Big Idea 3 : The Role of Theories, Laws, Hypotheses, and Models



This document was generated on CPALMS - www.cpalms.org


The terms that describe examples of scientific knowledge, for example; "theory," "law," "hypothesis," and "model" have very specific meanings and functions within science.

General Information

Number: SC.6.N.3
Title: The Role of Theories, Laws, Hypotheses, and Models
Type: Big Idea
Subject: Science
Grade: 6
Body of Knowledge: Nature of Science

Related Benchmarks

This cluster includes the following benchmarks
Code Description
SC.6.N.3.1: Recognize and explain that a scientific theory is a well-supported and widely accepted explanation of nature and is not simply a claim posed by an individual.   Thus, the use of the term theory in science is very different than how it is used in everyday life.
SC.6.N.3.2: Recognize and explain that a scientific law is a description of a specific relationship under given conditions in the natural world. Thus, scientific laws are different from societal laws.
SC.6.N.3.3: Give several examples of scientific laws.
SC.6.N.3.4: Identify the role of models in the context of the sixth grade science benchmarks.


Related Access Points

This cluster includes the following access points.

Independent

Access Point Number Access Point Title
SC.6.N.3.In.1: Identify that a scientific theory is an explanation of nature supported by evidence.
SC.6.N.3.In.2: Identify examples of scientific laws (proven descriptions of nature), such as the law of gravity.
SC.6.N.3.In.3: Identify models used in the context of sixth grade science access points.

Supported

Access Point Number Access Point Title
SC.6.N.3.Su.1: Recognize that a scientific theory is an explanation of nature.
SC.6.N.3.Su.2: Recognize events that are based on scientific laws, such as the law of gravity.
SC.6.N.3.Su.3: Recognize models used in the context of sixth grade science access points.

Participatory

Access Point Number Access Point Title
SC.6.N.3.Pa.1: Observe and recognize a predictable cause-effect relationship related to a science topic.
SC.6.N.3.Pa.2: Associate a model with an activity used in the context of sixth grade science access points.


Related Resources

Vetted resources educators can use to teach the concepts and skills in this topic.

Original Student Tutorials

Name Description
Stop! In the Name of Scientific Laws:

Explore how we define and describe scientific phenomena using scientific laws in this interactive tutorial.

As the Scientific Theory Turns:

Learn about scientific theories and how they can change in this space-themed, interactive tutorial

Models in Science:

Learn to identify models and their use in science with this interactive tutorial.

Scientific Laws:

Learn to identify the importance of scientific laws and how they are different from societal laws.

Lesson Plans

Name Description
Gr. 6 Lesson 1-Kissimmee-Lake Okeechobee-Everglades Watershed:

Students will be able to find locations and waterways pertinent to the Kissimmee-Lake Okeechobee-Everglades (K-O-E) watershed on a map after watching a video and reading a story.

Gr. 6 Lesson 2-A Drop in the Bucket:

Students will recognize the concern for water quantity and water flow to the Everglades through a demonstration and activity.

Too Hot, Too Cold-6th Grade STEM Lesson:

A two day STEM lesson where students get a hands-on experience understanding positive and negative integers. Students will understand how temperature demonstrations and their own created models are used to visualize positive and negative integers in relation to 0 in real-world settings. Students will summarize their understanding of the relationship between positive and negative integers in relation to 0 for the evaluation of this lesson in a journal format.

Journey Through the Spheres of the Earth:

The student will investigate Earth's five spheres through a hands-on activity in which they collect data and construct explanations through a lab simulating how interactions occur on the planet from one sphere to another. Students will discuss picture examples of the five Spheres, collect data to generate their own bar graph, and experience interactions between the five Spheres on Earth. Students will be able to identify and differentiate impacts and interactions between the Biosphere, Hydrosphere, Geosphere, Cryosphere, and Atmosphere.

Atmospheric Layers:

In this 5E lesson, students will model the layers of the atmosphere through an interactive lab that looks at characteristics of the atmosphere by analyzing the atmospheric temperature profile and the special features that can be found in each layer. Students will look at the different layers of the atmosphere to determine how the atmosphere helps sustain life on Earth.

Dream House Project :

Students will design a floor plan of their dream house using compositions of basic geometric shapes. They will also calculate the area of the plan to determine flooring costs. Students will conduct research on alternative energy sources and determine the best fit for their dream house location.

 

Let's Get Moving: Exploring Erosion & Deposition:

The student will investigate the processes of deposition and erosion through a hands-on activity and lab simulating the impact on Earth's surface. This activity leads students to a rich understanding of both the erosion and deposition processes and how they change the Earth's surface. Students will relate erosion and deposition to how Earth is changed by the building up and tearing down of its surface. Students will identify unique landforms that are created as a result of erosion and deposition.

The Classification of Living Things:

Students will explore various types of organisms, and collaborate with peers to create a system (model) of classifying those organisms. Students will use scientific models and tools to organize, classify, and identify organisms. Students will identify methods of classification used for living things by sorting and classifying everyday objects, exploring organisms through a digital scavenger hunt, creation of a graphic organizer, and through collaborative engagement. Students will understand that all organisms are classified based on shared characteristics.

All Laws are Not Created Equally:

In this one-day lesson, students will investigate Newton's First Law of Motion as they observe the spinning behaviors of uncooked and hardboiled eggs to consider what a scientific law is and how scientific laws are condition specific.

