Big Idea 1: The Practice of Science

A: Scientific inquiry is a multifaceted activity; The processes of science include the formulation of scientifically investigable questions, construction of investigations into those questions, the collection of appropriate data, the evaluation of the meaning of those data, and the communication of this evaluation.

B: The processes of science frequently do not correspond to the traditional portrayal of "the scientific method."

C: Scientific argumentation is a necessary part of scientific inquiry and plays an important role in the generation and validation of scientific knowledge.

D: Scientific knowledge is based on observation and inference; it is important to recognize that these are very different things. Not only does science require creativity in its methods and processes, but also in its questions and explanations.

General Information
Number: SC.8.N.1
Title: The Practice of Science
Type: Big Idea
Subject: Science
Grade: 8
Body of Knowledge: Nature of Science

Related Benchmarks

This cluster includes the following benchmarks.

Related Access Points

This cluster includes the following access points.

Independent

SC.8.N.1.In.1
Identify a problem from the eighth grade curriculum, use reference materials to gather information, carry out an experiment, collect and record data, and report results.
SC.8.N.1.In.2
Identify a possible explanation (hypothesis) for a science problem.
SC.8.N.1.In.3
Identify methods used in different areas of science, such as life science, earth and space science, and physical science.
SC.8.N.1.In.4
Identify that the process used in scientific investigations involves asking a research question, forming a hypothesis, reviewing what is already known, collecting evidence through observations or experiments, determining results, and reaching conclusions.

Supported

SC.8.N.1.Su.1
Recognize a problem from the eighth grade curriculum, use materials to gather information, conduct a simple experiment, and record and share results.
SC.8.N.1.Su.2
Recognize a possible explanation (hypothesis) for a science problem.
SC.8.N.1.Su.3
Recognize methods used in different areas of science, such as life science, earth and space science, and physical science.
SC.8.N.1.Su.4
Recognize that the basic process used in scientific investigations involves questioning, observing, and recording and sharing results.

Participatory

SC.8.N.1.Pa.1
Recognize a problem related to the eighth grade curriculum, observe and explore objects and activities, and recognize a solution.
SC.8.N.1.Pa.2
Recognize science as a way to solve problems about the natural world.

Related Resources

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

Educational Software / Tool

Density: Sea Water Mixing & Sinking:

This is an excellent resource for teachers and students that provides student sheets, data graphs, vocabulary, and teacher notes as well as Big Ideas, Essential Questions, Data Tables, Formative Assessment questions - extremely teacher friendly who need assistance on this Big Idea and Concept. (The Preconceptions were helpful to my students.)

Type: Educational Software / Tool

Instructional Technique

How Science Works:Flowchart:

Have you been searching for interactive way to teach scientific inquiry? Are you unhappy with the 2-D model of the scientific method represented in your science textbook? The University of Berkeley has a wonderful resource for you. This is an interactive concept map of scientific inquiry. You can deliver this content as a whole group using a smart broad or small learning communities. This resource is free and offers the concept map in PDF form with blanks for your students and in PDF poster for your class. In addition to this website, the University of Berkeley offers so much more. Happy browsing.

Type: Instructional Technique

Lesson Plans

Moon Formation Theories:

Students will evaluate what types of evidence provide relevant and logical support for moon formation theories.

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.

Type: Lesson Plan

Just Right Goldilocks’ Café: Temperature & Turbidity:

This is lesson 3 of 3 in the Goldilocks’ Café Just Right unit. This lesson focuses on systematic investigation on getting a cup of coffee to be the “just right” temperature and turbidity level. Students will use both the temperature probe and turbidity sensor and code using ScratchX during their investigation.

Type: Lesson Plan

Just Right Goldilocks’ Café: Turbidity:

This is lesson 2 of 3 in the Just Right Goldilocks’ Café unit. This lesson focuses on systematic investigation on getting a cup of coffee to be the “just right” level of turbidity. Students will use turbidity sensors and code using ScratchX during their investigation.

