Supporting Teachers

We help students overcome common misconceptions about climate change, evolution, and the nature of science.

Back to Classroom Resources

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
4-6 50 minute classes

NGSS Standards

DCIs (Disciplinary Core Ideas)
Engineering Design:
  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.
Performance Expectations
Engineering Design:
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
Science and Engineering Practices
  • Asking questions and defining problems
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Engaging in argument from evidence
NGSS Appendix H: Understanding the Scientific Enterprise: The Nature of Science in the Next Generation Science Standards
  • Scientific knowledge is based on empirical evidence
  • Scientific knowledge is open to revision in light of new evidence
  • Science is a way of knowing
  • Scientific knowledge assumes an order and consistency in natural systems
  • Science is a human endeavor
Other Relevant NGSS References
  1. NGSS Appendix F: Science and Engineering Practices in the NGSS
  2. NGSS Appendix G: Crosscutting Concepts
  3. NGSS Appendix J: Science, Technology, Society and the Environment

Note: Due to the nature of the five lesson sets, 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 lesson sets incorporate the ideals of these four appendices and provide numerous opportunities for the application of scientific knowledge across a variety of disciplines.

CC License

Unlock resources!

Set up your free account with the National Center for Science Education to access our free teaching resources.

Already registered? Sign in.
Reset Password.