Nature and Application of Science and Technology
The practice of science and the development of technology are critical pursuits of our society. These pursuits have involved diverse people throughout history and have led to continuous improvement in the quality of life and in our understanding of nature. Students will study the processes of scientific inquiry and technology development and the history and context within which these have been carried out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
The following sample activity applies to this content statement.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Use cameras and tape recorders for capturing information.
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.
Science, Technology and Society
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
- Form logical arguments about cause and effect relationships in an investigation.
- 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%).
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.
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.
2. The social, economic, and political forces of a society have a significant influence on what science and technology programs are pursued, invested in, and used.
Use case studies of actual societal challenges such as sea level change, spread of HIV, and deforestation, and identify and discuss the scientific, technologic, and policy aspects of the various challenges. Describe how each of the aspects influences public policy formulation in dealing with the challenges.
Investigate how government policy and the circumstances and values of a society determine which science and technology projects are funded and which ones are not, such as Superconducting Supercollider. Debate the pros and cons of these decisions and speculate on the short-term and long-term consequences of the funding decisions.
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.
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.
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.
Materials and Their Properties
Materials exist throughout our physical world. Students will develop a basic understanding of the structure and properties of materials. They will also experience and learn the processes by which materials are changed and how the uses of materials are related to their properties.
1. The properties of a material or an object influence how the material or object is used. Some materials are more suitable than others for making a particular product or device.
Investigate the properties of materials that make them useful for a given purpose. Use this knowledge to design a common object or to solve a problem (e.g., device to shade one’s eyes from the sun, water repellent rain wear).
2. Technology has created and introduced new materials to help people solve problems. In some cases a new material may solve one problem, but create another one.
Investigate specific examples of how a material innovation (e.g., plastic bottles, styrofoam cups) solved one problem but at the same time created a new problem.
Energy and Its Effects
The flow of energy drives processes of change in all biological, chemical, and geological systems. A variety of sources can be transformed into energy forms which influence many facets of our daily lives. Students will study, discuss, and learn the factors that govern the flow of energy throughout the universe, the transformation of natural resources into useful energy forms, and the conservation of energy during interaction with materials.
Forms/Sources of Energy
3. Force is any push or pull exerted by one body on another. Pushes and/or pulls change the position, motion, direction (and occasionally the shape) of an object. The greater the push or pull, the greater the change in position, motion, and direction.
Keep a journal describing all daily activities that require the use of force (pushing or pulling) in order to move an object or to change the direction of a moving object.
4. Moving objects can exhibit different kinds of motion such as fast, slow, straight, back and forth, circular, and zig-zag. The application of pushes or pulls is required to produce any change in the type of motion, including stopping and starting an object in motion.
In your journal identify all kinds of moving things such as birds, insects, automobiles, fans, swings, bicycles, and baseballs; describe and discuss the different ways in which these objects move or can be made to move.
Forms/Sources of Energy
4. When an object is set in motion by a force, its position is defined with reference to the distance it travels and the period of time it takes to travel that distance. Speed is the measure of the distance traveled by a moving object in a given period of time (distance divided by time).
5. Force must be applied to change the speed or direction of a moving object. The greater the force, the greater the change in motion.
Vary the conditions of a tug-of-war (or other example of force) to observe the affect of force on the motion of objects. Identify the source of the force and the motion that results.
Force and Motion
1. Force must be used to change speed or direction (or both) of a moving object. In the absence of such a force, the object will continue to move with the same speed and in the same direction. Forces have directions and magnitudes that can be measured. Any change in motion depends upon the amount of force causing the change and the mass of the object.
Measure and compare the magnitude and direction of forces used in common activities such as lifting objects, stretching springs or rubber bands, and arm wrestling.
Give examples which show how the relationships among force, mass, and acceleration are important in common situations (e.g., hammering a nail, comparing rates at which a car and a heavily loaded truck can pull away from a stop sign).
2. Mechanical energy comes from the motion and/or the position of physical objects. The work done on an object depends on the applied force and on the distance that the object moves.
Observe and describe changes in kinetic and potential energy in common activities such as bouncing a ball or swinging on a swing.
