Table 2-2. Content Standard for Science as Inquiry: Fundamental Abilities Necessary to Do Scientific Inquiry

Grades K-4

  • Ask a question about objects, organisms, and events in the environment.

  • Plan and conduct a simple investigation.

  • Employ simple equipment and tools to gather data and extend the senses.

  • Use data to construct a reasonable explanation.

  • Communicate investigations and explanations.

Grades 5-8

  • Identify questions that can be answered through scientific investigations.

  • Design and conduct a scientific investigation.

  • Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.

  • Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence.

  • Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations.

  • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions.

  • Communicate scientific procedures and explanations.

  • Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry.

Grades 9-12

  • Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations.

  • Design and conduct scientific investigations.

  • Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications.

  • Formulate and revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence.

  • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and models.

  • Communicate and defend a scientific argument.

dents ought to draw on evidence and analytical tools to derive a scientific claim. In turn, students should be able to assess both the strengths and weaknesses of their claims. The development and evolution of knowledge claims, and reflection upon those claims, underlie the inquiry abilities presented in Table 2-2.

Note that the abilities from one grade level to the next are very similar but become more complex as the grade level increases. For example, K-4 students “use data to construct a reasonable explanation,” while 5-8 students “recognize and analyze alternative explanations and procedures,” and 9-12 students analyze “alternative models” as well. The abilities are designed to be developmentally appropriate to the grade level span.

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