Supporting Teachers

We give science teachers the tools and skills to help students overcome misconceptions and misinformation about climate change, evolution, and the nature of science.

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Science is a Never-Ending Process

One of the scientific terms most commonly misunderstood by the public is the word theory. By investigating germ theory students will understand how a theory can change over time while still maintaining its scientific rigor and relevance. Additionally, by participating in a historical case study, students will discard the common misconception of a linear systematic scientific method as the only blueprint for achieving discovery.

Age Level
Grades 9-12
Duration
4-6 50 minute classes

NGSS Standards

DCIs (Disciplinary Core Ideas)
Nature of Science:
  1. HS-ETS1.A1: Criteria and constraints also include satisfying any requirements set by society, such as taking issues of risk mitigation into account, and they should be quantified to the extent possible and stated in such a way that one can tell if a given design meets them.
  2. HS-ETS1.B1: When evaluating solutions, it is important to take into account a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, and to consider social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
Life Science:
  1. HS-LS4.B1: Natural selection occurs only if there is both (1) variation in the genetic information between organisms in a population and (2) variation in the expression of that genetic information — that is, trait variation — that leads to differences in performance among individuals.
  2. HS-LS4.B2: The traits that positively affect survival are more likely to be reproduced, and thus are more common in the population.
  3. HS-LS4.C1: Evolution is a consequence of the interaction of four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number (2) the genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for an environment’s limited supply of the resources that individuals need in order to survive and reproduce, and (4) the ensuing proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and reproduce in that environment.
  4. HS-LS4.C2: Natural selection leads to adaptation, that is, to a population dominated by organisms that are anatomically, behaviorally, and physiologically well suited to survive and reproduce in a specific environment. That is, the differential survival and reproduction of organisms in a population that have an advantageous heritable trait leads to an increase in the proportion of individuals in future generations that have the trait and to a decrease in the proportion of individuals that do not.
  5. HS.LS4.C3: Adaptation also means that the distribution of traits in a population can change when conditions change.
Performance Expectations
Nature of Science:
  1. HS-LS2-1: Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.
  2. HS-ETS-1-1: Analyze a major global challenge to specify qualitative and quantitative criteria and constraints for solutions that account for societal needs and wants.
  3. HS-ETS-1-3: Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
Life Science:
  1. HS-LS4-2: Construct an explanation based on evidence that the process of evolution primarily results from four factors: (1) the potential for a species to increase in number, (2) the heritable genetic variation of individuals in a species due to mutation and sexual reproduction, (3) competition for limited resources, and (4) the proliferation of those organisms that are better able to survive and produce in the environment.
  2. HS-LS4-3: Apply concepts of statistics and probability to support explanations that organisms with advantageous heritable trait tend to increase in proportion to organisms lacking this trait.
Other Relevant NGSS References
  1. NGSS Appendix F: Science and Engineering Practices in the NGSS
  2. NGSS Appendix G: Crosscutting Concepts
  3. NGSS Appendix H: Understanding the Scientific Enterprise: The Nature of Science in the Next Generation Science Standards
  4. NGSS Appendix J: Science, Technology, Society and the Environment

Note: Due to the nature of this entire unit, these four appendices are a vital component of why these activities are important in the science classroom. While a wide variety of science topics are selected to demonstrate the nature of science, all five mini-unit lesson sets incorporate the ideals of these four appendices and provide numerous opportunities for the application of scientific knowledge across a variety of disciplines.

This is a beta version of Lesson Set Two.