Content Standards: 9-12

Science as Inquiry

Content Standard A

As a result of activities in grades 9–12, all students should develop

  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry

  • Understandings about scientific inquiry

Developing Student Abilities and Understanding

For students to develop the abilities that characterize science as inquiry, they must actively participate in scientific investigations, and they must actually use the cognitive and manipulative skills associated with the formulation of scientific explanations. This standard describes the fundamental abilities and understandings of inquiry, as well as a larger framework for conducting scientific investigations of natural phenomena.

In grades 9-12, students should develop sophistication in their abilities and understanding of scientific inquiry. Students can understand that experiments are guided by concepts and are performed to test ideas. Some students still have trouble with variables and controlled experiments. Further, students often have trouble dealing with data that seem anomalous and in proposing explanations based on evidence and logic rather than on their prior beliefs about the natural world.

One challenge to teachers of science and to curriculum developers is making science investigations meaningful. Investigations should derive from questions and issues that have meaning for students. Scientific topics that have been highlighted by current events provide one source, whereas actual science- and technology-related problems provide another source of meaningful investigations. Finally, teachers of science should remember that some experiences begin with little meaning for students but develop meaning through active involvement, continued

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