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In this lesson, students play the roles of paleontologists on a dig. They "unearth" a few fossils at a time and attempt to reconstruct the animal the fossils represent.



Life Science, Nature and Process of Science

one class period

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

  • Science deals with the natural world and natural explanations.

  • Scientists strive to test their ideas with evidence from the natural world; a hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7, NOS2)

  • Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as new ideas surface and new evidence is discovered. (P6, NOS3)

  • Scientific ideas cannot be absolutely proven.

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

  • The process of science involves observation, exploration, testing, communication, and application.

  • Scientists test their ideas by predicting what they would expect to observe if their idea were true and then seeing if that prediction is correct. (P4, P6)

  • Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.

  • Different scientists may interpret the same data in different ways. (P7)

  • Hypotheses are potential explanations for what we observe in the natural world. (P6)

  • Hypotheses are usually inspired and informed by previous research and/or observations. They are not guesses. (P6)

  • Scientists usually work collaboratively.

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