Type: Lesson Plan

Just Right Goldilocks’ Café: Temperature:

This is lesson 1 of 3 in the Just Right Goldilocks’ Café unit. This lesson focuses on systematic investigation on getting a cup of coffee to be the “just right” temperature. Students will use temperature probes and code using ScratchX during their investigation.

 

Type: Lesson Plan

Bubbles and Colors and Smells...Oh My! :

In this lesson, students will conduct observational and experimental investigations to differentiate between physical changes and chemical change. Students will make and record observations as well as identify experimental variables. Students will conduct several investigations to help them to understand the differences between chemical and physical changes. Students will record investigative observations and use their observations to provide evidence that a physical or a chemical change has occurred.

Type: Lesson Plan

Drink Mix Mix-Up:

In this inquiry activity, students will identify unknown powdered drink mixes. They will use their knowledge of various physical properties to design tests for the unknown drink mixes and then compare them to the known. Students will use their own generated data as evidence to form a conclusion and support their findings. 

Type: Lesson Plan

Knight Shipping, Inc.:

In this design challenge students will take what they have learned about calculating the volumes and densities of cones, cylinders, and spheres, to decide which shape would make the best shipping container. Students will calculate the volumes and densities to help select the best design and then test them to move at least 3 containers of the chosen shape across the classroom. Students will fill the shapes with marshmallows to visually confirm which shape would hold more.

Type: Lesson Plan

Maintaining Mass:

The student will demonstrate that mass is conserved when substances undergo chemical and/or physical changes through experimentation and evaluation of experimentation procedures. Students will be able to analyze the demonstration and provide evidence for or against the law of conservation of mass.Students will first view and then hypothesize, based on their knowledge of the law of conservation of mass, why a teacher demonstration does not seem to prove the law. Students will then explore a modified version of the experiment to determine ways that the teacher demonstration should have been changed to show conservation of mass effectively.

Type: Lesson Plan

Sea Ice Analysis Grade 8:

The changing climate is an important topic for both scientific analysis and worldly knowledge. This lesson uses data collected by the National Snow and Ice Data Center to create and use mathematical models as a predictive tool and do critical analysis of sea ice loss.

Type: Lesson Plan

Measurement and Data Collection:

In this interdisciplinary lesson, students will practice the skill of data collection with a variety of tools and by statistically analyzing the class data sets will begin to understand that error is inherent in all data.

This lesson uses the Hip Sciences Sensor Wand and Temperature Probe. Please refer to the corresponding Hip Science Sensor Guide(s) for information on using the sensor.

Type: Lesson Plan

Which M&M Color Dissolves the Fastest?:

Students will complete an experiment which is designed to have inconsistent results to better understand the challenges with analyzing scientific data. A special emphasis will be placed on articulating scientific claims appropriately based on the available evidence. Students will also complete a summative assessment where they suggest ways to improve scientific claim statements.

Type: Lesson Plan

Research Project: Sensing Nature:

In this week-long, open-ended activity, students will observe their local environment, devise and pose a testable research question, conduct observations using sensors, and use mathematics skills for quantitative analysis and plotting. To communicate results, students will summarize their findings on a custom poster that explains their work.

Type: Lesson Plan

Measurement Data Error:

In this interdisciplinary lesson, students will practice the skill of data collection with a variety of tools and by statistically analyzing the class data sets will begin to understand that error is inherent in all data.

Type: Lesson Plan

Measurement and Data Collection:

In this interdisciplinary lesson, students will practice the skill of data collection with a variety of tools and by statistically analyzing the class data sets will begin to understand that error is inherent in all data.

This lesson uses the Hip Sciences Sensor Wand and Temperature Probe. Please refer to the corresponding Hip Science Sensor Guide(s) for information on using the sensor.

Type: Lesson Plan

Designing a Better Glider - Repetition:

Students are asked to work as an aeronautical engineer, working on the development of a unique glider. The basic design has already been prototyped, but the company is looking at improving the design. Students have been hired to look into changes in the design to produce a glider that can fly farther. They are expected to collect and present evidence to show their design is superior to the original prototype. Throughout the lesson, the importance of repetition in scientific investigations will be emphasized.

Type: Lesson Plan

Overloading Circuits:

In this design challenge, students will explore electrical circuits. Students will use their skills in science, math, and technology to determine how many light bulbs can be powered off of one circuit. Students will build circuits, measure luminosity, graph data, analyze the data and then report their findings to Kiser construction.

Type: Lesson Plan

Shipwrecked Pirates:

In this lesson, students will take the role of shipwrecked pirates. Working in groups, they will have to use the concepts of force, speed, scatter plots, and literal equations to come up with a way of getting one student to a nearby sister island so that they will both have enough food to survive.

Type: Lesson Plan

Expanding the Universe:

Students will draw three dots on an unblown balloon to represent three different galaxies. They will measure the distance between these "galaxies" and then blow up the balloon in three stages, measuring the distance between the "galaxies" at each stage.

Type: Lesson Plan

Rocks Makin' Rocks: Rock Cycle Simulation:

Students will participate in a simulation model of the rock cycle. Collecting data by throwing die, students will develop an understanding of the movement of atoms and rock particles through the rock cycle.

Type: Lesson Plan

STEM Catapult Challenge:

In this lesson, students will design catapults for offense that will be able to shoot down as many objects as possible in a 20-object tower. They will also design a 20-object tower for defense that is least likely to be knocked down by their opponents catapults. As they complete their investigation, they will be designing and implementing two experiments in one. They will identify a problem, make a prediction, collect and analyze data, and draw conclusions. By the end of the lesson, they should be able to differentiate repetition from replication as well.

Type: Lesson Plan

What if ….you never saw another shell?:

This lesson connects the Carbon Cycle with the elevation of global temperatures causing dissolution of carbon-containing substances and rise in acidity. Students conduct a simulation experiment and model carbon loss due to temperature changes lowering pH.

Type: Lesson Plan

Starry Science:

In this engaging lesson, students will investigate and explore the effects of temperature, size, and magnitude on the luminosity and life span of stars using glow sticks. This lesson includes a guided inquiry lab and website exploration.

Type: Lesson Plan

"The Stars That We Don't See" a YMAA Report:

In this activity students will review some characteristics of stars and the use of the H-R Diagram especially referring to the color and the temperature of the stars. They will describe their findings in a report format.

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.

Type: Lesson Plan

Choosing the Best Magnet Program for a High School:

In this MEA, students will try to decide which magnet program they would choose for a high school.

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.

Type: Lesson Plan

Discovering Density:

Students observe the effects of density on flotation and develop an understanding of density as the amount mass per unit volume through discussion and experimentation. Students also work in groups to design an experiment to determine the densities of several irregularly shaped objects and use data to support a conclusion about the buoyancy of each object.

Type: Lesson Plan

Discovering Kepler's Law for the Periods of Planets:

Students listen to a video that describes Kepler's determination that planetary orbits are elliptical and then will use data for the solar distance and periods of several of the planets in the solar system, then investigate several hypotheses to determine which is supported by the data.

Type: Lesson Plan

NASA Beginning Engineering, Science and Technology:

The NASA BEST Activities Guides is designed to teach students the Engineering Design
Process. These lessons are created to accommodate grades 6-8.

All follow the same set of activities and teach students about humans' endeavor to return to the
Moon. Specifically, how we investigate the Moon remotely, the modes of transportation to and on
the Moon, and how humans will live and work on the Moon.

Type: Lesson Plan

Scientific calculations from a distant planet:

Students will act as mathematicians and scientists as they use models, observations and space science concepts to perform calculations and draw inferences regarding a fictional solar system with three planets in circular orbits around a sun. Among the calculations are estimates of the size of the home planet (using a method more than 2000 years old) and the relative distances of the planets from their sun.

