used by scientists influence the way many individuals in society think about themselves, others, and the environment. The effect of science on society is neither entirely beneficial nor entirely detrimental.
Societal challenges often inspire questions for scientific research, and social priorities often influence research priorities through the availability of funding for research.
Technology influences society through its products and processes. Technology influences the quality of life and the ways people act and interact. Technological changes are often accompanied by social, political, and economic changes that can be beneficial or detrimental to individuals and to society. Social needs, attitudes, and values influence the direction of technological development.
Science and technology have advanced through contributions of many different people, in different cultures, at different times in history. Science and technology have contributed enormously to economic growth and productivity among societies and groups within societies.
Scientists and engineers work in many different settings, including colleges and universities, businesses and industries, specific research institutes, and government agencies.
Scientists and engineers have ethical codes requiring that human subjects involved with research be fully informed about risks and benefits associated with the research before the individuals choose to participate. This ethic extends to potential risks to communities and property. In short, prior knowledge and consent are required for research involving human subjects or potential damage to property.
Science cannot answer all questions and technology cannot solve all human problems or meet all human needs. Students should understand the difference between scientific and other questions. They should appreciate what science and technology can reasonably contribute to society and what they cannot do. For example, new technologies often will decrease some risks and increase others.
CONTENT STANDARD G: As a result of activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop understanding of
Science as a human endeavor
Nature of science
History of science
Experiences in which students actually engage in scientific investigations provide the background for developing an understanding of the nature of scientific inquiry, and will also provide a foundation for appreciating the history of science described in this standard.
The introduction of historical examples will help students see the scientific enterprise as more philosophical, social, and human. Middle-school students can thereby develop a better understanding of scientific inquiry and the interactions between science and society. In general, teachers of science should not assume that students have an accurate conception of the nature of science in either contemporary or historical contexts.
To develop understanding of the history and nature of science, teachers of science can use the actual experiences of student investigations, case studies, and historical vignettes. The intention of this standard is not to develop an overview of the complete history of science. Rather, historical examples are used to help students understand scientific inquiry, the nature of scientific knowledge, and the interactions between science and society.
Fundamental concepts and principles that underlie this standard include
Women and men of various social and ethnic backgrounds—and with diverse interests, talents, qualities, and motivations—engage in the activities of science, engineering, and related fields such as the health professions. Some scientists work in teams, and some work alone, but all communicate extensively with others.
Science requires different abilities, depending on such factors as the field of study and type of inquiry. Science is very much a human endeavor, and the work of science relies on basic human qualities, such as reasoning, insight, energy, skill, and creativity—as well as on scientific habits of mind, such as intellectual honesty, tolerance of ambiguity, skepticism, and openness to new ideas.
Scientists formulate and test their explanations of nature using observation, experiments, and theoretical and mathematical models. Although all scientific ideas are tentative and subject to change and improvement in principle, for most major ideas in science, there is much experimental and observational confirmation. Those ideas are not likely to