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High School — Science
Scientific Ways of Knowing

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    Scientific Ways of Knowing

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      Strategies: Help with Fundamentals

      The following activities are suggestions for working with students who need help with fundamentals. We hope that the activities spark ideas and conversations among teachers about useful classroom strategies that can supplement existing curriculum.

      Difficulty 1

      Students have difficulty distinguishing between personal experience or understandings and evidence derived from scientific investigations to support a hypothesis, model or explanation. When confronted with evidence that conflicts with personal experiences or understandings, students may not evaluate the evidence correctly or adjust their observations to fit their current mental model rather than develop a scientific mental model based on valid evidence. Students may also think scientific knowledge changes because facts change rather than as a result of new scientific evidence or new interpretations of earlier evidence.

      • Students should have previously identified the difference between descriptions, like observation and summary, and explanations, including inferences, predictions, significance and importance (Scientific Ways of Knowing, Benchmark A, Grades 6-8). This concept is critical to student understanding of scientific evidence, models and explanations.

      • At this level, students should explain that scientific knowledge is based on evidence, that it is predictive, logical, subject to modification and limited to the natural world (Scientific Ways of Knowing, Benchmark A). Click here* for "The Formulation of Explanations: An Invitation to Inquiry on Natural Selection" to address this benchmark. This activity encourages students to understand natural selection as supported by scientific evidence, rather than in the context of personal experience. Students will develop scientific explanations about natural selection using evidence. Students will also have the opportunity to revise their explanations based on new evidence. This activity also provides students with the opportunity to describe how natural selection is a mechanism for evolution (Life Sciences, Benchmark H).

        *This link contains resources or information that may be useful. These resources were not written to align specifically to Ohio's Academic Content Standards. The inclusion of a specific resource is not an endorsement of that particular resource, or any of its contents, by the Ohio Department of Education. Teachers are advised to preview all sites before using them with students.

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