Type: Lesson Plan

Measurement in the Science Classroom:

Students will practice measuring length, mass, volume in a variety of ways using a variety of tools including triple beam balances and graduated cylinders. Density will then be calculated.

Type: Lesson Plan

Moon Formation Theories:

Students will learn about moon formation theories, the evidence scientists have to support the current one, and how models can be used to support the theory.

Type: Lesson Plan

Force (Weight versus Mass): Newton's 2nd Law:

Students will examine the relationships between mass, force and acceleration, applying Newton's 2nd Law.

This is part 2 of a two-part lab. It is recommended that the teacher cover the first lesson (, ID 51003) prior to completing this lesson.

Type: Lesson Plan

Mars Rovers:

Students will work in teams to conduct research and compare Mars and Earth.  They will develop a procedure and explain their reasoning to rank different rover models to determine which one could be the best to deploy as a part of Mars Exploration Project.

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.

Type: Lesson Plan

Dissolving Gobstoppers Using Controls and Variables:

Students will conduct a simple laboratory experience that practices the proper use of controls and variables. Students will conduct a controlled experiment in their laboratory groups.

Type: Lesson Plan

Making Observations and Inferences:

This lesson allows the students to discover that science is everywhere. It encourages students to apply their scientific skills and to think creatively in their everyday lives.

Type: Lesson Plan

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).

Type: Lesson Plan

Natural Records of Climate Change: Working with Indirect Evidence:

Students play a dice game to explore the differences between direct and indirect evidence. Student pairs roll dice and record the numbers rolled as a series of colors instead of numbers. Other pairs of students try to crack the color code to figure out the sequence of numbers rolled. In this way, students gain an understanding of how indirect evidence of climate change can be interpreted. In conclusion, the class discusses the various records made by humans and indirect evidence found in nature that can be studied to understand how climate has varied through time.

Key Concepts

  • Scientists collect data from many sources to identify, understand, and interpret past changes in Earth's climate.
  • Natural records of climate change, such as tree rings, ice cores, pollen and ocean sediments offer indirect evidence of climate change. They require knowledge of how the natural recorder works.
  • Records made by humans , such as artwork, harvest records, and accounts of changing seasons, are more direct, but can be incomplete.

Type: Lesson Plan

A Penny is a Penny!:

The goal is that students understand that hypotheses are subject to revision when new information becomes available. It is also extremely important that students understand that while most hypotheses are not correct, testing them adds to science knowledge.

Type: Lesson Plan

Ancient Archery: Scientific Method and Engineering:

Students must assist an archaeological research team to determine which material ancient archers likely used to string their bows. Students must design an experiment to test various materials for power, precision, and durability. After the data is collected, they must develop a system to determine which material would have been most desirable for the ancient archers.

This MEA is a multifaceted lesson designed to address both the processes of discovery through scientific investigation and problem-solving through engineering. The full-scale MEA involves the development of a complete experiment and a proper lab report and then an application of the collected data to address the problem-solving requirement of the MEA.

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.

Type: Lesson Plan

Bridge the hypothesis...:

Students should be able to gain an understanding that developing a hypothesis often leads to further hypotheses whether data is correct or not. Students will engage in an activity to develop a bridge structure from given materials and hypothesize which structure is strongest.

Type: Lesson Plan

Determination of the Optimal Point:

Students will use dynamic geometry software to determine the optimal location for a facility under a variety of scenarios. The experiments will suggest a relation between the optimal point and a common concept in geometry; in some cases, there will be a connection to a statistical concept. Algebra can be used to verify some of the conjectures.

Type: Lesson Plan

Elements of Experimental Design:

Understanding the process of experimental design. It is a process that is structured in order to control variables, maintain consistency, incorporates a hypothesis or a prediction and is testable. The design of the experiment specifies that the experiment must be repeated 3-5 times in order to validate your findings.

Type: Lesson Plan

Mystery Powder Investigation:

Students will use their skills as scientists to identify a mystery white powder. This lesson is a hands-on, engaging way to build students' understanding of physical and chemical properties of several common compounds.

Type: Lesson Plan

Tablet of Knowledge MEA:

This MEA will give students the opportunity to analyze and organize data about tablet devices that their school is looking to purchase for daily use in the classroom.

In this MEA, students compare different tablet devices. They will be given empirical evidence and must organize this data to allow for interpreting key factors to determine which device is best suited for the client. Basically, students are given data and must use this information to make a recommendation to the principal about which tablet or device should be purchased with the school's funds. They will have to provide evidence to support their recommendation. This MEA is designed to help students with data that is collected from an investigation or a lab. In the past, students were able to generate data, but in this MEA they are given the data and asked to make it relevant.

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.

Type: Lesson Plan

Original Student Tutorials

It All Makes Cents! The Two Rs in Science Research: Repetition and Replication :

Learn the importance of replication and repetition in science as you investigate the composition of a penny with this interactive tutorial. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Science Innovation: Using Tools in New Ways to Make Discoveries:

Learn how innovation is important in moving scientific thinking forward with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Hunt for Exoplanets:

Learn how science relies on creative and innovative thinking as we explore the science of discovering exoplanets in this interactive tutorial. Science is a problem solving endeavor as we try and figure out and learn new things. The answers are hard to find, but if we keep asking questions and building on what we know, then we can solve problems to things we once were thought were impossible!

 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Stop the Zombie Virus by Interpreting Graphs:

Help scientists find the most effective vaccine for Zombie Virus vaccine by effectively analyzing and summarizing experimental data. In this interactive tutorial, you'll write a scientific question, a claim, supporting evidence and an explanation of what happened during the experiment.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Science Research: Developing a Hypothesis:

Learn how to write an effective hypothesis with sharks as a focus in this interactive tutorial. A hypothesis should be testable and falsifiable. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Science Research: Writing a Conclusion:

Learn how to write a valid conclusion from a scientific investigation. In this interactive tutorial, you'll also learn how to answer questions using scientific reasoning. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

In Search of New Worlds: Exploring Methods Used in Science:

Explore methods used in scientific inquiry by following an actual astronomer in search of new planets within our solar system in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Perspectives Video: Experts

Birdsong Series: STEM Team Collaboration :

<p>Researchers Frank Johnson, Richard Bertram,&nbsp;Wei&nbsp;Wu, and Rick&nbsp;Hyson&nbsp;explore the necessity of scientific and mathematical collaboration in modern neuroscience, as it relates to their NSF research on birdsong.</p>

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Testing New Designs: F-15 Experimental Aircraft:

F-15 Experimental Test Pilot discusses the importance of the iterative process of collecting data, analyzing data and communicating the findings when developing aircraft for the United States Air Force.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiasts

Determining Remote Locations with Math:

Ecologist, Rebecca Means, describes the process of determining remote locations in the USA and developing quantitative questions that are appropriate.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

KROS Pacific Ocean Kayak Journey: Training, Simulation, and Modeling:

Complex problems require complex plans and training. Get in shape to get things done.

Related Resources:
KROS Pacific Ocean Kayak Journey: GPS Data Set[.XLSX]
KROS Pacific Ocean Kayak Journey: Path Visualization for Google Earth[.KML]

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Professional/Enthusiast

Perspectives Video: Teaching Ideas

Applying Marine Field Experiences to Classroom Practices: Susan Cullum:

In this video, science teacher Susan Cullum describes the impact of field research experiences on classroom teaching practices.

