early grades, instruction should establish the meaning and use of unifying concepts and processes—for example, what it means to measure and how to use measurement tools. At the upper grades, the standard should facilitate and enhance the learning of scientific concepts and principles by providing students with a big picture of scientific ideas—for example, how measurement is important in all scientific endeavors.

Science as Inquiry Standards

In the vision presented by the Standards, inquiry is a step beyond ''science as a process," in which students learn skills, such as observation, inference, and experimentation. The new vision includes the "processes of science" and requires that students combine processes and scientific knowledge as they use scientific reasoning and critical thinking to develop their understanding of science. Engaging students in inquiry helps students develop

  • Understanding of scientific concepts.

  • An appreciation of "how we know" what we know in science.

  • Understanding of the nature of science.

  • Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.

  • The dispositions to use the skills, abilities, and attitudes associated with science.

TABLE 6.1. SCIENCE AS INQUIRY STANDARDS

LEVELS K-4

LEVELS 5-8

LEVELS 9-12

Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

Understanding about scientific inquiry

Understanding about scientific inquiry

Understanding about scientific inquiry

Science as inquiry is basic to science education and a controlling principle in the ultimate organization and selection of students' activities. The standards on inquiry highlight the ability to conduct inquiry and develop understanding about scientific inquiry. Students at all grade levels and in every domain of science should have the opportunity to use scientific inquiry and develop the ability to think and act in ways associated with inquiry, including asking questions, planning and conducting investigations, using appropriate tools and techniques to gather data, thinking critically and logically about relationships between evidence and explanations, constructing and analyzing alternative explanations, and communicating scientific arguments. Table 6.1 shows the standards for inquiry. The science as inquiry standards are described in terms of activities resulting in student development of certain abilities and in terms of student understanding of inquiry.



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement