Delaware Science Language Arts Curriculum Framework

The STANDARDS CORRELATION chart suggests which Delaware Science Language Arts Curriculum Framework standards you can cover using PASSPORT TO ANTARCTICA in your classroom. We hope you will discover additional standards you can use. These are the ones our Instructional Materials Development team felt most directly related to the activities contained in PASSPORT TO ANTARCTICA.

For additional Delaware Science Language Arts Curriculum Framework standards you can cover see the STANDARDS CORRELATION chart for the following PASSPORT TO KNOWLEDGE projects:

PASSPORT TO THE RAINFOREST

PASSPORT TO THE SOLAR SYSTEM

PASSPORT TO WEATHER AND CLIMATE

LIVE FROM MARS 2001/2002

PASSPORT TO THE UNIVERSE

Grades K-3,   Grades 4-5,   Grades 6-8,   Grades 9-12

Grades K-3

Standard One
Nature and Application of Science and Technology

Science as Inquiry

 

By the end of the third grade students should know that:

 

1. Scientists’ curiosity about the natural world leads them to ask questions about how things work. In order to answer these questions, scientists observe and explore things carefully.

Develop a list of questions raised by the class about nature and the immediate surroundings. In a discussion, determine which questions the class has the capability of answering. The development of the answers involves observation and measurement, collection and sorting of samples, and taking things apart and putting them back together.

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2. Scientists sometimes observe the same object or event and describe it differently. It is important for scientists to describe things as accurately as possible in order to compare their observations .

Work in small teams to develop answers to the questions posed by the class about the natural world. Compare similarities and differences in each team’s observations, descriptions, measurements, and methods of classification. When large differences exist in the results, repeat the procedures to settle the differences, and speculate on the reasons for the differences.

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3. Scientists use a variety of instruments, some of them quite simple, in order to obtain additional information for answering questions about the natural world.

Use appropriate instruments such as thermometers, balances, watches, and magnifiers to observe, measure, and gather additional information to answer the questions raised.

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4. Graphs and charts are used to better visualize the results of observation and measurement, and are an important part of describing what counts as suitable evidence in answering questions.

Construct simple graphs or charts which display some of the information collected in the process of answering questions. Compare each team’s displays and determine which charts and graphs provide reasonable evidence.

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Science, Technology, and Society

 

1. People have always invented new ways to solve problems and get work done. These new inventions affect all aspects of life.

(See learning opportunities for technology and application strand for Content Standards 2-8).

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History and Context of Science

 

1. People from all parts of the world have practiced science and have made many important scientific contributions.

Read several short stories or articles about the lives and works of famous scientists. Write paragraphs describing some of the contributions these scientists have made in understanding the world around us.

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2. Many men and women have chosen science as a career and a life-time activity because of their intense interest in better understanding nature and the great joy this pursuit brings them.

Invite scientists from the community to discuss why they decided to become a scientist, what their day is like, and what they most enjoy about their work. Record the scientists responses to questions, and distribute this information to the students who are unable to participate in the discussion.

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Standard Seven
Diversity and Continuity of Living Things

Heredity and Reproduction

 

By the end of the third grade students should know that:

 

1. The offspring of plants and animals resemble their parents in many ways although they are not exactly like their parents or each other.

Observe parents and offspring from a variety of species such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and bean plants. Identify characteristics that the offspring have in common with their parents and characteristics which are different from their parents.

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2. The offspring of some plants and animals look very different from their parents when they are first born. Similarities between parents and their offspring become more apparent as the offspring develops.

Observe and compare similarities and differences in characteristics of a wide range of mature and immature organisms such as tadpoles/frogs, caterpillars/butterflies, and seedlings/mature plants. Keep a journal describing the changes that occur in the appearance of the plants and animals as they develop.

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3. The phases in the life cycle of plants and animals (i.e., birth, growth, reproduction, and death) are predictable and describable but differ from species to species.

Discuss the human life cycle and generate some reasonable questions about differences in development during the various stages - newborn, child, adolescent, adult, elder.

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Diversity

 

1. Many different kinds of plants and animals live throughout the world and can be classified or sorted into groups based upon appearance and behavior.

Construct classification systems that allow the sorting of plants and animals into groups based on external features or patterns of behavior (e.g., animals that burrow/animals that build nests, plants that have broad leaves/plants with needle-like leaves).

