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Integrating the nature and process of science: Modifying your current lessons

Many of the lessons and activities that you currently use can be modified to better incorporate, reinforce, and make explicit the nature and process of science. Read through your lesson, making note of the areas in which the process of science is already included. Consider the following questions:

  • Can existing connections to the process of science be made more explicit?

  • Are there ways to apply the Science Flowchart to emphasize the nature and process of science? The flowchart can serve as a guide to show which aspects of science students are engaged in. Remember that you do not need to include all of the components in every lesson.

  • Does the lesson provide an opportunity to clarify misconceptions that students might have about science?

  • Are students given the opportunity to pose and modify hypotheses, look at multiple lines of evidence, and experience the logic of the scientific argument?

  • Are students encouraged to ask questions? Do they have opportunities to explain how they might design an investigation that might answer their questions?

  • Are students encouraged to work collaboratively?

  • Does the lesson provide an opportunity for students to reflect on how they are doing science or on how science operates more broadly? For example, any non-cookbook, inquiry-based science activity can be extended to emphasize the process of science by having students chart their own path on the flowchart using paper and pencil or by using our interactive journaling tool: the How Science Works web app.

  • Are there natural places to incorporate a story from the history of science?

  • Does the lesson provide an opportunity to discuss the evidence that supports or refutes a particular idea?

  • Is there an interesting, relevant application of the scientific idea that could be brought into the lesson?

Read on to see how these questions can be useful. And don't forget to refer to our Additional tips and strategies as you plan your lessons for the school year.

Identifying your learning goals
Samples of modified lessons

Teacher's lounges

K-16 Resources

Guide to Understanding Science 101

Conceptual framework

Teaching tools

Resource database

Image library

How Understanding Science is being used

Correcting misconceptions

Educational research

Alignment with science standards

How Science Works on iTunes

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