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Crime scene: The case of the missing computer chip


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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.



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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence.

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

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

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

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

  • Scientists usually work collaboratively.

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

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