early pioneers of our subject.
Additional resources have been provided to give information and examples of how Science can support global learning. These are: