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Science as Inquiry

Contact(s)

Essential Feature

Variations

 

 

 

1. Learner engages in scientifically oriented questions

Learner poses a question

Learner selects among questions, poses new questions

Learner sharpens or clarifies question provided by teacher, materials, or other source

Learner engages in question provided by teacher, materials, or other source

2. Learner gives priority to evidence in responding to questions

Learner determines what constitutes evidence and collects it

Learner directed to collect certain data

Learner given data and asked to analyze

Learner given data and told how to analyze

3. Learner formulate explanations from evidence

Learner formulates explanation after summarizing evidence

Learner guided in process of formulating explanations from evidence

Learner given possible ways to use evidence to formulate explanation

Learner provided with evidence and how to use evidence to formulate explanation

4. Learner connects explanations to scientific knowledge

Learner independently examines other resources and forms the links to explanations

Learner directed toward areas and sources of scientific knowledge

Learner given possible connections

 

5. Learner communicates and justifies explanations</>

Learner forms reasonable and logical argument to communicate explanations

Learner coached in development of communication

Learner provided broad guidelines to use sharpen communication

Learner given steps and procedures for communication

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Kindergarten-Grade 2

Essential Concepts and/or Skills

Ask questions about objects, organisms, and events in the environment
Students should answer their questions by seeking information from their own observations, investigations and from reliable sources of scientific information.

Plan and conduct simple investigations
In earliest years, investigations are largely based on direct observations.  As students develop, they design and conduct simple investigations to answer questions.

It is important to follow appropriate safety procedures when conducting investigations.

Use tools to gather data and extend the senses
Students use tools such as rulers, thermometers, watches, balances, spring scales, magnifiers and microscopes to extend their senses and their abilities to gather data.

Use mathematics in scientific inquiry
Mathematics is used to gather, organize and present data and to construct convincing explanations.

Use data to construct reasonable explanations
Students should learn what constitutes evidence.

Students’ explanations should reflect the evidence they have obtained.

Communicate investigations and explanations
Students should begin to develop the abilities to communicate, critique, and analyze their work and the work of other students.

Students should communicate orally, through writing or through drawings.

Follow appropriate safety procedures when conducting investigations

 

Grades 3-5

Essential Concepts and/or Skills

Identify and generate questions that can be answered through scientific investigations
Students ask questions that they can answer with scientific knowledge combined with their own observations.

Students recognize that different questions lead to different types of investigations.

Recognize that scientists perform different types of investigations
Types of investigations include describing objects, events, and organisms; classifying them; and doing a fair test (experimenting), depending on the types of questions they want to answer.

Plan and conduct scientific investigations
Students should engage in systematic observation, making accurate measurements, and identifying and controlling variables.

Students understand the concept of a fair test.

Students follow appropriate safety procedures when conducting investigations.

Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, process, and analyze data
Students enhance their skills with tools such as rulers, thermometers, balances, spring scales, magnifiers and microscopes.

Students are introduced to the use of computers and calculators for conducting investigations.

Students’ use of appropriate tools is guided by the questions asked and the investigations students design.

Incorporate mathematics in science inquiries
Mathematics is used to gather, organize and present data and to construct convincing explanations.

Use evidence to develop reasonable explanations
Students should determine what constitutes evidence.

Students should judge the merits or strengths of the data and information used to make explanations.

Students’ explanations should reflect the evidence they have obtained in their investigations.

Students should check their explanations against scientific knowledge, their own experiences, and observations of others.

Communicate scientific procedures and explanations
Students should communicate, critique, and analyze their work and the work of other students.

Students should share procedures and explanations through various means of communication.

Follow appropriate safety procedures when conducting investigations

 

Grades 6-8

Essential Concepts and/or Skills

Identify and generate questions that can be answered through scientific investigations
Students should develop the ability to refine and refocus broad and ill-defined questions. An important aspect of this ability consists of clarifying questions and inquiries and directing them toward objects and phenomena that can be described, explained, or predicted by scientific investigations.

Students should develop the ability to connect their questions with scientific ideas, concepts, and quantitative relationships that guide investigations.

Design and conduct different kinds of scientific investigations
Students understand that different kinds of questions suggest different kinds of scientific investigations.

Students should develop general abilities such as making systematic observations, taking accurate measurements, and identifying and controlling variables.

Students should develop the ability to clarify ideas that are influencing and guiding their inquiry, and to understand how those ideas compare with current scientific knowledge.

Students formulate questions, design investigations, execute investigations, interpret data, use evidence to generate explanations, propose alternative explanations, and critique explanations and procedures.

Students use appropriate safety procedures when conducting investigations.

Understand that different kinds of questions suggest different kinds of scientific investigations
Some investigations involve observing and describing objects, organisms and events; some involve collecting specimens; some involve experiments; some involve seeking more information; some involve discovery of new objects and phenomena; and some involve making models.

Select and use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze and interpret data
The use of tools and techniques, including computers, will be guided by the questions asked and the investigations students design. Students should be able to access, gather, store, retrieve, and organize data, using computer hardware and software designed for these purposes.

Incorporate mathematics in scientific inquiry
Mathematics is used to gather, organize and present data and to construct convincing explanations.

Use evidence to develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models
Students should base their explanations on observations and they should be able to differentiate between description and explanation.

Developing explanations establishes connections between the content of science and the contexts in which students develop new knowledge. 

Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly, or are too vast to be changed deliberately, or are potentially dangerous.

Different models can be used to represent the same thing.

Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations
Students decide what evidence should be used and develop the ability to account for anomalous data.

Students should be able to review data from an experiment, summarize the data, and form a logical argument between cause and effect relationships.

Students should begin to state some explanations in terms of relationships between two or more variables.

Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions
Students should develop the ability to listen to and respect the explanations proposed by other students. They should remain open to and acknowledge different ideas and explanations, be able to accept the skepticism of others, and consider alternative explanations.

Communicate and defend procedures and explanations
Students should become competent in communicating experimental methods, describing observations and summarizing the results of investigations. Explanations can be communicated through various methods.

Use appropriate safety procedures when conducting investigations

 

Grades 9-12

Essential Concepts and/or Skills

Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations
Students formulate a testable hypothesis and demonstrate the logical connections between the scientific concepts guiding a hypothesis and the design of an experiment. They should demonstrate appropriate procedures, a knowledge base, and conceptual understanding of scientific investigations. The key is that the student demonstrates knowledge of the scientific concepts through the investigation.

Design and conduct scientific investigations
Designing and conducting a scientific investigation requires introduction to the major concepts in the area being investigated, proper equipment, safety precautions, assistance with methodological problems, recommendations for use of technologies, clarification of ideas that guide the inquiry, and scientific knowledge obtained from sources other than the actual investigation. The investigation may also require student clarification of the question, method, controls, and variables; student organization and display of data; student revision of methods and explanations; and a public presentation of the results with a critical response from peers. Regardless of the scientific investigation performed, students must use evidence, apply logic, and construct an argument for their proposed explanations.

Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications
A variety of technologies, such as hand tools, measuring instruments, and calculators should be an integral component of scientific investigations. The use of computers for the collection, analysis, and display of data is also a part of this standard. Mathematics plays an essential role in all aspects of an inquiry investigation. For example, measurement is used for posing questions, formulas are used for developing explanations, and charts and graphs are used for communicating results.

Formulate and revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence
Student inquiries should culminate in formulating an explanation or model. Models should be physical, conceptual, and mathematical. In the process of answering the questions, the students should engage in discussions and arguments that result in the revision of their explanations. These discussions should be based on scientific knowledge, the use of logic, and evidence from their investigation.

Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations
Thinking critically about evidence includes deciding what evidence should be used and accounting for anomalous data. Specifically, students should be able to review data from a simple experiment, summarize the data, and form a logical argument about the cause-and-effect relationships in the experiment.

Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions
This aspect of the standard emphasizes the critical abilities of analyzing an argument by reviewing current scientific understanding, weighing the evidence, and examining the logic so as to decide which explanations and models are best. In other words, although there may be several plausible explanations, they do not all have equal weight. Students use scientific criteria to find the preferred explanations.

Communicate and defend scientific procedures and explanations
Students in school science programs should develop the abilities associated with accurate and effective communication. These include writing and following procedures, expressing concepts, reviewing information, summarizing data, using language appropriately, developing diagrams and charts, explaining statistical analysis, speaking clearly and logically, constructing a reasoned argument, and responding appropriately to critical comments.

Use mathematics in all aspects of scientific inquiry
Mathematics is essential to asking and answering questions about the natural world. Mathematics can be used to ask questions; to gather, organize, and present data; and to structure convincing explanations.

Printed from the Iowa Department of Education website on April 16, 2014 at 6:08pm.