This strand emphasizes understanding of fundamental concepts rather than memorization of unconnected facts.


Strand 3: Manipulate, test, explore, predict, question, observe, and make sense of the natural and physical world (science process skills).

This may include making observations, formulating a research question, developing a hypothesis (perhaps in the form of a model), using a range of methods to gather data, data analysis, and confirmation or revision of the hypothesis.


Strand 4: Reflect on science as a way of knowing; on processes, concepts, and institutions of science, as well as on the learners’ own process of learning about phenomena (understanding of the nature of science).


Strand 5: Participate in scientific activities and learning practices with others, using scientific language and tools (scientific discourse).

This strand flows out of the notion that science takes place in a community that shares norms, practices, and a common language and that learners should be introduced to these norms and practices as they engage with science.


Strand 6: Think about themselves as science learners and develop an identity as someone who knows about, uses, and sometimes contributes to science (identity).

This strand may be reflected in one’s ability to effectively apply scientific knowledge to life situations (e.g., health decisions) or at work, whether or not one works in a science-related job.


These six strands of informal science learning are closely intertwined and mutually supportive. They reflect the theory that mastery of science concepts and understanding of the nature of science are supported and accelerated when students engage in the processes of science. This theory is supported by a growing body of research evidence (National Research Council, 2005b, 2007). The strands are also based on a growing body of research that illuminates the importance of motivation, the social and cultural context, and feelings of identity and self-efficacy in supporting learning generally and science learning in particular (National Research Council, 2005b, 2007, 2009). The strands are well aligned with other recent theories of how people learn, such as theories that view education as a process of preparing for future learning and problem solving (Bransford and Schwartz, 1999; Schwartz, Bransford, and Sears, 2005).

Because science process skills and understanding of the nature of science are especially closely related, the committee merged them, reducing



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