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Evolution

 

1. Plants and animals have features that help them survive and reproduce in different places.

Investigate and describe specific features of plants and animals that help them survive in different places (e.g., fish gills for breathing in water, feathers for flying and warmth, protective coloration for hiding).

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2. Fossils provide evidence that present day plants and animals are both similar to and different from those that lived in the past. These fossil records indicate that some plants and animals that once lived on Earth no longer exist.

Examine a variety of Delaware fossils or fossil replicas. Compare them to present day plants and animals and draw reasonable conclusions about the similarities and differences between the fossils and present day plants and animals.

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Biotechnology and Its Application

 

1. Humans have always applied their knowledge of the varied characteristics of plants and animals to satisfy their needs for food, shelter, and clothing.

Identify the plants or animals associated with particular items of food, shelter, or clothing and discuss how similar plants or animals can be used in different ways (e.g., cattle for meat, milk, leather; trees for fruit and wood; dogs for hunting, protection, and transportation).

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Standard Eight
Ecology

Interactions Within the World Around Us

 

By the end of the third grade students should know that:

 

1. The Earth consists of living and non-living things. All living things interact with each other and the non-living parts of their surroundings - air, water, soil, and sun.

Conduct investigations (short-term and long-term) on selected outdoor plots. Identify the living and non-living components of the plots, compare the number of different kinds of living things in each plot as well as their similarities and differences. Cite specific examples of how the physical conditions of the plot affect individual living things and how living things likewise affect the physical conditions of an area.

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Grades 4-5

Standard One
Nature and Application of Science and Technology

Science as Inquiry

 

By the end of the fifth grade students should know that:

 

1. Curiosity about nature and the world around us leads scientists to ask questions in a way that requires scientific investigation in order to develop an explanation. The breadth and style of this investigation depend on the questions asked.

Ask reasonable scientific questions about a topic of interest and decide what information is needed to answer these questions. For example, how does the amount of sunlight a plant receives affect its growth? What can the class do to reduce cafeteria waste? Do some substances dissolve in water faster than others? Is there always a full moon on the same day of each month?

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2. In science, answering certain questions requires observation and simple testing to generate additional information and enable a more complete investigation.

Plan and conduct a simple investigation to answer testable questions. Choose or develop techniques for obtaining data that can be used to answer the questions. Ask additional questions based on this investigation.

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3. The ability to observe and gather data is enhanced by using a variety of instruments.

Demonstrate increasing sophistication in the use of instruments to make measurements and to obtain more complete detail.

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4. Collaboration, communication, and comparison are important parts of science. Graphs, charts, maps, equations, and oral and written reports can be used to share the results of a scientific investigation and facilitate discussion about it.

Compare the results of individual or group investigations. Critique the investigative strategies and results and discuss the observations, measurements, methods, selection of materials, and differences that exist in these.

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Science, Technology, and Society

 

1. Science consists of many disciplines such as chemistry, biology, geology, and physics, and in the broadest sense, can be viewed as the collective efforts by people in these disciplines to organize, describe, and understand the natural world.

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2. Technology applies knowledge to solve problems and to change the world to suit us better. Technological innovation plays an important role in improving the quality of life. Such innovation involves scientific disciplines as well as other disciplines such as engineering, mathematics, medicine, and economics in order to create practical, cost effective solutions to problems and opportunities.

Compare present day technologies (methods and equipment to perform a specific function) to those of the past such as washing machine/washing board, refrigerator/ice box, automobile/horse-drawn carriage, and television/radio or compare technologies used in this country to those used in other parts of the world (e.g., heavy equipment/elephants, electric stove/cooking over a fire). Discuss the impact these technological differences have had on the quality of life.

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3. Technological development improves the quality of our life immensely and continues to do so in many areas such as medicine, communications, transportation, and agriculture. However, not all development is perfect, uniformly beneficial, or equally available to everyone.

Examine a variety of old technological devices (e.g., wooden potato masher, apple peeler, washing board) and speculate for what the object was used, how it helped people, and what problems it caused.

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History and Context of Science

 

1. Men and women of all ages and from diverse cultures are involved in a multitude of scientific endeavors in the search to better understand nature. These people practice science in many ways and at various depths and levels of complexity. This search continues to add new knowledge to society’s understanding of the world.

