Unit Information

Grade/Subject: Biology
Unit Name: Nature of Science
Length of Unit: 20 Days (Modified to around 30 - 35 for LCS; includes rapport
building. Omit portions if students have prior knowledge)
Unit Learning Goals
Scientific Ways of Knowing
Students realize that the
current body of scientific
knowledge must be based on
evidence, be
predictive, logical, subject to
modification and limited to the
natural world. This includes
demonstrating an
understanding that scientific
knowledge grows and
advances as new evidence is
discovered to support or
modify existing theories, as
well as to encourage the
development of new
theories. Students are able to
reflect on ethical scientific
practices and demonstrate an
understanding of how the
current body of scientific
knowledge reflects the
historical and cultural
contributions of women and
men who provide us with a
more reliable and
comprehensive
understanding of the natural
world.















Benchmark A: Explain that scientific knowledge must be
based on evidence, be predictive, logical,
subject to modification and limited to the natural world.

Grade Nine
Nature of Science

1. Comprehend that many scientific investigations require
the contributions of women and men from different
disciplines in and out of science. These people study
different topics, use different techniques and have
different standards of evidence but share a common
purpose - to better understand a portion of our universe.

3. Demonstrate that reliable scientific evidence improves the
ability of scientists to offer accurate predictions.

Grade Ten
Nature of Science

1. Discuss science as a dynamic body of knowledge that can
lead to the development of entirely new disciplines.

2. Describe that scientists may disagree about explanations of
phenomena, about interpretation of data or about the
value of rival theories, but they do agree that questioning,
response to criticism and open communication are integral
to the process of science.

3. Recognize that science is a systematic method of
continuing investigation, based on observation, hypothesis
testing, measurement, experimentation, and theory
building, which leads to more adequate explanations of
natural phenomena.





























































Benchmark B: Explain how scientific inquiry is guided by
knowledge, observations, ideas and questions.

Grade Nine
Scientific Theories

5. Justify that scientific theories are explanations of large
bodies of information and/or observations that withstand
repeated testing.

6. Explain that inquiry fuels observation and
experimentation that produce data that are the foundation
of scientific disciplines. Theories are explanations of these
data.

7. Recognize that scientific knowledge and explanations have
changed over time, almost always building on earlier
knowledge.

Benchmark C: Describe the ethical practices and guidelines in
which science operates.

Grade Nine
Nature of Science

2. Illustrate that the methods and procedures used to obtain
evidence must be clearly reported to enhance
opportunities for further investigations.

Ethical Practices

4. Explain how support of ethical practices in science (e.g.,
individual observations and confirmations, accurate
reporting, peer review and publication) are required to
reduce bias.

Grade Ten
Ethical Practices

4. Recognize that ethical considerations limit what scientists
can do.

5. Recognize that research involving voluntary human
subjects should be conducted only with the informed
consent of the subjects and follow rigid guidelines and/or
laws.




























Scientific Inquiry
Students develop scientific
habits of mind as they use the
processes of scientific inquiry
to ask valid
questions and to gather and
analyze information. They
understand how to develop
hypotheses and
make predictions. They are
able to reflect on scientific
practices as they develop
plans of action to
create and evaluate a variety
of conclusions. Students are
also able to demonstrate the
ability to
communicate their findings to
others.
Benchmark D: Recognize that scientific literacy is part of
being a knowledgeable citizen.

Grade Nine
Science and Society

8. Illustrate that much can be learned about the internal
workings of science and the nature of science from the
study of scientists, their daily work and their efforts to
advance scientific knowledge in their area of study.

9. Investigate how the knowledge, skills and interests learned
in science classes apply to the careers students plan to
pursue.

Grade Ten
Science and Society

7. Investigate how the knowledge, skills and interests learned in
science classes apply to the careers students plan to pursue.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Benchmark A: Participate in and apply the processes of
scientific investigation to create models and
to design, conduct, evaluate and communicate the results of
these investigations.

Grade Nine
Doing Scientific
Inquiry

1. Distinguish between observations and inferences given a
scientific situation.

2. Research and apply appropriate safety precautions when
designing and conducting scientific investigations (e.g.,
OSHA, Material Safety Data Sheets [MSDS], eyewash,
goggles and ventilation).

3. Construct, interpret and apply physical and conceptual
models that represent or explain systems, objects, events or
concepts.

4. Decide what degree of precision based on the data is
adequate and round off the results of calculator operations
to the proper number of significant figures to reasonably
reflect those of the inputs.

5. Develop oral and written presentations using clear
language, accurate data, appropriate graphs, tables, maps
and available technology.

6. Draw logical conclusions based on scientific knowledge
and evidence from investigations.

Grade Ten
Doing Scientific
Inquiry
1. Research and apply appropriate safety precautions when
designing and conducting scientific investigations (e.g.
OSHA, MSDS, eyewash, goggles and ventilation).

2. Present scientific findings using clear language, accurate
data, appropriate graphs, tables, maps and available
technology.
O N T E N T D A R D S
3. Use mathematical models to predict and analyze natural
phenomena.

4. Draw conclusions from inquiries based on scientific
knowledge and principles, the use of logic and evidence
(data) from investigations.

