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Crime scene: The case of the missing computer chip

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Overview:
In this classroom activity, teams of students use clues to adjust working hypotheses about an unsolved crime. The nature and process of science are recognized through discussion of the crime solution metaphor.

Author/Source:
ENSI

Grade:
9-12

Discipline:
Nature and Process of Science

Time:
One class period

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

  • Science focuses on natural phenomena and processes.

  • Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as new ideas surface and new evidence is discovered. (P4, P6, NOS3)

  • Scientific ideas cannot be absolutely proven.

  • Scientists test their ideas (hypotheses and theories) by figuring out what expectations are generated by an idea and making observations to find out whether those expectations are borne out. (P4, P6)

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

  • Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence. (P6, NOS2)

  • Scientists often try to generate multiple explanations for what they observe. (P7)

  • Scientists look for patterns in their observations and data. (P4, P5, NOS2)

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

  • Hypotheses are proposed explanations for a narrow set of phenomena. (P6)

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

  • Scientists usually work collaboratively. (NOS7)

  • Problem-solving and decision-making benefit from a scientific approach.

Teacher background:

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