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Overarching Essential Questions:
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Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods
- Science investigations use diverse methods and do not always use the same set of procedures to obtain data.
- New technologies advance scientific knowledge.
- Scientific inquiry is characterized by logical thinking, precision, open-mindedness, objectivity, skepticism, replicability of results, and honest and ethical reporting of findings.
- Scientific investigations use a variety of methods, tools, and techniques to revise and produce new knowledge.
- What is science?
- How do we identify credible science and why do we study it?
- How do scientists practice science?
- What do all scientists have in common?
- What is inquiry?
- Why does one need to chose the most effective method or tool for a scientific investigation?
- How do you design a good, testable experiment?
- What makes a problem worth investigating?
Scientific Knowledge is Based on Empirical Evidence
- Science knowledge is based on empirical evidence.
- Science disciplines share common rules of evidence used to evaluate explanations about natural systems.
- Science includes the process of coordinating evidence with current theory.
- Science arguments are strengthened by a variety of evidence supporting a single explanation.
- What is strong evidence and why do we need it?
- How much evidence is needed to support a claim or explanation?
- What is involved in identifying a pattern?
- How does one identify relationship between patterns, natural systems, and scientific theories?
- Why is it important to collect evidence about the performance of a proposed tool, object, process or system under a range of conditions?
Scientific Knowledge is Open to Revision in Light of New Evidence
- Most scientific knowledge is quite durable but is, in principle, subject to change based on new evidence and/or reinterpretation of existing evidence.
- Scientific argumentation is a mode of logical discourse used to clarify the strength of relationships between ideas and evidence that may result in revision of an explanation.
- How/why does our understanding in science change over time?
- How do scientists use ideas, evidence, and argumentation to construct and evaluate a claim?
- How does communication contribute to the advancement of scientific knowledge?
Science Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories Explain
- Theories and laws provide explanations in science, but theories do not with time become laws or facts.
- A scientific theory is a substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that has been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment, and the science community validates each theory before it is accepted.
- Models, mechanisms, and explanations collectively serve as tools in the development of a scientific theory.
- Scientists often use hypotheses to develop and test theories and explanations.
- How do scientists develop and test theories and laws?
- How can models be used to explain a scientific theory?
- Why are only some scientific theories accepted?
- How do scientists use observation to develop a hypothesis?
Science is a Way of Knowing
- Science is both a body of knowledge that represents a current understanding of natural systems and the processes used to refine, elaborate, revise, and extend this knowledge.
- Science distinguishes itself from other ways of knowing through use of empirical standards, logical arguments, and skeptical review.
- How do we use science to understand the world around us?
- How does scientific knowledge impact how we interact with the world?
Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems
- Scientific knowledge is based on the assumption that natural laws operate today as they did in the past and they will continue to do so in the future.
- Science assumes the universe is a vast single system in which basic laws are consistent.
- What role does order and consistency in natural systems play in science?
- Why does science make assumptions?
- Are basic laws of science consistent?
- Why does scientific knowledge assume that natural laws operate today as they did in the past? Will they continue to do so in the future?
Science is a Human Endeavor
- Scientific knowledge is a result of human endeavor, imagination, and creativity.
- Individuals and teams from many nations and cultures have contributed to science and to advances in engineering.
- Technological advances have influenced the progress of science and engineering and science and engineering has influenced advances in technology.
- How does technology advance science?
- How do different cultures offer varying perspectives to advance science and engineering?
- How can people use their imagination and creativity to expand scientific knowledge?
- How does the needs of society drive and reflect scientific and engineering transformations?
- Why is it difficult for scientists to be truly objective?
Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World.
- Not all questions can be answered by science.
- Science and technology may raise ethical issues for which science, by itself, does not provide answers and solutions.
- Science knowledge indicates what can happen in natural systems—not what should happen.
- Many decisions are not made using science alone, but rely on social and cultural contexts to resolve issues.
- Why do conflicts occur between ethics and science?
- How do social and cultural norms influence the way scientific knowledge is utilized?
- How does scientific knowledge impact the way society interprets trends in the natural world?
- Why is science unable to answer all questions?