Read a variety of short stories that present science as a human endeavor in which men and women from different cultures have participated.

Use a variety of resources (e.g., books, films, guest scientists, field trips) to describe the many different kinds of science-based occupations and the diversity of individuals involved.

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Standard Six
Life Processes

Structure/Function Relationship

 

By the end of the fifth grade students should know that:

 

Flow of Matter and Energy

 

1. All living organisms interact with the living and non-living parts of their surroundings to meet their needs for survival. These interactions lead to a constant exchange of matter and energy. Plants derive energy from the sun for growth and survival. Animals eat plants or other animals that have also eaten plants to satisfy energy needs. When plants and animals die, they are eaten by decomposers.

Develop a list of food items offered for lunch by the school cafeteria. Work in groups to construct a food chain that traces the source of each food item from plant origin to the product eaten.

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Regulation and Behavior

 

1. Living organisms are composed of parts that work together to ensure the survival of the whole organism. The behavior of an organism is influenced by internal clues such as hunger and external clues such as air temperature.

Use human models to locate internal organs. Describe the effect one organ can have on another organ and how each organ contributes to the well being of a person. Describe how organs detect changes in the environment and how they cause a person to respond.

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Standard Seven
Diversity and Continuity of Living Things

Heredity and Reproduction

 

By the end of the fifth grade students should know that:

 

1. Physical characteristics are passed on from parent to offspring. Organisms with two parents inherit characteristics of both.

Observe parents and offspring from a variety of species (e.g., hamsters, mice, fish) and draw reasonable conclusions about the inheritance of traits such as body shape, coloration, and behavior.

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Diversity

 

1. Organisms have many distinct and unique features which they use for survival. Specialized features include those for finding food, building shelters, evading predators, and reproducing. Scientists use similarities and differences in these features to classify and group organisms.

Examine a variety of common plants and animals for similarities and differences in features such as animal tracks, beak shape, leaf structure. Use the similarities and differences of the features to develop appropriate classifications that sort and group these organisms. For example, birds can be categorized according to the shape of their beaks and the type of food they eat (e.g., berry eaters, seed eaters, meat eaters).

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Evolution

 

1. Organisms of the same species have variations which may provide an advantage in reproduction and survival.

Observe and describe variations in a species (e.g., length of bean seeds, height in radishes, leg length in grasshoppers). Predict how these variations may affect the ability of the organism to survive.

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Biotechnology and Its Applications

 


Standard Eight
Ecology

Interactions Within the Environment

 

By the end of the fifth grade students should know that:

 

1. All living organisms interact with the living and non-living parts of their surroundings to meet their needs for survival. These interactions lead to a constant exchange of matter and energy. Plants derive energy from the sun for growth and survival. Animals eat plants or other animals that have also eaten plants to satisfy energy needs. Dead plants and animals are eaten by decomposers.

Illustrate a food chain or a web of food chains by sequentially ordering pictures or samples of a variety of living things (e.g., fungi, insects, plants, animals). National Geography Standards 1994, Physical Systems p. 120.

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Changes in Environment

 

1. Organisms adapt in order to live and reproduce in certain environments. Those organisms that are best suited for a particular environment have adaptations that allow them to compete for available resources and cope with the physical conditions of their immediate surroundings.

Observe a variety of local plants and animals in several different habitats. Identify structures, features, and behaviors of the organisms that make them suitable for survival in these habitats.

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2. Changes in an organism’s environment can either be beneficial or harmful. Organisms may be affected by other organisms, by various physical factors (e.g., rainfall, temperature), by physical forces (e.g., storms, earthquakes), and by daily, seasonal, and annual cycles.

Investigate how a particular environment (e.g., field, playground) changes over time. Classify the changes as either resulting from physical forces or from the action of living organisms, and determine whether the changes are beneficial or harmful to the organisms.

Plan and conduct simple investigations to explore how modifications in the physical condition of a plant’s environment (e.g., moisture, temperature, soil, air) affect its growth and survival. Explain how the results of the investigation apply to other organisms.

