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Online Course for Teachers: Teaching Evolution

About this Course 

SESSION 1

SESSION 1: What Is the Nature of Science?

National Science Education Standards
Addressed in Session 1

Science Standard A:

All students should develop:

Abilities to do scientific inquiry

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Identify questions and concepts that guide scientific investigations

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Design and conduct scientific investigations

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Formulate and revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence

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Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and models

 

Understandings about scientific inquiry
Scientists conduct investigations for a wide variety of reasons.

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Scientific explanations must adhere to criteria such as: a proposed explanation must be logically consistent; it must abide by the rules of evidence; it must be open to questions and possible modification; and it must be based on historical or current scientific knowledge.

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Results of scientific inquiry -- new knowledge and methods -- emerge from different types of investigations and public communication among scientists.

 
Science Standard G:

All students should develop an understanding of:

Science as a human endeavor

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Individuals and teams have contributed and will continue to contribute to the scientific enterprise.

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Scientists are influenced by societal, cultural, and personal beliefs and ways of viewing the world. Science is not separate from society but rather science is a part of society.

 

The nature of scientific knowledge

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Science distinguishes itself from other ways of knowing and from other bodies of knowledge through the use of empirical standards, logical arguments, and skepticism, as scientists strive for the best possible explanations about the natural world.

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Scientific explanations must meet certain criteria. First and foremost, they must be consistent with experimental and observational evidence about nature, and must make accurate predictions, when appropriate, about the systems being studied. They should also be logical, respect the rules of evidence, be open to criticism, report methods and procedures, and make knowledge public.

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Because all scientific ideas depend on experimental and observational confirmation, all scientific knowledge is, in principle, subject to change as new evidence becomes available.

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