This gradual development of understanding and ability will be realized only if the concepts and capabilities designated for each grade level are congruent with the students' mental, affective, and physical abilities. Providing a range of student activities promotes learning, and some activities can be slightly beyond the students' developmental level. However, it is inappropriate to require students to learn terms and perform activities that are far beyond their cognitive and physical developmental level.
[See Content Standard A (all grade levels)]
THE PROGRAM OF STUDY MUST EMPHASIZE STUDENT UNDERSTANDING THROUGH INQUIRY. Inquiry is a set of interrelated processes by which scientists and students pose questions about the natural world and investigate phenomena; in doing so, students acquire knowledge and develop a rich understanding of concepts, principles, models, and theories. Inquiry is a critical component of a science program at all grade levels and in every domain of science, and designers of curricula and programs must be sure that the approach to content, as well as the teaching and assessment strategies, reflect the acquisition of scientific understanding through inquiry. Students then will learn science in a way that reflects how science actually works.
THE PROGRAM OF STUDY IN SCIENCE SHOULD CONNECT TO OTHER SCHOOL SUBJECTS. Student achievement in science and in other school subjects such as social studies, language arts, and technology is enhanced by coordination between and among the science program and other programs. Furthermore, such coordination can make maximal use of time in a crowded school schedule. As an example, the National Standards for Geography include knowledge about land forms, as does the earth and space science standard. A combined geography and science unit is natural. Oral and written communication skills are developed in science when students record, summarize, and communicate the results of inquiry to their class, school, or community. Coordination suggests that these skills receive attention in the language arts program as well as in the science program.
The science program should be coordinated with the mathematics program to enhance student use and understanding of mathematics in the study of science and to improve student understanding of mathematics.
Science requires the use of mathematics in the collection and treatment of data and in the reasoning used to develop concepts, laws, and theories. School science and mathematics programs should be coordinated so that students learn the necessary mathematical skills and concepts before and during their use in the science program.
Coordination of science and mathematics programs provides an opportunity to advance instruction in science beyond the purely descriptive. Students gathering data in a science investigation should use tools of data analysis to organize these data and to formulate hypotheses for further testing. Using data from actual investigations from science in mathematics courses, students encounter all the anomalies of authentic problems—inconsistencies, outliers, and