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Grades 6-8

Standard One
Nature and Application of Science and Technology

Science as Inquiry

 

By the end of the eighth grade students should know that:

 

1. The design of an investigation, in many cases, is determined by the type of questions asked. Therefore, the thoughtful and informed structuring of such questions is an important part of scientific inquiry. For example, a question such as, “What are the similarities and differences among the plants that grow in this region?” requires a taxonomic investigation in which plants are collected, identified, and classified. On the other hand, answering – “What was the reaction of Marie Curie’s contemporaries to her work and accomplishments?” – may involve consulting, reviewing, and discussing both contemporary and historical publications as part of an investigative design. However, an experimental investigation in which systematic observations are made and where data are used and analyzed to construct an explanation could result from a question such as, “How do the physical properties of local soil samples lead to differences in drainage or percolation?”

Expand the learning event highlighted in A-1 grades 4-5. Ask reasonable, relevant, and testable scientific questions about topics of interest and determine the type and complexity of the investigation required to answer them.

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2. The ultimate goal of any scientific investigation is to obtain evidence precise and thorough enough to answer a question. Various experimental designs and strategies can be developed to answer the same question. The comprehensiveness and sophistication of the investigation depend on the tools and technologies used.

Conduct a series of investigations with sufficient complexity to require the use of various experimental techniques and strategies; the separation and control of variables; the consolidation, organization and display of data; the development of conclusions; and the posing of additional questions. Develop oral and written presentations of the investigation to allow peer review of the results.

Develop the competence to use a variety of tools and techniques in order to solve a wide range of practical problems. Examples follow:
- Use calculators to compare amounts proportionally (e.g., proportion of fat, protein, carbohydrates in foods).
- Use computers to store and retrieve information in topical, alphabetical, numerical, and key word files and to create and manipulate individual files.
- Read analog and digital meters in instruments used to make direct measurements of length, volume, weight, elapsed time, and temperature and choose appropriate units for reporting magnitudes.
- Use cameras and tape recorders for capturing information.

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3. Explanations in science result from careful and logical analysis of evidence gained from an investigation. Explanations relate causes to effects and develop relationships based on the evidence. Critical analysis of data is necessary to judge the quality and validity of the proposed explanation. Critical analysis skills learned in the classroom can be applied to judge the validity of claims made in everyday life.

As part of an investigation, use a variety of strategies to construct and develop logical explanations including:
- Deciding what evidence from an investigation is useful.
- Organizing and summarizing information and data in tables and graphs in order to identify relationships.
- Incorporating pie charts, bar and line graphs, two way data tables, diagrams, and symbols into written and oral presentations.
- Forming a logical argument about the cause and effect relationships in an investigation.
- Retrieving pertinent information from reference books, newspapers, magazines, compact discs, and computer data bases.
- Constructing models in order to visualize and explain the relationship among various elements of a product, process, or system.

Review and critically analyze claims made in popular magazines such as PEOPLE, TIME, DISCOVER, and in newspapers, television news programs or specials, to determine the validity of the claims and conclusions.

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Science, Technology and Society

 

1. Social, cultural, environmental, scientific and technological strengths, and economic factors influence which scientific and technological areas are pursued and invested in. At the same time, the scientific discoveries made and technologies developed directly influence society and its habits, organization, and cultural values.

Investigate the relationship of factors such as resource availability and cultural tradition on the kinds of science and technologies pursued. Examples could include:
- An analysis of transportation methods and expertise around the world. The emphasis on mass transportation in Europe and Japan vs. the super highway system in the U.S. The emergence of Great Britain as a sea power.
- The emergence of the United States as a world power in the polymer industry.
- The global war on cancer and other serious diseases.

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2. The issues surrounding science, technology, and society are complex and involve many risk/benefit considerations. Even though new technology may provide a solution to an important problem, its impact on human health, the environment, and social dynamics needs to be analyzed.

Explore and discuss various problems which have faced society and the technologies developed to deal with such problems. Identify the products and processes developed to solve these problems and consider the benefits delivered and the risks created by these new technologies. Such areas could include the management and control of sewage, the preservation of food, the fighting of tooth decay, the development of various modes of transportation, and the heating or lighting of homes.

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History and Context of Science

 

1. Over the course of human history, science has been practiced by different people in different cultures. Unfortunately, women and minorities have often been discouraged or denied the opportunity of participating in science because of education and employment prejudices or restrictions. 