This research is made possible by a grant from the Gulf of Mexico Research Initiative (GoMRI/C-IMAGE II).
This research is made possible by a grant from the NOAA Gulf of Mexico BWET program.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Observing Fossils in the Classroom:

Dig into this idea on teaching fossils and age.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Professional Developments

Generating and Testing Hypotheses:

This brief article summarizes the research-based rationale for using inquiry-based activities in their classrooms. It also provides specific suggestions to help teachers plan lessons that encourage students to generate predictions based on hypotheses, design investigations to test the validity of their ideas, and utilize questioning techniques to promote critical thinking.

Type: Professional Development

The Nature of Science: Presenting Lessons for Maximum Effect & Dispelling Popular Myths :

The webmaster for the ENSI web site (), a popular repository for Nature of Science Lessons, describes some educational philosophy about teaching the Nature of Science, including dispelling some teacher-held misconceptions.

Type: Professional Development

Teaching Ideas

Pump Up the Volume:

This activity is a statistical analysis of recorded measurements of a single value - in this case, a partially filled graduated cylinder.

Type: Teaching Idea

Breeding for Survival-SeaWorld Classroom Activity:

Students will correlate manatees into prospective breeding groups given studbook information.

Type: Teaching Idea

CRIME SCENE: The Case of the Missing Computer Chip:

A simulated crime scene is presented for teams of students to solve, using clues received piecemeal, adjusting hypotheses as more clues are found and discussed. The elements of science are recognized through discussion of the crime solution metaphor. Also clearly shows how science is used effectively to reveal unwitnessed events of the past (by weighing the evidence), much as we do in paleontology, geology, evolution and astronomy.

Type: Teaching Idea

Phoenix Mars Lander:

A lesson from Nova/PBS that describes the landing of the Phoenix Mars Lander, its purpose, function, and initial findings. The lesson plan provides two ways for students to investigate how the lander would collect data from the surface and the benefits and limitations of different types of space probes to do before watching the video. It provides a 12 minute video to show the Phoenix Mars Lander. Lesson also provides ideas for what students can do after they view the video. Extensions to lesson include pictures of surface of Mars, interview with a scientist and a commentary from Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Type: Teaching Idea

The Origin of the Moon:

Most planetary scientists expected that lunar samples brought to Earth at the end of each of the six Apollo missions would confirm one of three leading hypotheses of the Moon's origin. Instead, samples left all three explanations unconfirmed, requiring the development of a new hypothesis for how the Moon formed. This video segment adapted from NOVA shows Apollo 15 astronauts collecting a type of rock that would help change our understanding of the Moon's - and Earth's - earliest history.

Type: Teaching Idea

THE GREAT VOLUME EXCHANGER:

Use of a discrepant event piques curiosity and provides an excellent metaphor for a problem in science that can be addressed in a scientific way. Water is poured into a "magic" box, and out comes a much larger volume of water (or other liquid).

Type: Teaching Idea

Text Resources

Solving Bad Breath One Walnut at a Time:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. The science fair project of two junior scientists in Nigeria may hold the key to ending "morning breath." Through experimentation, the two teenage girls determined that African walnuts were able to kill bacteria that cause bad breath. Their project was presented at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.

Type: Text Resource

Defying Gravity: Eye-Opening Science Adventures On a Weightless Flight:

This article describes a weightless flight taken by student researchers investigating several questions all centering on zero gravity. NASA's Reduced Gravity Education Flight Program uses flights by the commercial Zero Gravity Corporation to perform weightless science.

Type: Text Resource

Florida Riding a Lucky Streak as Hurricane Season 2014 Opens:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article reports on the "lucky streak" Florida has had in hurricane seasons since 2005 and explains why the trend cannot last forever. The author also focuses on storm surge damage and explains the new computer programs that use interactive real-time maps to predict storm surges and the need for evacuations.

Type: Text Resource

The Newest Superheavy in Town:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. Russian and U.S. scientists have collaborated to create for the first time element 117: "ununseptium." The element was created inside a machine called a cyclotron when atoms of berkelium and calcium were smashed together. While the element decays quickly, the new discovery has scientists very excited, as it fills a gap in the periodic table.

