National Science Education Standards

Grades 9-12


Unifying Concepts and Processes:

Evidence, models, and explanation – Evidence consists of observations and data on which to base scientific explanations. Using evidence to understand interactions allows individuals to predict changes in natural and designed systems.

Models are tentative schemes or structures that correspond to real objects, events, or classes of events, and that have explanatory power. Models take many forms, including physical objects, plans, mental constructs, mathematical equations, and computer simulations.

Science As Inquiry:

  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
  • Understandings about scientific inquiry
  • Design and conduct scientific investigations
  • Use technology and mathematics to improve investigations and communications
  • Formulate and revise scientific explanations and models using logic and evidence
  • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and models
    Communicate and defend a scientific argument

Science and Technology

  • Propose designs and choose between alternative solution
  • Implement a proposed solution
  • Practice abilities of technological design
  • Evaluate a solution and its consequences
  • Understands about science and technology

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives

  • Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges
  • Natural and human-induced hazards
  • Science and technology in local, national, and global challenges
  • Personal and community health
    • The severity of disease symptoms is dependent on many factors, such as human resistance, and the virulence of the disease-producing organism. Many diseases can be prevented, controlled, or cured.

History and Nature of Science

  • Science as a human endeavor – Individuals have contributed and will continue to contribute to the scientific enterprise. Doing science or engineering can be as simple as an individual conducting field studies or an complex as hundreds of people working on a major scientific question or technological problem. Pursuing science as a career or as a hobby can be both fascinating and intellectually rewarding.
  • 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. They should also be logical, respect the rules of evidence, be open to criticism, report methods and procedures, and make knowledge public.
  • Because all scientific ideas depend on experimental and observational confirmation, all scientific knowledge is, in principle, subject to change as new evidence becomes available. The core ideas of science such as the conservation of energy or the laws of motion have been subjected to a wide variety of confirmations and are therefore unlikely to change in the areas in which they have been tested.