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The great fossil find

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Overview:
Students are taken on an imaginary fossil hunt and form hypotheses about the identity of the creature they discover. Students revise their hypotheses as new evidence is found.

Author/Source:
ENSI

Grade:
College

Discipline:
Life Science, Nature and Process of Science

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

  • Scientists strive to test their ideas with evidence from the natural world; a hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing.

  • Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as new ideas surface and new evidence is discovered.

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

  • 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.

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

  • All scientific tests involve making assumptions, but these assumptions can be independently tested, increasing our confidence in our test results.

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

  • Different scientists may interpret the same data in different ways; data interpretation can be influenced by a scientist's assumptions, biases, and background.

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

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

  • Scientists usually work collaboratively.

Teacher background:

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