Type: Text Resource

When a Species Can't Stand the Heat:

This informational text resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article discusses how global warming could leave New Zealand's tuatara (a reptile species) dangerously short on females. When the temperature rises as little as one degree, far more males than females are born. One island habitat is now 75% males, with fewer, frailer females. Without intervention, the tuatara could become extinct. The article offers some possible solutions, including having the colonies relocated to cooler islands.

Type: Text Resource

Moon Crash, Splash:

This resource is intended to support reading in the content area. This article describes how NASA sent a Centaur rocket attached to a mother craft (LCROSS) to the moon. The rocket detached, crashed and stirred up a plume of debris. The mother craft flew through the debris plume, took pictures and analyzed the plume's contents. The measurements revealed the presence of water in significant quantities.

Type: Text Resource

Why Isn't Pluto A Planet?:

This Frequently Asked Question page can be used by educators and students as a scientific resource to answer the question, "Why isn't Pluto a planet?". From the International Astronomical Union, the definitive answer from the governing body that classified Pluto as a dwarf planet.

Type: Text Resource

Tutorial

Structures and Storms:

Click "View Site" to open a full-screen version. This tutorial is designed to help secondary science teachers learn how to integrate literacy skills within their curriculum. This tutorial focuses on identifying and evaluating the different text structures authors use to organize information in informative texts. The focus on literacy across content areas is designed to help students independently build knowledge in different disciplines through reading and writing.

Type: Tutorial

Unit/Lesson Sequences

Middle School Chemistry Unit | Chapter 3 | Density:

Students experiment with objects that have the same volume but different mass and other objects that have the same mass but different volume to develop a meaning of density. Students also experiment with density in the context of sinking and floating and look at substances on the molecular level to discover why one substance is more or less dense than another.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Middle School Chemistry Unit | Chapter 1 | Matter—Solids, Liquids, and Gases:

Students are introduced to the idea that matter is composed of atoms and molecules that are attracted to each other and in constant motion. Students explore the attractions and motion of atoms and molecules as they experiment with and observe the heating and cooling of a solid, liquid, and gas.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Chemical Change Investigations | Inquiry in Action:

In this series of 10 investigations, students gain experience with the evidence of chemical change - production of a gas, change in temperature, color change, and formation of a precipitate. Students begin by observing that similar-looking powders can be differentiated by the way they react chemically with certain test liquids. Students then use their chemical tests and observations to identify an unknown powder and, in a follow-up activity, to identify the active ingredients in baking powder. Students continue to explore chemical change by using a thermometer to observe that temperature either increases or decreases during chemical reactions. Then they control these reactions by adjusting the amount of reactants. In another set of activities, students use the color changes of red cabbage indicator to classify substances as acids or bases, neutralize solutions, and compare the relative acidity of two different solutions. Students conclude the investigation by comparing a precipitate to one of the reactants that formed it. Students see that a new substance was created during the chemical reaction. Information and questions about photosynthesis and cellular respiration are included as examples of chemical changes on pages 316-318 of this resource.

Type: Unit/Lesson Sequence

Video/Audio/Animations

Will an Ice Cube Melt Faster in Freshwater or Saltwater?:

With an often unexpected outcome from a simple experiment, students can discover the factors that cause and influence thermohaline circulation in our oceans. In two 45-minute class periods, students complete activities where they observe the melting of ice cubes in saltwater and freshwater, using basic materials: clear plastic cups, ice cubes, water, salt, food coloring, and thermometers. There are no prerequisites for this lesson but it is helpful if students are familiar with the concepts of density and buoyancy as well as the salinity of seawater. It is also helpful if students understand that dissolving salt in water will lower the freezing point of water. There are additional follow up investigations that help students appreciate and understand the importance of the ocean's influence on Earth's climate.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Inquiry and Ocean Exploration:

Ocean explorer Robert Ballard gives a TED Talk relating to the mysteries of the ocean, and the importance of its continued exploration.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Virtual Manipulative

Reading a Triple Beam Balance:

This is a good virtual manipulative introduction that supports the hands on experience of learning how to use a triple beam balance.

