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UNDERSTANDINGS ABOUT SCIENTIFIC INQUIRY
[See Content Standard G (grades K-4)]
[See Program Standard C]
Scientific investigations involve asking and answering a question and comparing the answer with what scientists already know about the world.
Scientists use different kinds of investigations depending on the questions they are trying to answer. Types of investigations include describing objects, events, and organisms; classifying them; and doing a fair test (experimenting).
Simple instruments, such as magnifiers, thermometers, and rulers, provide more information than scientists obtain using only their senses.
Scientists develop explanations using observations (evidence) and what they already know about the world (scientific knowledge). Good explanations are based on evidence from investigations.
Scientists make the results of their investigations public; they describe the investigations in ways that enable others to repeat the investigations.
Scientists review and ask questions about the results of other scientists' work.
Content Standard B
As a result of the activities in grades K-4, all students should develop an understanding of
Properties of objects and materials
Position and motion of objects
Light, heat, electricity, and magnetism
Developing Student Understanding
During their early years, children's natural curiosity leads them to explore the world by observing and manipulating common objects and materials in their environment. Children compare, describe, and sort as they begin to form explanations of the world. Developing a subject-matter knowledge base to explain and
Full inquiry involves asking a simple question, completing an investigation, answering the question, and presenting the results to others.
predict the world requires many experiences over a long period. Young children bring experiences, understanding, and ideas to school; teachers provide opportunities to continue children's explorations in focused settings with other children using simple tools, such as magnifiers and measuring devices.
Physical science in grades K-4 includes topics that give students a chance to increase their understanding of the characteristics of objects and materials that they encounter daily. Through the observation, manipulation, and classification of common objects, children reflect on the similarities and differences of the objects. As a result, their initial sketches and single-word descriptions lead to increasingly more detailed drawings and richer verbal descriptions. Describing, grouping, and sorting solid objects and materials is possible early in this grade range. By grade 4, distinctions between the properties of objects and materials can be understood in specific contexts, such as a set of rocks or living materials.
Marking the culmination of a three-year, multiphase process, on April 10th, 2013, a 26-state consortium released the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS), a detailed description of the key scientific ideas and practices that all students should learn by the time they graduate from high school.