instead, the scope, sequence, and coordination of concepts, processes, and topics are left to those who design and implement curricula in science programs.

Curricula often will integrate topics from different subject-matter areas—such as life and physical sciences—from different content standards—such as life sciences and

Scientific literacy implies that a person can identify scientific issues underlying national and local decisions and express positions that are scientifically and technologically informed.

science in personal and social perspectives—and from different school subjects—such as science and mathematics, science and language arts, or science and history.

KNOWLEDGE AND UNDERSTANDING. Implementing the National Science Education Standards implies the acquisition of scientific knowledge and the development of understanding. Scientific knowledge refers to facts, concepts, principles, laws, theories, and models and can be acquired in many ways. Understanding science requires that an individual integrate a complex structure of many types of knowledge, including the ideas of science, relationships between ideas, reasons for these relationships, ways to use the ideas to explain and predict other natural phenomena, and ways to apply them to many events. Understanding encompasses the ability to use knowledge, and it entails the ability to distinguish between what is and what is not a scientific idea. Developing understanding presupposes that students are actively engaged with the ideas of science and have many experiences with the natural world.

[See Content Standards A & G (all grade levels)]

[See Teaching Standard B]

INQUIRY. Scientific inquiry refers to the diverse ways in which scientists study the natural world and propose explanations based on the evidence derived from their work. Inquiry also refers to the activities of students in which they develop knowledge and understanding of scientific ideas, as well as an understanding of how scientists study the natural world.

Inquiry is a multifaceted activity that involves making observations; posing questions; examining books and other sources of information to see what is already known; planning investigations; reviewing what is already known in light of experimental evidence; using tools to gather, analyze, and interpret data; proposing answers, explanations, and predictions; and communicating the results. Inquiry requires identification of assumptions, use of critical and logical thinking, and consideration of alternative explanations. Students will engage in selected aspects of inquiry as they learn the scientific way of knowing the natural world, but they also should develop the capacity to conduct complete inquiries.

Although the Standards emphasize inquiry, this should not be interpreted as recommending a single approach to science teaching. Teachers should use different strategies to develop the knowledge, understandings, and abilities described in the content standards. Conducting hands-on science activities does not guarantee inquiry, nor is reading about science incompatible with inquiry. Attaining the understandings and abilities described in Chapter 6 cannot

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