5. Explain how new scientific data can cause any existing
scientific explanation to be supported, revised or rejected.
Remedial and/or
Enrichment
Instruction
 Enrichment projects will be provided for students who have
a higher level of prior knowledge (ex. Scientific basis
project).
 In my experiences at LCS, most of my students have very
poor foundations in science, and a larger chunk of time is
dedicated to this unit to give them a firmer foundation for
the rest of the year.

UNIT GOAL
What will my students know and be able to do after this unit that they could not do before?
Why does this matter to my students?
The Nature of Science is a fundamental tenet of scientific practice; one cannot navigate through
scientific inquiry without a firm foundation in the methods and principles of NOS. This unit will serve to
refresh students on the scientific process, and give them myriad examples of the process’ application in
the classroom and everyday life. For example, students will be able to identify how they implement the
principles of NOS and the scientific method when they make everyday decisions, such as what to wear,
what to eat, and how they interact with other individuals. My extension to the students at Lighthouse is
that NOS is pertinent to how they will successfully operate and navigate throughout life, and that
informed and prudent decisions will stem from the critical thought that is rooted in the scientific inquiry
process.

In addition, students will be able to correctly identify what aspects of an everyday “decision-making
process” run parallel to steps of the scientific method. Students will also build scientific inquiry skills by
navigating through a series of labs and experiments that are scaffolded, so that responsibility for the
final lab is gradually released to them. The ultimate manifestation of this is that students will create
their own inquiry labs (within a guided framework), with the assistance and prompting of the teacher.
Students will also be able to explain the importance of having an explicit, structured process in science,
as the field is founded on processes that are professional, ethical, and highly replicable. Students will be
able to demonstrate that they are able to complete an experimental study in a way that follows
professional, ethical guidelines, and their process is structured in such a way that peers are able to
follow what they did, how they did it, and comprehend the data that resulted from the study. This will
be accomplished by students mastering the structure of a basic lab report and being able to synthesize
data in a manner that is easily explainable to their classmates. Students will also be able to comprehend
that the body of knowledge in science is legitimized by the work of hundreds, thousands, and even
millions of scientists all across the world. For example, a scientific theory is a body of knowledge that has
been validated by the work of myriad studies by many scientists. Finally, students will understand that
science is never dogmatic, and is always subject to change; science is dynamic and even the most
legitimate of theories are subject to revision.

Ultimately, students will demonstrate mastery of the NOS and Scientific Inquiry Unit by creating a
concept map of unit vocabulary terms. This concept map will link the central idea of NOS to its many
concepts and terms via linking words that explain how everything is tied together.

A note about this unit plan: “Unit 0” is not included here, because I have spiraled it within the NOS unit,
thus, they are tied together, rather than discrete elements. I felt this was the most efficient way to
conduct the class, as NOS is relevant to student in so many ways, and the tenets of “Unit 0” can be
gradually introduced as they become pertinent to NOS activities.

Daily Objectives
Day Objective(s)/Activities(s) Standard(s) Notes
0-1 1. Getting readjusted/new things
this year.
2. What is Science? Why do we
need it?
N/A
0-2 1. Brainbuster: Logic Puzzle that
requires whole-class
2. Expectations, Routines, and
Procedures: A Foundation
3. Your education: What’s at
Stake
N/A
0-3 1. Finish “What’s at Stake”
2. Overview of our Class: First
Quarter Syllabus
3. Student Surveys
4. The Importance of Trust to
Humans
N/A
1 1. Back-to-Back Drawing
Exercise: Why Communication
is Important in Science
2. The Importance of
Cooperative Learning: The
Tangram Exercise

2 1. The Importance of Critical
Thinking in Science: The
Shipwreck Scenario



3
1. Overview: Relevance of Class
and Pathway to Success
2. Perceptions of Science and
Scientists Pre-Activity Survey
3. Start Draw a Scientist Activity
SWK
- A 9
th
1
- D 9
th
8
(3.) This activity allows
students to confront
stereotypes and
prejudice about how a
scientist is perceived


4
1. Draw a Scientist Activity Data
Taking
2. DaS data synthesis and
analysis questions
3. Start “Stereotype” Class Graph
SWK
- A 9
th
1
- D 9
th
8
(1.) This activity allows
students to confront
stereotypes and
prejudice about how a
scientist is perceived




5
1. Finish Stereotype Graph and
Answer Questions
2. “Draw a Scientist” scientist
slideshow “quiz”
3. Stereotypical jobs survey
4. Debrief student
misconceptions and
stereotypes.
SWK
- A 9
th
1
- D 9
th
8




6
1. Introduction to Concept
Mapping
2. Stereotypes Concept Map



7
1. Finish Stereotype Concept
Maps
2. Personal Traits Concept Maps



8
1. Introduction to Graphing and
Taking Data: Pop Culture
Activity
2. Graphing Notes
3. Introduction of Graphing and
Data Taking Mini-Project



9
1. Finish Explanation of Graphing
Project
2. Intro to Bias and “Monkey
Business” activity
3. Bias in everyday life: Bias in
the way we dress activity.
4. Student reflection on bias they
have experienced against
themselves/ bias they have
exhibited against others.
SWK
- A 9
th
3
- D 9
th
9
(1.) This is the video
where several
things are going on
simultaneously and
students, distracted
cannot see all of
them because of
observation bias.