Research the life, work, and contributions of a contemporary or historical scientist. Compare the background, human qualities, and factors that influenced the work of the scientist as part of a discussion of contemporary and historical variations of people who practice science.

Explore the historical under representation of women and minorities in many fields of science and engineering, and the strategies that education, business, and government in Delaware are employing to increase their representation in the scientific work force of the future.

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2. People engaged in doing science are found in many occupations and institutions such as hospitals, universities, classrooms, industry, and farms. The nature of scientific investigation often requires that teams of individuals with different abilities work together to solve a problem or to understand the natural world.

Participate in visits to local facilities where science is practiced or participate in a class discussion with community individuals, including women and minorities, who work in science related occupations. Report and discuss the variety of opportunities for practicing science.

Investigate research projects which have been or are presently conducted in the State of Delaware (e.g., agriculture, material, medical, marine). Explore how individuals with different abilities contribute to the success of these projects.

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Standard Six
Life Processes

Structure/Function Relationship

 

By the end of the eighth grade students should know that:

 

Matter and Energy Transformations

 


Standard Seven
Diversity and Continuity of Living Things

Heredity

 

By the end of the eighth grade students should know that:

 

Evolution

 

1. Natural selection is the process by which some individuals with certain traits are more likely to survive and produce greater numbers of offspring than other organisms of the same species. Conditions in the environment can affect which individuals survive in order to reproduce and pass their traits on to future generations. Small differences between parents and offspring accumulate over many generations and ultimately new species may arise.

Conduct a natural selection simulation to demonstrate that a specific trait has selective advantages for an organism. For example, study the advantages of protective coloration of a species that is preyed upon. Scatter different colored toothpicks in the grass, role play a predator, and quickly pick up as many toothpicks as possible. Collect data on the remaining colors and discuss the advantages of protective coloration in the survival of organisms.

Investigate and discuss how short term physiological adaptations of an organism (e.g., skin tanning, muscle development, formation of calluses) differ from long term evolutionary adaptations that occur in a group of organisms over generations.

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Diversity

 

3. Each structure in an organism is uniquely adapted to perform a particular function for enhancing the ability of the organism to survive. The great variety of body forms found in different species enable organisms to survive in diverse environments.

Examine selected internal and external structures of different plant and animal species. Describe and compare those structures that perform a common function, (e.g., teeth of herbivores/carnivores, leaves in deciduous trees/conifers, breathing organs in aquatic animals/terrestrial animals) and explain how differences in each structure enables the organism to survive in its particular environment.

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Health and Technology Applications

 


Standard Eight
Ecology

Structure/Function Relationship

 

By the end of the eighth grade students should know that:

 

1. An ecosystem consists of all the organisms that live together and interact with each other and their physical environment.

Investigate and describe multiple ways that species may interact in an ecosystem. Apply this knowledge to populations of a local habitat in order to identify and classify the relationships observed (e.g., predator/prey, producer/consumer, parasite/host, and mutualism).

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Change in Ecosystems

 

1. Changes in the physical or biological conditions of an ecosystem can alter the diversity of species in the system. As the ecosystem changes, populations of organisms must adapt to these changes, move to another ecosystem, or become extinct.

Investigate local areas (disturbed and undisturbed) that are undergoing natural cycles of succession such as abandoned gardens, uncut areas beneath power lines, areas along ditch banks and fences, and the edge of a forest. Predict how plant communities that grow in the area may change over time and how their presence determine what kinds of animals may move into or out of the area.

Contact the Department of Natural Resources or a wildlife agency to acquire information on animals or plants that have been introduced to Delaware. Investigate issues that relate to the introduction or re-introduction of a species into a local habitat (e.g., How and why the species was introduced into the area? If the species was re-introduced, what previously happened to the animals or habitat to cause their disappearance from the area? What indicators, if any, are there that the transplant was successful?)

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2. The size of populations in an ecosystem may increase or decrease as a result of the interrelationships among organisms, availability of resources, natural disasters, habitat changes, and pollution.

Determine the carrying capacity of a single species in a closed system (brine shrimp, fruit fly) by recording the changes in population size over a period of time. Plot the data on a graph and use the results to explain how carrying capacity affects the population growth of the system.

