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Lesson summary for:
Nature of science


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Understanding how science works allows one to easily distinguish science from non-science. Thus, to understand biological evolution, or any other science, it is essential to begin with the nature of science.

UC Museum of Paleontology

Grade level:

20-30 minutes

Teaching tips:
Student learning could be enhanced by classroom discussion in which the concepts in this lesson are applied to specific examples.

Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Science focuses on natural phenomena and processes.

  • Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence. (P6, NOS2)

  • Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as we come up with new ideas and discover new evidence. (P4, P6, NOS3)

  • The real process of science is complex, iterative, and can take many different paths.

  • Scientists use multiple research methods (experiments, observational research, comparative research, and modeling) to collect data. (P2, P3, P4, NOS1)

  • Accepted scientific theories are not tenuous; they must survive rigorous testing and be supported by multiple lines of evidence to be accepted. (NOS2, NOS4)

  • Science is a human endeavor. (NOS7)

Teacher background:

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