3. The motion of an object can be described as its change in position, direction, and speed relative to another object.
Determine the speeds of objects (e.g., students running, walking, riding a bike) using measurements of distance and time. Compare the results both numerically and graphically.
Force and Motion
3. Objects can have linear motion, rotational motion, or both. Newton’s Laws can be used to predict changes in linear motion and/or rotational motion. Momentum allows objects to remain in motion after the applied force is removed. The Law of Conservation of Momentum can be used to predict the outcomes of a collision between moving objects.
Use Newton’s Laws of Motion to investigate the effect of force on velocity, acceleration, and equilibrium of an object. Describe the relationship between the kinetic and potential energy of the object using narrative and/or quantitative descriptions.
Earth in Space
The Earth system is part of the Solar System that exists within a vast Universe. The Earth’s motion and position relative to the Sun and the Moon are unique among planets of the Solar System which allows diverse forms of life to be supported on the Earth. Students will learn that even though the distributions and types of materials differ from planet to planet, the chemical composition of materials is identical and the same laws of science apply across the universe.
1. There are many objects in the Solar System including the Sun, Moon, planets, and comets. Most of the objects are separated by vast space and enormous distances.
Use scale sized spherical objects placed at different distances to model the Solar System and to demonstrate the size and distance between the planets.
2. The size of an object appears to change as the observer moves closer to or farther away from the object.
Select similar shaped objects of different sizes such as blocks, balls, or marbles. Place one of the objects at a fixed distance and adjust the position of the other object until both objects appear to be the same size. Measure the distance between the observer and each object. Repeat the procedure placing the first object at a different distance from the observer. Based on that trial, predict where the second object needs to be placed for both objects to appear the same size.
Interactions in the Solar System
2. There are many objects in the sky such as the Sun, Moon, stars, clouds, birds, and airplanes. The patterns of movement of some of these objects such as the Sun, Moon, and stars are cyclic.
Observe the day and night sky over an extended period of time. Record or chart the observations and identify those objects whose patterns of movement are cyclic.
Technology and Applications
1. Technology allows scientists to explore the Solar System and to observe and measure features and structures of the Earth, Moon, and other solar objects .
Examine a variety of resources (e.g., NASA photographs, satellite images) to identify some interesting features of the Moon and other planets (e.g., craters, Red Spot of Jupiter).
Study photographs or satellite images of Earth to identify unique features of our planet (e.g., continents, land forms, weather systems). Discuss what can be learned and predicted by studying this information.
Solar System Models
3. The nine planets, their respective Moon(s), comets and many asteroids, and meteorites orbit the Sun which is the gravitational center of the Solar System.
Construct scale models of the Solar System. Use the models to describe the relative sizes of the planets (as viewed from the Earth) and their distances from the Sun.
Use a variety of resources (e.g., NASA photographs, computer simulations, satellite images) to compare the physical properties (e.g., size, surface features, tilt of axis) of the planets as well as their similarities and differences.
Technology and Applications
1. Close-up pictures and data received from space probes allow scientists to compare the physical properties of planets (e.g., size, surface features, number of rings) and to speculate about conditions on other planets.
Select a space probe mission (e.g., Mariner 4, Voyager, Galileo) and research what type of valuable information these robotic explorers have provided scientists about the Solar System. Discuss how information received from space probes has either confirmed or modified scientific theories concerning conditions on other planets.
Solar System Models
1. The Solar System is a very small part of a constantly changing Universe. Stars, including the Sun, appear to go through cycles that are characterized by birth, development, and death. Existence of gas and dust around nearby stars supports the theory that planetary systems continue to evolve.
Technology and Application
1. Space exploration expands our knowledge of the Universe and advances the technological sophistication of society.
Discuss ways society has benefited from space exploration (e.g., production of new materials, development of sophisticated computers, advances in satellite communication technology). Research the economic implication of the space program, and debate the pros and cons of future space exploration.
Conduct a literature, film, or video search to describe and discuss the history of the space program. Explain the technologies involved in putting satellites, shuttles, and people into space.