Research and analyze data on human population changes of a specific Delaware area or county in 10 year increments over the last 100 years. Discuss reasons for the increase or decrease in population and how these changes have affected the biodiversity and availability of natural resources.

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Interaction of Humans Within Ecosystems

 

1. The extinction or introduction of species can affect the stability of ecosystems. With careful planning, humans may be able to sustain ecosystems for their use as well as preserve their biodiversity and natural beauty.

Participate in food web demonstrations to predict the environmental impact of eliminating an organism from the food web. Discuss how the elimination or introduction of a species affects the entire ecosystem.

Research and discuss how human interactions have affected different plant and animal populations in Delaware (e.g., deer, phragmities, eagle, osprey, starling, multiflora rose), and explain how population changes have impacted the environment.

Discuss the roles and responsibilities of local, state, and federal environmental agencies. Contact several of these agencies for information on locally rare and endangered plant and animal species. Select a species and gather information about its particular situation (e.g., length of time endangered, past and present range, reasons it is endangered). Report on Delaware efforts to improve the chances of survival for the selected species.

Examine land use maps to identify and classify the uses of land (i.e., agricultural, residential, industrial) for a Delaware community or county. Investigate a specific local land use (e.g., wetlands and shore development, road construction, forestry, farming) and identify how the land use affects both humans and other organisms.

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2. Decisions about the use of natural resources are often determined by a society’s short-term needs for the resources with little regard for long-term consequences. The supply of natural resources such as water and petroleum is finite. Non-material resources (e.g., tranquillity, beautiful scenery) can not be easily quantified but must be preserved.

Survey friends, classmates, family, and extended family to determine if differences exist in attitudes about material and non-material resources. Discuss variations in the responses of the people surveyed and why decisions about the use of resources are often complicated and difficult to resolve.

Investigate Delaware’s wetlands as a vital resource and link to maintaining the water quality of the state and construct a wetlands model as follows: Punch many small holes in the bottom of several plastic bottles and fill half-full with different types of soil (e.g., sand, gravel, loam, humus). Place the bottle over an aluminum tray and pour a glass of water on the soil. Collect the drainage and pour the water sample over the soil several more times. Repeat the procedure for the different soil samples, and observe and discuss the changes in water appearance and odor following each treatment. Discuss the ability of wetland soils to filter sediments and pollutants.

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Grades 9-12

Standard One
Nature and Application of Science and Technology

Science as Inquiry

 

By the end of the twelfth grade students should know that:

 

1. The identification and formulation of appropriate questions guide the design and breadth of a scientific investigation. Based on the type of question(s) proposed, investigations explore new phenomena, solve science and technology related problems, compare different theories, resolve conflicts concerning societal issues, determine reasons for discrepancies in previous experimental results, or test the practicality of a consumer product.

Formulate scientific investigations from relevant questions and issues. Formulate questions to indicate conceptual insights and a depth of understanding around these questions and issues.

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2. Scientific investigations in many cases follow no fixed set of steps. However, there are certain features of a valid scientific investigation that are essential and result in evidence that can be used to construct explanations.

Design and conduct a scientific investigation either as an individual or group activity. The investigation should be sufficiently complex to require the use of various experimental techniques and strategies; the separation and control of variables; the consolidation, organization and display of data; the development of conclusions; and the posing of additional questions. Develop oral and written presentations of the investigation to allow peer review of the results.

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3. Tools and technologies extend human capabilities to perform investigations in more detail and with greater accuracy and improved precision.

Expand the capacity to use a variety of tools and techniques in order to solve a wide range of practical problems. Examples include:
- Following instructions in manuals or taking instructions from an experienced person to learn the proper use of new instruments.
- Using computers to produce tables and graphs and to make spread sheet calculations.

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4. The close examination of evidence is necessary to construct logical scientific explanations and present arguments which defend proposed explanations. Such critical analyses of supporting evidence are not only important to scientific investigations but help in judging the validity of claims made in advertisements or concluded from investigative reports.

