Science Teaching Series

Internet Resources

I. Developing Scientific Literacy

II. Developing Scientific Reasoning

III. Developing Scientific Understanding

IV. Developing Scientific Problem Solving

V. Developing Scientific Research Skills

VI. Resources for Teaching Science

Domain 2. Nature of Science

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Candidates recognize that science is an active endeavor in which acquisition of knowledge is based upon the collection and examination of data. Candidates understand that scientists have a responsibility to report fully and openly the methods and results of their observations and experiments, even if those results disagree with their favored hypotheses or are controversial in public opinion. They understand that to hide data, arbitrarily eliminate data, or conceal how an experiment was conducted is to invite errors, make those errors difficult to discover, and risk harm to colleagues and communities. They understand that scientists carefully consider questions and challenges raised by fellow scientists about the assumptions, procedures, and accuracy of their experiments. They understand that a fundamental aspect of scientific inquiry is that it is dynamic and self-correcting by design. Conclusions, hypotheses, and theories are tested in every experiment and revised or rejected when they no longer correctly or accurately predict experimental results. Candidates understand that scientists must consider the safety, ethical concerns, risks, and costs and benefits of experiments to society.

2.1 Scientific Inquiry

a. Distinguish among the terms hypothesis, theory, and prediction as used in scientific investigations
b. Evaluate the usefulness, limitations, and interdisciplinary and cumulative nature of scientific evidence as it relates to the development of models and theories as representations of reality
c. Recognize that when observations do not agree with an accepted scientific theory, either the observations are mistaken or fraudulent, or the accepted theory is erroneous or incorrect
d. Understand that reproducibility of data is critical to the scientific endeavor
e. Recognize that science is a self-correcting process that eventually identifies misconceptions and experimental biases
h. Recognize that an inquiring mind is at the heart of the scientific method and that doing science involves thinking critically about the evidence presented, the usefulness of models, and the limitations of theories
i. Recognize that theories are judged by how well they explain observations and predict results and that when they represent new ideas that are counter to mainstream ideas they often encounter vigorous criticism
j. Recognize that when observations, data, or experimental results do not agree, the unexpected results are not necessarily mistakes; to discard the unusual in order to reach the expected is to guarantee that nothing but what is expected will ever be seen
k. Know why curiosity, honesty, openness, and skepticism are so highly regarded in science and how they are incorporated into the way science is carried out


2.2 Scientific Ethics

a. Understand that honesty is at the core of scientific ethics; first and foremost is the honest and accurate reporting of procedures used and data collected
b. Know that all scientists are obligated to evaluate the safety of an investigation and ensure the safety of those performing the experiment
c. Know the procedures for respectful treatment of all living organisms in experimentation and other investigations

2.3 Historical Perspectives

a. Discuss the cumulative nature of scientific evidence as it relates to the development of models and theories
b. Recognize that as knowledge in science evolves, when observations do not support an accepted scientific theory, the observations are reconsidered to determine if they are mistaken or fraudulent, or if the accepted theory is erroneous or incomplete (e.g., an erroneous theory is the Piltdown Man fossil; an incomplete theory is Newton’s laws of gravity)
c. Recognize and provide specific examples that scientific advances sometimes result in profound paradigm shifts in scientific theories
d. Discuss the need for clear and understandable communication of scientific endeavors so that they may be reproduced and why reproduction of these endeavors is important
(Science Content Standards for California Public Schools, Grade 6: 7d; Grade 7: 7c, 7e; Grades 9-12, Investigation and Experimentation: 1k, 1n)