SC.8.N.1.6

Understand that scientific investigations involve the collection of relevant empirical evidence, the use of logical reasoning, and the application of imagination in devising hypotheses, predictions, explanations and models to make sense of the collected evidence.
General Information
Subject Area: Science
Grade: 8
Body of Knowledge: Nature of Science
Idea: Level 2: Basic Application of Skills & Concepts
Big Idea: 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.

Date Adopted or Revised: 02/08
Date of Last Rating: 05/08
Status: State Board Approved
Assessed: Yes

Related Courses

This benchmark is part of these courses.
2002100: M/J Comprehensive Science 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002110: M/J Comprehensive Science 3, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2001010: M/J Earth/Space Science (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2001020: M/J Earth/Space Science, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2000010: M/J Life Science (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2000020: M/J Life Science, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2003010: M/J Physical Science (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2003020: M/J Physical Science, Advanced (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
1700020: M/J Research 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
7820017: Access M/J Comprehensive Science 3 (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2018, 2018 and beyond (current))
2002055: M/J Comprehensive Science 1 Accelerated Honors (Specifically in versions: 2014 - 2015, 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2003030: M/J STEM Physical Science (Specifically in versions: 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2002200: M/J STEM Environmental Science (Specifically in versions: 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2001025: M/J STEM Astronomy and Space Science (Specifically in versions: 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))
2000025: M/J STEM Life Science (Specifically in versions: 2015 - 2022, 2022 and beyond (current))

Related Access Points

Alternate version of this benchmark for students with significant cognitive disabilities.
SC.8.N.1.Pa.2: Recognize science as a way to solve problems about the natural world.
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.
SC.8.N.1.Su.4: Recognize that the basic process used in scientific investigations involves questioning, observing, and recording and sharing results.

Related Resources

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"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

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

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

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

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

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

Detemination 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

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

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 original student 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

Perspectives Video: Expert

Birdsong Series: STEM Team Collaboration :

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

Type: Perspectives Video: Expert

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 Idea

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

Professional Development

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

Teaching Ideas

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 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

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

STEM Lessons - Model Eliciting Activity

"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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Original Student Tutorials Science - Grades K-8

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 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!

 

Student Resources

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

Original Student Tutorials

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 original student 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

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 benchmark.