10
1. Discussing Types of Bias in
Science: Vocab
2. Realizing Bias in scientific studies:
Introduction and Practical
applications
SWK
- A 9
th
3
- D 9
th
9
(1.) Students learn about
the various types of
bias that can exist in
scientific studies
11 1. Finish Smoking Bias Exercise
2. Debrief and Applications to
real life situations
SWK
- A 9
th
3
- D 9
th
9
(2.) Discussion of bias
based on race, sex,
etc.



12
1. Great Volume Exchanger
Activity: Part 1
SWK
- A 10
th
2-3

SI
- A 9
th
6
(1.) This activity is great
for presenting a
discrepant event to
students, and teaching
them how to be
skeptics.



13

1. Finish GVW activity and
debrief.
2. Skepticism and how to
approach discrepant events.
SWK
- A 10
th
2-3

SI
- A 9
th
6








14

1. Reflection from GVE:
Confidence in ideas; value of
confidence in science versus
certainty.
2. NOS notes: Goals,
applications, and limitations of
science.
3. Quiz: Terminology thus far in
the class (written); debrief
quiz following.
SWK
- A 10
th
2-3
- B 9
th
7

SI
- A 9
th
6




15
1. Polar Bear Dice Game: Using
hypotheses.
2. The Psychic Gopher: Practicing
Skepticism.
SWK
- A 9
th
3
- A 10
th
2-3
SI
- A 9
th
6



16
1. Science or nonscience? Activity:
Realizing the limits of legitimate
science.
2. Ways of Knowing World
SWK
- A 10
th
2-3
- B 9
th
7
- C 9
th
2
(2.) Great activity to
introduce students to the
different ways people
approach knowledge.




17
1. Finish Ways of Knowing the
World/Discussion
2. Process Activity: The
importance of Explicitness
** Students may be familiar w/
PB&J so do another one.
SWK
- A 10
th
2-3
- B 9
th
7
- C 9
th
2
(2.) PB & J sandwich
instructions** on index
card & I try to follow.
Illustrates how explicit
processes are important
for everyday function.






18

1. NOS notes: Basic overview of
the scientific process and
reflections from yesterday’s
activity
2. Introduce Science or Not?
Research Activity: Setup (This
is the optional CP project)
3. Observations and Inferences:
Introductory video activity
SWK
- A 9
th
3
- A 10
th
1-3
- B 9
th
7
- C 9
th
2
- D 9
th
9
SI
- A 9
th
3, 5-6
(2.) This is an inquiry
activity where
students research
the scientific basis
behind things such
as “balance”
bracelets and other
popular items or
urban legends.





19
1. Observations and inferences
notes.
SWK
- A 9
th
3
- A 10
th
1-3
- B 9
th
7
- C 9
th
2
- D 9
th
9
SI
- A 9
th
3, 5-6





20

1. Creating an Experiment in
Science: Introductory Notes.
2. Inquiry Experiment: Basic
observations and experiment
ideas.
SI
- A 9
th
1-6
(2.) Tracking Termites
and Bess Bugs have
both been used.
Consider other
experiments for
various sections.




21
1. Inquiry Experiment: Basic
observations and experiment
ideas: Experimental Setup
SI
- A 9
th
1-6
(2.) This lab allows
students to
navigate the
scientific process of
experimentation by
collecting
observations and
inferences as they
conduct the lab.








22
1. Inquiry Experiment: Basic
observations and experiment
ideas: Data Taking and
Analysis
SI
- A 9
th
1-6
(1.) In the second part
of the lab, we will
brainstorm a list of
questions and
student partner
teams can then
conduct
experiments to
answer them.




23

1. Inquiry Experiment: Basic
observations and experiment
ideas: Data Synthesis and
Poster Construction
SI
- A 9
th
1-6





24




2. Inquiry Experiment: Basic
observations and experiment
ideas: Finish Posters and
Present
SI
- A 9
th
1-6





25
1. Michael Shermer Interview
Activity: Reviewing Skepticism
2. NOS notes: The hypothesis,
testing and research, and
allusion to the theory.
3. “Theory is Like a Puzzle”
activity.
SWK
- A 10
th
2-3
- B 9
th
5-6
(3.) This activity
showcases the
importance of
collaboration in
science, as a theory
is worked on by
many scientists; no
single person can
construct an entire
scientific theory.




26

1. Debrief “Theory is Like a
Puzzle” and notes on Scientific
Theories.
2. Review of unit terminology.
3. Begin unit assessment: NOS
concept map  Personal
Concept Maps
SWK
- B 9
th
5-7


27
1. Finish Personal Concept Maps Assessment



28
1. Begin NOS Concept Maps Assessment

29
1. NOS Concept Maps Assessment



30
1. Finish NOS concept maps,
debrief the unit and
applicability to everyday life.
2. Begin next unit (respective to
course content, as this is
where courses will diverge).
Assessment
31 OVERFLOW DAY