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The great fossil find


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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.



Life Science, Nature and Process of Science

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.

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