Skills and Processes :
State Curriculum Toolkit
Tools aligned to State Curriculum indicators and/or objectives.
- Introduction for Standard or Indicator
- Public Release Items
Actual MSA items and annotated student responses as appropriate
Standard 1.0 Skills and Processes
Students will demonstrate the thinking and acting inherent in the practice of science.
A. Constructing Knowledge
- Explain that scientists differ greatly in what phenomena they study and how they go about their work.
- Develop the ability to clarify questions and direct them toward objects and phenomena that can be described, explained, or predicted by scientific investigations.
- Explain and provide examples that all hypotheses are valuable, even if they turn out not to be true, if they lead to fruitful investigations.
- Locate information in reference books, back issues of newspapers, magazines and compact disks, and computer databases.
- Explain that if more than one variable changes at the same time in an investigation, the outcome of the investigation may not be clearly attributable to any one of the variables.
- Give examples of when further studies of the question being investigated may be necessary.
- Give reasons for the importance of waiting until an investigation has been repeated many times before accepting the results as correct.
- Use mathematics to interpret and communicate data.
- Explain why accurate recordkeeping, openness, and replication are essential for maintaining an investigator's credibility with other scientists and society.
B. Applying Evidence and Reasoning
- Verify the idea that there is no fixed set of steps all scientists follow, scientific investigations usually involve the collection of relevant evidence, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses and explanations to make sense of the collected evidence.
- Explain that what people expect to observe often affects what they actually do observe and that scientists know about this danger to objectivity and take steps to try to avoid it when designing investigations and examining data.
- Explain that even though different explanations are given for the same evidence, it is not always possible to tell which one is correct.
- Describe the reasoning that lead to the interpretation of data and conclusions drawn.
- Question claims based on vague statements or on statements made by people outside their area of expertise.
C. Communicating Scientific Information
- Organize and present data in tables and graphs and identify relationships they reveal.
- Interpret tables and graphs produced by others and describe in words the relationships they show.
- Give examples of how scientific knowledge is subject to modification as new information challenges prevailing theories and as a new theory leads to looking at old observations in a new way.
- Criticize the reasoning in arguments in which
- Fact and opinion are intermingled
- Conclusions do not follow logically from the evidence given.
- Existence of control groups and the relationship to experimental groups is not made obvious.
- Samples are too small, biased, or not representative.
- Explain how different models can be used to represent the same thing. What kind of a model to use and how complex it should be depend on its purpose. Choosing a useful model is one of the instances in which intuition and creativity come into play in science, mathematics, and engineering
- Participate in group discussions on scientific topics by restating or summarizing accurately what others have said, asking for clarification or elaboration, and expressing alternative positions.
- Recognize that important contributions to the advancement of science, mathematics, and technology have been made by different kinds of people, in different cultures, at different times.
- Explain that the choice of materials for a job depends on their properties and on how they interact with other materials.
- Demonstrate that all control systems have inputs, outputs, and feedback.
- Realize that design usually requires taking constraints into account. (Some constraints, such as gravity or the properties of the materials to be used, are unavoidable. Other constraints, including economic, political, social, ethical, and aesthetic ones also limit choices.)
- Identify reasons that systems fail-they have faulty or poorly matched parts, are used in ways that exceed what was intended by the design, or were poorly designed to begin with.
- 1. DESIGNED SYSTEMS: Analyze, design, assemble and troubleshoot complex systems.
- Provide evidence that a system can include processes as well as things.
- Explain that thinking about things as systems means looking for how every part relates to others. (The output from one part of a system (which can include material, energy, or information) can become the input to other parts. Such feedback can serve to control what goes on in the system as a whole.)
- Analyze any system to determine its connection, both internally and externally to other systems and explain that a system may be thought of as containing subsystems and as being a subsystem of a larger system.
- 1. MAKING MODELS: Analyze the value and the limitations of different types of models in explaining real things and processes.
- Explain that the kind of model to use and how complex it should be depends on its purpose and that it is possible to have different models used to represent the same thing.
- Explain, using examples that models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly, or that are too vast to be changed deliberately, or that are potentially dangerous.
- Explain that models may sometimes mislead by suggesting characteristics that are not really shared with what is being modeled.
Note: Highlighting identifies assessment limits. All highlighted Indicators will be tested on the Grades 5 and 8 MSA. The highlighted Objectives under each highlighted Indicator identify the limit to which MSA items can be written. Although all content standards are tested on MSA, not all Indicators and Objectives are tested. Objectives that are not highlighted will not be tested on MSA, however are an integral part of Instruction.