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APPENDIX H to the nature of science in the following statement: “Epistemic knowledge is knowledge of the constructs and values that are UNDERSTANDING THE SCIENTIFIC intrinsic to science. Students need to understand what is meant, ENTERPRISE: THE NATURE OF SCIENCE for example, by an observation, a hypothesis, an inference, a IN THE NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE model, a theory, or a claim and be able to distinguish among them” (p. 79). This quotation presents a series of concepts and STANDARDS activities important to understanding the nature of science as a complement to the practices imbedded in investigations, field studies, and experiments. THE NATURE OF SCIENCE: Scientists and science teachers agree that science is a way of explaining the natural world. In common parlance, science is both A PERSPECTIVE FOR THE NGSS a set of practices and the historical accumulation of knowledge. The integration of science and engineering practices, disciplinary An essential part of science education is learning science and core ideas, and crosscutting concepts sets the stage for teaching engineering practices and developing knowledge of the concepts and learning about the nature of science. That said, learning about that are foundational to science disciplines. Further, students the nature of science requires more than engaging in activities and should develop an understanding of the enterprise of science as a conducting investigations. whole—the wondering, investigating, questioning, data collect- ing, and analyzing. This final statement establishes a connection When the three dimensions of the science standards are combined, between the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the one can ask what is central to the intersection of the science and nature of science. Public comments on previous drafts of the NGSS engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting con- called for more explicit discussion of how students can learn cepts? Or, what is the relationship among the three basic elements about the nature of science. of the Framework? Humans have a need to know and understand the world around them. And they have the need to change their This chapter presents perspectives, a rationale, and research sup- environment using technology in order to accommodate what they porting an emphasis on the nature of science in the context of understand or desire. In some cases, the need to know originates in the NGSS. Additionally, eight understandings with appropriate satisfying basic needs in the face of potential danger. Sometimes it is grade-level outcomes are included as extensions of the science a natural curiosity and, in other cases, the promise of a better, more and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts, not as a comfortable life. Science is the pursuit of explanations of the natu- fourth dimension of standards. Finally, this chapter discusses how ral world, and technology and engineering are means of accommo- to emphasize the nature of science in school programs. dating human needs, intellectual curiosity, and aspirations. One fundamental goal for K–12 science education is a scientifi- THE FRAMEWORK FOR K–12 SCIENCE EDUCATION cally literate person who can understand the nature of scientific knowledge. Indeed, the only consistent characteristic A Framework for K–12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting of scientific knowledge across the disciplines is that scientific Concepts, and Core Ideas (Framework) (NRC, 2012) acknowledged knowledge itself is open to revision in light of new evidence. the importance of the nature of science in the statement “there is a strong consensus about characteristics of the scientific enter- In K–12 classrooms the issue is how to explain both the natural prise that should be understood by an educated citizen” (p. 78). world and what constitutes the formation of adequate, evidence- The Framework reflected on the practices of science and returned based scientific explanations. To be clear, this perspective 96

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complements but is distinct from students engaging in science and Further support for teaching about the nature of science can be engineering practices in order to enhance their knowledge and seen in 40 years of position statements from the National Science understanding of the natural world. Teachers Association. Science for All Americans (Rutherford and Ahlgren, 1989), the policy statement Benchmarks for Science Literacy (AAAS, 1993), and National Science Education Standards A RATIONALE AND RESEARCH (NRC, 1996) clearly set understanding the nature of science as a Addressing the need for students to understand both the concepts learning outcome in science education. and practices of science and the nature of science is not new in Recently, discussions of the Framework (NRC, 2012) and implications American education. For example, the writings of James B. Conant for teaching science have provided background for instructional strat- in the 1940s and 1950s argue for a greater understanding of egies that connect specific practices and the nature of scientific expla- science by citizens (Conant, 1947). In Science and Common Senses, nations (Duschl, 2012; Krajcik and Merritt, 2012; Reiser et al., 2012). Conant (1951) discusses the “bewilderment of laymen” when it comes to understanding what science can and cannot accomplish, THE NATURE OF SCIENCE AND THE NGSS in both the detailed context of investigations and the larger per- spective of understanding science. Conant says: “The remedy does The nature of science is included in the NGSS. Here is presented not lie in a greater dissemination of scientific information among the Nature of Science (NOS) Matrix. The basic understandings non-scientists. Being well informed about science is not the same about the nature of science are: thing as understanding science, though the two propositions are • Scientific Investigations Use a Variety of Methods not antithetical. What is needed are methods for importing some • Scientific Knowledge Is Based on Empirical Evidence knowledge of the tactics and strategy of science to those who are • Scientific Knowledge Is Open to Revision in Light of New Evidence not scientists” (Conant, 1951, p. 4). In the context of the discussion • Scientific Models, Laws, Mechanisms, and Theories Explain here, tactics are analogous to science and engineering practices, as Natural Phenomena well as to the nature of scientific explanations. • Science Is a Way of Knowing The present discussion recommends the aforementioned “tactics • Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in of science and engineering practices and crosscutting concepts” Natural Systems to develop students’ understanding of the larger strategies of • Science Is a Human Endeavor the scientific enterprise—the nature of scientific explanations. It • Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World should be noted that Conant and colleagues went on to develop The first four of these understandings are closely associated with Harvard Cases in History of Science (available at: practices and the second four with crosscutting concepts. The NOS WebQuery/clc/382832), a historical approach to understanding Matrix presents specific content for K–2, 3–5, middle school, and science. An extension of the nature of science as a learning goal high school. Appropriate learning outcomes for the nature of for education soon followed the original work at Harvard. In the science are expressed in the performance expectations and are pre- late 1950s, Leo Klopfer adapted the Harvard Cases for use in high sented in either the foundations column for practices or the cross- schools (Klopfer and Cooley, 1963). Work on the nature of science cutting concepts of the disciplinary core ideas standards pages. has continued with lines of research by Duschl (1990, 2000, 2008), Lederman (1992), and Lederman and colleagues (2002). One Again, it should be noted that inclusion of the nature of science aspect of this research base addresses the teaching of the nature in the NGSS does not constitute a fourth dimension of standards. of science (see, e.g., Duschl, 1990; Duschl and Grandy, 2008; Flick Rather, the grade-level representations of the eight understandings and Lederman, 2004; Lederman and Lederman, 2004; McComas, have been incorporated in the practices and crosscutting concepts, 1998; Osborne et al., 2003). as seen in the performance expectations and represented in the foundation boxes. Understanding the Scientific Enterprise: The Nature of Science in the Next Generation Science Standards 97

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Overview One goal of science education is to help students understand the nature of scientific knowledge. This matrix presents eight major themes and grade-level understandings about the nature of science. Four themes extend the science and engineering practices and four themes extend the crosscutting concepts. The eight themes are presented in the left column. The matrix describes learning outcomes for the themes at grade bands for K–2, 3–5, middle school, and high school. Appropriate learning outcomes are expressed in select performance expectations and are presented in the foundation boxes throughout the standards. Nature of science understandings most closely associated with practices. Nature of science understandings most closely associated with crosscutting concepts. Understandings About the Nature of Science Categories K–2 3–5 Middle School High School Scientific Investigations • Scientific • Scientific methods are • Scientific investigations use a variety • Scientific investigations use diverse methods Use a Variety of Methods investigations begin determined by questions. of methods and tools to make and do not always use the same set of with a question. • Scientific investigations measurements and observations. procedures to obtain data. • Scientists use different use a variety of methods, • Scientific investigations are guided • New technologies advance scientific ways to study the tools, and techniques. by a set of values to ensure accuracy knowledge. world. of measurements, observations, and • Scientific inquiry is characterized by a objectivity of findings. common set of values that include logical • Science depends on evaluating proposed thinking, precision, open-mindedness, explanations. objectivity, skepticism, replicability of results, • Scientific values function as criteria in and honest and ethical reporting of findings. distinguishing between science and non- • The discourse practices of science are science. organized around disciplinary domains that share exemplars for making decisions regarding the values, instruments, methods, models, and evidence to adopt and use. • Scientific investigations use a variety of methods, tools, and techniques to revise and produce new knowledge. Scientific Knowledge • Scientists look • Scientific findings are • Scientific knowledge is based on logical • Scientific knowledge is based on empirical Is Based on Empirical for patterns and based on recognizing and conceptual connections between evidence. Evidence order when making patterns. evidence and explanations. • Science disciplines share common rules of observations about the • Scientists use tools and • Science disciplines share common rules evidence used to evaluate explanations about world. technologies to make of obtaining and evaluating empirical natural systems. accurate measurements evidence. • Science includes the process of coordinating and observations. patterns of evidence with current theory. • Scientific arguments are strengthened by multiple lines of evidence supporting a single explanation. 98 NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS

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Understandings About the Nature of Science Categories K–2 3–5 Middle School High School Scientific Knowledge Is • Scientific knowledge • Scientific explanations • Scientific explanations are subject to • Scientific explanations can be probabilistic. Open to Revision in Light can change when new can change based on new revision and improvement in light of new • Most scientific knowledge is quite durable of New Evidence information is found. evidence. evidence. but, in principle, is subject to change based • The certainty and durability of scientific on new evidence and/or reinterpretation of findings vary. existing evidence. • Scientific findings are frequently revised • Scientific argumentation is a mode of logical and/or reinterpreted based on new discourse used to clarify the strength of evidence. relationships between ideas and evidence that may result in revision of an explanation. Science Models, Laws, • Scientists use • Scientific theories are • Theories are explanations for observable • Theories and laws provide explanations in Mechanisms, and drawings, sketches, and based on a body of phenomena. science, but theories do not with time become Theories Explain Natural models as a way to evidence and many tests. • Scientific theories are based on a body of laws or facts. Phenomena communicate ideas. • Scientific explanations evidence developed over time. • A scientific theory is a substantiated • Scientists search describe the mechanisms • Laws are regularities or mathematical explanation of some aspect of the natural for cause and effect for natural events. descriptions of natural phenomena. world, based on a body of facts that has been relationships to explain • A hypothesis is used by scientists as repeatedly confirmed through observation natural events. an idea that may contribute important and experiment. The science community new knowledge for the evaluation of a validates each theory before it is accepted. If scientific theory. new evidence is discovered that a theory does • The term “theory” as used in science not accommodate, the theory is generally is very different from the common use modified in light of new evidence. outside science. • Models, mechanisms, and explanations collectively serve as tools in the development of a scientific theory. • Laws are statements or descriptions of the relationships among observable phenomena. • Scientists often use hypotheses to develop and test theories and explanations. Understanding the Scientific Enterprise: The Nature of Science in the Next Generation Science Standards 99

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Understandings About the Nature of Science Categories K–2 3–5 Middle School High School Science Is a Way of • Scientific knowledge • Science is both a body of • Science is both a body of knowledge and • Science is both a body of knowledge that Knowing informs us about the knowledge and processes the processes and practices used to add represents a current understanding of natural world. that add new knowledge. to that body of knowledge. systems and the processes used to refine, • Science is a way of • Scientific knowledge is cumulative and elaborate, revise, and extend this knowledge. knowing that is used by many people from many generations and • Science is a unique way of knowing, and there many people. nations have contributed to scientific are other ways of knowing. knowledge. • Science distinguishes itself from other ways • Science is a way of knowing used by of knowing through the use of empirical many people, not just scientists. standards, logical arguments, and skeptical review. • Scientific knowledge has a history that includes refinement of, and changes to, theories, ideas, and beliefs over time. Scientific Knowledge • Science assumes • Science assumes consistent • Science assumes that objects and events • Scientific knowledge is based on the Assumes an Order and natural events patterns in natural systems. in natural systems occur in consistent assumption that natural laws operate today Consistency in Natural happen today as they • Basic laws of nature are patterns that are understandable through as they did in the past and will continue to do Systems happened in the past. the same everywhere in measurement and observation. so in the future. • Many events are the universe. • Science carefully considers and evaluates • Science assumes the universe is a vast single repeated. anomalies in data and evidence. system in which basic laws are consistent. Science Is a Human • People have practiced • Men and women from all • Men and women from different social, • Scientific knowledge is a result of human Endeavor science for a long time. cultures and backgrounds cultural, and ethnic backgrounds work as endeavor, imagination, and creativity. • Men and women of choose careers as scientists scientists and engineers. • Individuals and teams from many nations and diverse backgrounds and engineers. • Scientists and engineers rely on human cultures have contributed to science and to are scientists and • Most scientists and qualities such as persistence, precision, advances in engineering. engineers. engineers work in teams. reasoning, logic, imagination, and • Scientists’ backgrounds, theoretical • Science affects everyday creativity. commitments, and fields of endeavor life. • Scientists and engineers are guided influence the nature of their findings. • Creativity and imagination by habits of mind, such as intellectual • Technological advances have influenced are important to science. honesty, tolerance of ambiguity, the progress of science, and science has skepticism, and openness to new ideas. influenced advances in technology. • Advances in technology influence the • Science and engineering are influenced by progress of science, and science has society, and society is influenced by science influenced advances in technology. and engineering. Science Addresses • Scientists study the • Scientific findings are • Scientific knowledge is constrained • Not all questions can be answered by science. Questions About the natural and material limited to what can be by human capacity, technology, and • Science and technology may raise ethical Natural and Material world. answered with empirical materials. issues for which science, by itself, does not World evidence. • Science limits its explanations to systems provide answers and solutions. that lend themselves to observation and • Scientific knowledge indicates what can empirical evidence. happen in natural systems—not what should • Scientific knowledge can describe happen. The latter involves ethics, values, and consequences of actions but is not human decisions about the use of knowledge. responsible for society’s decisions. • Many decisions are not made using science alone, but rely on social and cultural contexts to resolve issues. 100 NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS

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IMPLEMENTING INSTRUCTION TO FACILITATE • Copernican Revolution UNDERSTANDING OF THE NATURE OF SCIENCE • Newtonian Mechanics • Lyell’s Study of Patterns of Rocks and Fossils Now, the science teacher’s question: How do I put the elements • Progression from Continental Drift to Plate Tectonics of practices and crosscutting concepts together to help students • Lavoisier–Dalton and Atomic Structure understand the nature of science? Suppose students observe the • Darwin’s Theory of Biological Evolution and the Modern moon’s movements in the sky, changes in seasons, phase changes Synthesis in water, or life cycles of organisms. One can have them observe • Pasteur and the Germ Theory of Disease patterns and propose explanations of cause and effect. Then, stu- • Watson and Crick and the Molecular Model of Genetics dents can develop a model of a system based on their proposed These explanations could be supplemented with other cases from explanation. Next, they design an investigation to test the model. history. The point is to provide an instructional context that bridges In designing the investigation, they must gather and analyze data. tactics and strategies with practices and the nature of science, Next, they construct an explanation using an evidence-based argu- through understanding the role of systems, models, patterns, cause ment. These experiences allow students to use their knowledge of and effect, the analysis and interpretation of data, the importance the practices and crosscutting concepts to understand the nature of of evidence with scientific arguments, and the construction of sci- science. This is possible when students have instruction that empha- entific explanations of the natural world. Through the use of his- sizes why explanations are based on evidence, that the phenomena torical and contemporary case studies, students can understand the they observe are consistent with the way the entire universe con- nature of explanations in the larger context of scientific models, tinues to operate, and that multiple ways can be used to investi- laws, mechanisms, and theories. gate these phenomena. In designing instruction, deliberate choices will need to be made The Framework emphasizes that students must have the opportu- about when it is sufficient to build students’ understanding of the nity to stand back and reflect on how the practices contribute to scientific enterprise through reflection on their own investigations the accumulation of scientific knowledge. This means, for example, and when it is necessary and productive to have students analyze that when students carry out an investigation, develop models, historical case studies. articulate questions, or engage in arguments, they should have opportunities to think about what they have done and why. They should be given opportunities to compare their own approaches to CONCLUSION those of other students or professional scientists. Through this kind of reflection they come to understand the importance of each prac- This discussion addressed how to support the development of an tice and develop a nuanced appreciation of the nature of science. understanding of the nature of science in the context of the NGSS. The approach centered on eight understandings for the nature of Using examples from the history of science is another method for science and the intersection of those understandings with science presenting the nature of science. It is one thing to develop the and engineering practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscut- practices and crosscutting concepts in the context of core disciplin- ting concepts. The nature of the scientific explanations is an idea ary ideas; it is another aim to develop an understanding of the central to standards-based science programs. Beginning with the nature of science within those contexts. The use of case studies practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts, science from the history of science provides contexts in which to develop teachers can progress to the regularities of laws, the importance students’ understanding of the nature of science. In the middle and of evidence, and the formulation of theories in science. With the high school grades, for example, case studies on the following top- addition of historical examples, the nature of scientific explana- ics might be used to broaden and deepen understanding about the tions assumes a human face and is recognized as an ever-changing nature of science: enterprise. Understanding the Scientific Enterprise: The Nature of Science in the Next Generation Science Standards 101

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