In an investigation, use various strategies to construct and develop logical explanations that:
- Decide what evidence from an investigation is useful.
- Use tables, charts, and graphs when making arguments and claims in oral and written presentations.
- Make and interpret scale drawings.
- Form logical arguments about cause and effect relationships in an investigation.
- Choose appropriate summary statistics to describe group differences, and indicate the spread of the data, as well as the data’s central tendency.
- Participate in group discussions on scientific topics by restating or summarizing accurately what others have said, asking for clarification or elaboration, and expressing alternate positions.
- Retrieve pertinent information from reference books, newspapers, magazines, compact discs, and computer data bases.
- Construct models in order to visualize the relationship of various elements of a product, process, or system.

Develop the practice of analyzing data, and considering claims by:
- Noticing and criticizing arguments based on the faulty, incomplete, or misleading use of numbers, such as in instances when (1) average results are reported, but not the amount of variation around the average, (2) a percentage or fraction is given, but not the total sample size (as in “9 out of 10 dentists recommend...”), (3) absolute proportional quantities are mixed (as in “3,400 more robberies in our city last year, whereas other cities had an increase of less than 1%), or (4) results are reported with overstated precision (as in representing 13 out of 19 students as 68.42%).
- Checking graphs to see that they do not misrepresent results by using inappropriate scales or by failing to specify the axes clearly. (Benchmark for Science Literacy, Project 2061)

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5. Publication and presentation of scientific work with supporting evidence is part of the critique, review, and validation process conducted by the scientific community. The presentation of such work in accessible journals and reviews adds to the body of scientific knowledge and serves as background for subsequent investigations in similar areas. 

Write a senior thesis based upon a long-term scientific investigation. This report should present results and conclusions supported by an appropriate literature review. Defend this investigation before a panel of peers, teachers, and community leaders in a forum that allows critical analysis and debate.

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Science, Technology, and Society

 

1. The practice of science and technology is not a linear process. In many cases, the desire of scientists to find what is real in nature creates opportunities for technology development. At the same time, technology provides scientists with tools and techniques that allow expansion of their capabilities and effectiveness.

Investigate a range of modern technological products and systems from the world. Identify those examples in which a scientific advance led to new technological opportunities such as discovery of DNA/biotechnology; splitting of the atom/nuclear energy and those examples in which technological advances led to scientific advances such as electron microscope/understanding of cellular detail; modern spectroscopy/better understanding of atomic and molecular structure.

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History and Context of Science

 

1. Science is an international activity in which significant inventions and innovations have come from around the world. Even though scientists live and work in different cultures and come from different backgrounds, many of their activities are part of international collaborative efforts, and the knowledge created is shared in order to maximize the benefits to society.

Investigate various scientific concepts, inventions, and technological innovations that have been developed by different world cultures such as astronomy in Asia, or metallurgy in Africa. Discuss the influence of prevailing contemporary thought in various arenas (politics, religion, education) on the acceptance of these concepts, inventions, and innovations by other scientists and society.

Select a contemporary or technological challenge such as HIV, cancer research, space exploration, or ozone depletion. Explore the dimensions of the issue and the kinds of collaborative efforts that are in place to deal with it. Recognize that competence in the various scientific disciplines exists throughout the world and is not the province of a single country.

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2. Science is divided into many disciplines such as astrophysics, biochemistry, and geophysics. Each discipline is a field of endeavor in itself and requires specialized training. Many of the tools, techniques, methods, and much of the knowledge created in one discipline are shared across disciplines in order to maximize the impact of the work.

Investigate the development of new scientific disciplines both historical, such as Lavoisier’s work in forming the foundation of modern chemistry, and contemporary such as molecular biology. Discuss how the development of a new scientific discipline influenced the work of other disciplines.

Select a major scientific discovery (e.g., DNA, transistor, x-rays, antibiotics) and discuss the influence of this discovery on the thoughts and work that followed in a variety of scientific disciplines.

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3. Scientific theories are based on the body of knowledge that exists at any particular time. The driving force to explain nature motivates scientists to test the validity of these theories, and as a result, the mysteries of nature are continuously probed and explained as new theories are created.

Trace the evolution and progression of a theory surrounding an important area of scientific development such as structure of the atom, origin and evolution of the universe, or formation of Earth’s geological features. Discuss the important features of the most recent theory developed in this area and explain why it displaced the earlier ones.

Review selected scientific articles from popular magazines and newspapers such as New York Times, Science Times over an extended period of time. Identify a scientific theory that is currently being modified or debated based upon new data gathered by the scientific community. Discuss the interplay that exists between theory and the new information.

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