Type: Virtual Manipulative

Worksheets

Position-Justification-Evidence Framework:

This resource provides students with a framework to form an academic argument. Students must provide a justification for their position statement and support it with evidence.

Type: Worksheet

Point-Counterpoint Framework:

This resource provides students with a framework to examine multiple sides of an argument before taking a position. It is useful in helping students examine opposing views and strengthen their argument by anticipating the opposition's main points.

Type: Worksheet

Yes-No-Because Framework:

This resource provides students with a framework to take and support their position on an open-ended or yes/no question. Its simplicity is especially useful for students with little to no experience forming an academic or scientific argument.

Type: Worksheet

Student Resources

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

Original Student Tutorials

It All Makes Cents! The Two Rs in Science Research: Repetition and Replication :

Learn the importance of replication and repetition in science as you investigate the composition of a penny with this interactive tutorial. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Science Innovation: Using Tools in New Ways to Make Discoveries:

Learn how innovation is important in moving scientific thinking forward with this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

The Hunt for Exoplanets:

Learn how science relies on creative and innovative thinking as we explore the science of discovering exoplanets in this interactive tutorial. Science is a problem solving endeavor as we try and figure out and learn new things. The answers are hard to find, but if we keep asking questions and building on what we know, then we can solve problems to things we once were thought were impossible!

 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Stop the Zombie Virus by Interpreting Graphs:

Help scientists find the most effective vaccine for Zombie Virus vaccine by effectively analyzing and summarizing experimental data. In this interactive tutorial, you'll write a scientific question, a claim, supporting evidence and an explanation of what happened during the experiment.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Science Research: Developing a Hypothesis:

Learn how to write an effective hypothesis with sharks as a focus in this interactive tutorial. A hypothesis should be testable and falsifiable. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Science Research: Writing a Conclusion:

Learn how to write a valid conclusion from a scientific investigation. In this interactive tutorial, you'll also learn how to answer questions using scientific reasoning. 

Type: Original Student Tutorial

In Search of New Worlds: Exploring Methods Used in Science:

Explore methods used in scientific inquiry by following an actual astronomer in search of new planets within our solar system in this interactive tutorial.

Type: Original Student Tutorial

Text Resource

Why Isn't Pluto A Planet?:

This Frequently Asked Question page can be used by educators and students as a scientific resource to answer the question, "Why isn't Pluto a planet?". From the International Astronomical Union, the definitive answer from the governing body that classified Pluto as a dwarf planet.

Type: Text Resource

Video/Audio/Animations

Will an Ice Cube Melt Faster in Freshwater or Saltwater?:

With an often unexpected outcome from a simple experiment, students can discover the factors that cause and influence thermohaline circulation in our oceans. In two 45-minute class periods, students complete activities where they observe the melting of ice cubes in saltwater and freshwater, using basic materials: clear plastic cups, ice cubes, water, salt, food coloring, and thermometers. There are no prerequisites for this lesson but it is helpful if students are familiar with the concepts of density and buoyancy as well as the salinity of seawater. It is also helpful if students understand that dissolving salt in water will lower the freezing point of water. There are additional follow up investigations that help students appreciate and understand the importance of the ocean's influence on Earth's climate.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Inquiry and Ocean Exploration:

Ocean explorer Robert Ballard gives a TED Talk relating to the mysteries of the ocean, and the importance of its continued exploration.

Type: Video/Audio/Animation

Parent Resources

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

Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea

Observing Fossils in the Classroom:

Dig into this idea on teaching fossils and age.

Download the CPALMS Perspectives video student note taking guide.

Type: Perspectives Video: Teaching Idea