the earth system. We can observe some changes such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on a human time scale, but many processes such as mountain building and plate movements take place over hundreds of millions of years.

  • Evidence for one-celled forms of life—the bacteria—extends back more than 3.5 billion years. The evolution of life caused dramatic changes in the composition of the earth's atmosphere, which did not originally contain oxygen.


[See Content Standard A (grades 9-12)]

  • The origin of the universe remains one of the greatest questions in science. The "big bang" theory places the origin between 10 and 20 billion years ago, when the universe began in a hot dense state; according to this theory, the universe has been expanding ever since.

  • Early in the history of the universe, matter, primarily the light atoms hydrogen and helium, clumped together by gravitational attraction to form countless trillions of stars. Billions of galaxies, each of which is a gravitationally bound cluster of billions of stars, now form most of the visible mass in the universe.

  • Stars produce energy from nuclear reactions, primarily the fusion of hydrogen to form helium. These and other processes in stars have led to the formation of all the other elements.

Science and Technology

Content Standard E

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

  • Abilities of technological design

  • Understandings about science and technology

Developing Student Abilities and Understanding

This standard has two equally important parts—developing students' abilities of technological design and developing students' understanding about science and technology. Although these are science education standards, the relationship between science and technology is so close that any presentation of science without developing an understanding of technology would portray an inaccurate picture of science.

In the course of solving any problem where students try to meet certain criteria within constraints, they will find that the ideas and methods of science that they know, or can learn, can be powerful aids. Students also find that they need to call on other sources of knowledge and skill, such as cost, risk, and benefit analysis, and aspects of critical thinking and creativity. Learning experiences associated with this standard should include examples of technological achievement in which science has played a part and examples where technological advances contributed directly to scientific progress.

Students can understand and use the design model outlined in this standard. Students respond positively to the concrete,

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