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Integrating the nature and process of science: Strategies for 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 Checklist or Science Flowchart to emphasize the nature and process of science?

  • 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 interactive.

  • Are there natural places to incorporate a story from the history of science? This article from the American Biology Teacher1 explains how to incorporate episodes from the history of science into your teaching.

  • 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

1Howe, E. 2009. Henry David Thoreau, Forest Succession & The Nature of Science. The American Biology Teacher 71(9):397-404. With permission from the National Association of Biology Teachers.

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