Laws and Theories in Nature:

This lesson will begin with a presentation to discuss the major differences between hypotheses, theories and laws in science and society and identify several examples of laws and theories. The students will then go outside and make/write down/photograph examples of nature supporting these laws/theories.

The Role of Models:

Your students will participate in two group activities choose one concept to investigate examples of models related to sixth grade science concepts. They will describe the benefits and limitations of models and will work collaboratively on a group presentation to share their knowledge.

What are Scientific Laws?:

During this two-day lesson, students will watch a video defining the definition of Scientific Law and identify various examples of scientific laws. Students will participate in various activities, including being scientists around the world to develop sentences with an increasing number of words (showing how scientists share ideas, tossing balls in the air to write a law, and then develop a presentation about a scientist and his law).

Societal Laws vs. Scientific Laws:

Students will complete a card sort activity to classify societal laws vs. scientific laws. Students will then read descriptions of scientific laws and identify the cause and effect relationship.

Scientific vs. Societal Laws:

The students will first watch a brief video about "The War on Science." They will then view a PowerPoint titled "Scientific vs. Societal Laws" and engage in a class discussion about the differences between these two types of laws. In small groups, students will then read short passages and determine if they are scientific laws or societal laws.

Lightyear Rockets:

Students are asked to evaluate and test several rocket fin designs to determine the most effective design. After launch, the students are asked to test an additional design and also design their own rocket fin. Additionally, students will record and graph their results.

Model Eliciting Activities, MEAs, are open-ended, interdisciplinary problem-solving activities that are meant to reveal students’ thinking about the concepts embedded in realistic situations. Click here to learn more about MEAs and how they can transform your classroom.

Investigate Cell Theory: This lesson allows students to investigate the Cell Theory.
Inland Flood Protection Using Levees-An Engineering Design Challenge:

This Engineering Design Challenge is intended to help students apply the concepts of protecting human life from hazardous weather from SC.6.E.7.8 as they build levees to prevent flooding. It is not intended as an initial introduction to this benchmark.

Journey through the Body - An Engineering Design Challenge:

This Engineering Design Challenge is intended to help students apply the concepts of the human body and organ systems from SC.6.L.14.5. It is not intended as an initial introduction to this benchmark.

MYSTERY BOXES - Uncertainty & Collaboration: Students manipulate sealed "mystery" boxes and attempt to determine the inner structure of the boxes which contain a moving ball and a fixed barrier or two. The nature and sources of uncertainty inherent in the process of problem-solving are experienced. The uncertainty of the conclusions is reduced by student collaboration. The students are asked to relate this activity to how to learn about "mystery boxes" in nature (interior of the earth, the atom, etc).
Using Evidence to Support the Theory of Plate Tectonics:

In this lesson, students will analyze an informational text, a simulation and a video intended to support reading in the content area. The article addresses the use of computer models to predict that the Earth's tectonic plates will cease to move in the future. The evidence provided by these resources will be used to write an argument supporting the theory of plate tectonics. This lesson includes a note-taking guide, text-dependent questions, a writing prompt, answer keys, and a writing rubric.

Lesson Study Resource Kit

Name Description
Exploring Diversity and Evolution grades 6-8:

This toolkit is designed to assist lesson study teams as they work to develop a unit on natural selection that conforms to the state academic standards for science mathematics and English language arts.

Presentation/Slideshow

Name Description
What is Science?:

Resource provides a succinct overview of the nature of science; what science is and is not. Information includes the aims of scientific pursuits, principles, process and thinking.

Teaching Ideas

Name Description
Erosion: These activities will help students understand how the processes of weathering and erosion change and move materials that become soil.
Let's Learn About Weathering: These classroom activities will help students understand 4 types of weather processes: wind, running water, plant growth, and freezing water. Students will learn how the processes of weathering and erosion change and move materials that become soil.

Text Resources

Name Description
Earth's Tectonic Plates Won't Slide Forever:

This text is intended to support reading in the content area. The text describes future possible outcomes for the tectonic plates and the movement of the Earth’s crust. Using computer models, the article first discusses when crustal plate movement is thought to have begun. Then, it provides the reader with an account of some of the ways the Earth has changed due to the movement of plate tectonics. It then continues to use computer models to produce a simulation to show that these plate movements may stop millions of years from now.

Hurricane Forecasters: El Niño Could Mean Fewer Storms in Atlantic:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Scientific models predict that El Niño will cause fewer hurricanes in the Atlantic Ocean—but more in the Pacific Ocean—in 2014. This is because El Niño events affect water temperatures and wind shear, which affect hurricane formation. The article gives the chances of named storms forming in both the Pacific and Atlantic.

 

 



Student Resources

Vetted resources students can use to learn the concepts and skills in this topic.

Original Student Tutorials

Title Description
Stop! In the Name of Scientific Laws:

Explore how we define and describe scientific phenomena using scientific laws in this interactive tutorial.

As the Scientific Theory Turns:

Learn about scientific theories and how they can change in this space-themed, interactive tutorial

Models in Science:

Learn to identify models and their use in science with this interactive tutorial.

Scientific Laws:

Learn to identify the importance of scientific laws and how they are different from societal laws.

Presentation/Slideshow

Title Description
What is Science?:

Resource provides a succinct overview of the nature of science; what science is and is not. Information includes the aims of scientific pursuits, principles, process and thinking.