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The Scientific World View (grade 9-12) -
By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that:
- Scientists assume that the universe is a vast single system in
which the basic rules are the same everywhere. The rules may range from
very simple to extremely complex, but scientists operate on the belief
that the rules can be discovered by careful, systematic study.
- From time to time, major shifts occur in the scientific view of how
the world works. More often, however, the changes that take place in
the body of scientific knowledge are small modifications of prior
knowledge. Change and continuity are persistent features of science.
- No matter how well one theory fits observations, a new theory might
fit them just as well or better, or might fit a wider range of
observations. In science, the testing, revising, and occasional
discarding of theories, new and old, never ends. This ongoing process
leads to an increasingly better understanding of how things work in the
world but not to absolute truth. Evidence for the value of this
approach is given by the improving ability of scientists to offer
reliable explanations and make accurate predictions.
Scientific Inquiry (grades 9-12) -
Benchmarks and Standards as Tools for Science Education Reform
- Investigations are conducted for different reasons, including to
explore new phenomena, to check on previous results, to test how well a
theory predicts, and to compare different theories.
- Hypotheses are widely used in science for choosing what data to pay
attention to and what additional data to seek, and for guiding the
interpretation of the data (both new and previously available).
- Sometimes, scientists can control conditions in order to obtain
evidence. When that is not possible for practical or ethical reasons,
they try to observe as wide a range of natural occurrences as possible
to be able to discern patterns.
- There are different traditions in science about what is
investigated and how, but they all have in common certain basic beliefs
about the value of evidence, logic, and good arguments. And there is
agreement that progress in all fields of science depends on
intelligence, hard work, imagination, and even chance.
- Scientists in any one research group tend to see things alike, so
even groups of scientists may have trouble being entirely objective
about their methods and findings. For that reason, scientific teams are
expected to seek out the possible sources of bias in the design of
their investigations and in their data analysis. Checking each other's
results and explanations helps, but that is no guarantee against bias.
- In the short run, new ideas that do not mesh well with mainstream
ideas in science often encounter vigorous criticism. In the long run,
theories are judged by how they fit with other theories, the range of
observations they explain, how well they explain observations, and how
effective they are in predicting new findings.
- New ideas in science are limited by the context in which they are
conceived; are often rejected by the scientific establishment;
sometimes spring from unexpected findings; and usually grow slowly,
through contributions from many investigators.
For a listing of the specific grade 9-12 astronomy standards we are
working towards in this workshop, please check the National Science
Education Standards - Earth and Space Science Content
Other standards listings include: