each category, the form of the standards, the criteria used to select the standards, and some advice for using the science content standards.

Rationale

The eight categories of content standards are

  • Unifying concepts and processes in science.

  • Science as inquiry.

  • Physical science.

  • Life science.

  • Earth and space science.

  • Science and technology.

  • Science in personal and social perspectives.

  • History and nature of science.

The standard for unifying concepts and processes is presented for grades K-12, because the understanding and abilities associated with major conceptual and procedural schemes need to be developed over an entire education, and the unifying concepts and processes transcend disciplinary boundaries. The next seven categories are clustered for grades K-4, 5-8, and 9-12. Those clusters were selected based on a combination of factors, including cognitive development theory, the classroom experience of teachers, organization of schools, and the frameworks of other disciplinary-based standards. References for additional reading for all the content standards are presented at the end of Chapter 6.

The sequence of the seven grade-level content standards is not arbitrary: Each standard subsumes the knowledge and skills of other standards. Students' understandings and abilities are grounded in the experience of inquiry, and inquiry is the foundation for the development of understandings and abilities of the other content standards. The personal and social aspects of science are emphasized increasingly in the progression from science as inquiry standards to the history and nature of science standards. Students need solid knowledge and understanding in physical, life, and earth and space science if they are to apply science.

Multidisciplinary perspectives also increase from the subject-matter standards to the standard on the history and nature of science, providing many opportunities for integrated approaches to science teaching.

Unifying Concepts and Processes Standard

Conceptual and procedural schemes unify science disciplines and provide students with powerful ideas to help them understand the natural world. Because of the underlying principles embodied in this standard, the understandings and abilities described here are repeated in the other content standards. Unifying concepts and processes include

  • Systems, order, and organization.

  • Evidence, models, and explanation.

  • Change, constancy, and measurement.

  • Evolution and equilibrium.

  • Form and function.

This standard describes some of the integrative schemes that can bring together students' many experiences in science education across grades K-12. The unifying concepts and processes standard can be the focus of instruction at any grade level but should always be closely linked to outcomes aligned with other content standards. In the



The National Academies | 500 Fifth St. N.W. | Washington, D.C. 20001
Copyright © National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.
Terms of Use and Privacy Statement