• Gravity is the force that keeps planets in orbit around the sun and governs the rest of the motion in the solar system. Gravity alone holds us to the earth's surface and explains the phenomena of the tides.

  • The sun is the major source of energy for phenomena on the earth's surface, such as growth of plants, winds, ocean currents, and the water cycle. Seasons result from variations in the amount of the sun's energy hitting the surface, due to the tilt of the earth's rotation on its axis and the length of the day.

Science and Technology

Content Standard E

As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop

  • Abilities of technological design

  • Understandings about science and technology

Developing Student Abilities and Understanding

Students in grades 5-8 can begin to differentiate between science and technology, although the distinction is not easy to make early in this level. One basis for understanding the similarities, differences, and relationships between science and technology should be experiences with design and problem solving in which students can further develop some of the abilities introduced in grades K-4. The understanding of technology can be developed by tasks in which students have to design something and also by studying technological products and systems.

In the middle-school years, students' work with scientific investigations can be complemented by activities in which the purpose is to meet a human need, solve a

In the middle-school years, students' work with scientific investigations can be complemented by activities in which the purpose is to meet a human need, solve a human problem, or develop a product . . .

human problem, or develop a product rather than to explore ideas about the natural world. The tasks chosen should involve the use of science concepts already familiar to students or should motivate them to learn new concepts needed to use or understand the technology. Students should also, through the experience of trying to meet a need in the best possible way, begin to appreciate that technological design and problem solving involve many other factors besides the scientific issues.

Suitable design tasks for students at these grades should be well-defined, so that the purposes of the tasks are not confusing. Tasks should be based on contexts that are immediately familiar in the homes, school, and immediate community of the students. The activities should be straightforward with only a few well-defined ways to solve the problems involved. The criteria for success and the constraints for design should be limited. Only one or two science ideas should be involved in any particular task. Any construction involved should be readily



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