Goal - Instructionally, these concepts should be woven through the content goals and objectives of the course. Supplemental materials providing a more detailed explanation of the goals, objectives, and strands, with specific recommendations for classroom and/or laboratory implementation are available through the Department of Public Instructionís Publications Section.
Nature of Science - This strand is designed to help students understand the human dimensions of science, the nature of scientific thought, and the role of science in society. Biology is particularly rich in examples of science as a human endeavor, its historical perspectives, and the development of scientific understanding.
Science as a Human Endeavor - Intellectual honesty and an ethical tradition are hallmarks of the practice of science. The practice is rooted in accurate data reporting, peer review, and making findings public. This aspect of the nature of science can be implemented by designing instruction that encourages students to work collaboratively in groups, to design investigations, formulate hypothesis, collect data, reach conclusions, and present their findings to their classmates.
The content studied in biology provides an opportunity to present science as the basis for medicine, ecology, forensics, biotechnology, and environmental studies. The diverse biology content allows for looking at science as a vocation. Scientist, artist, and technician are just a few of the many careers in which a biology background is necessary.
Perhaps the most important aspect of this strand is that science is an integral part of society and is therefore relevant to studentsí lives.
Historical Perspectives - Most scientific knowledge and technological advances develop incrementally from the labors of scientists and inventors. Although science history includes accounts of serendipitous scientific discoveries, most development of scientific concepts and technological innovation occurs in response to a specific problem or conflict. Both great advances and gradual knowledge-building in science and technology have profound effects on society. Students should appreciate the scientific thought and effort of the individuals who contributed to these advances. For example, from Mendelís story, to the work of Watson and Crick, to modern breakthroughs in gene manipulation for therapeutic purposes, history illustrates every important facet of the nature of science.
As students explore original writing by and about scientists, they will uncover human drama, such as the obscurity of Mendelís work until after his death, and the interpersonal struggles involved in the discovery of DNA. They will understand that knowledge generated by one generation usually is expanded, modified, or even discarded by the next generation.
Nature of Scientific Knowledge - Much of what is understood about the nature of science
must be explicitly addressed:
All scientific knowledge is tentative, although many ideas have stood the test of time and are reliable for our use.
Theories "explain" phenomena that we observe. They are never proved; rather, they represent the most logical explanation based on currently available evidence. Theories just become stronger as more supporting evidence is gathered. They provide a context for further research and give us a basis for prediction. For example, the theory of biological evolution is an explanation for phenomena such as diversity of species. Gene theory is an explanation for relationships we observe between one generation and the next.
Laws are fundamentally different from theories. They are universal generalizations based on observations of the natural world, such as the nature of gravity, the relationship of forces and motion and the nature of planetary movement. Scientists, in their quest for the best explanations of natural phenomena, employ rigorous methods. Scientific explanations must adhere to the rules of evidence, make predictions, be logical, and be consistent with observations and conclusions. "Explanations of how the natural world changes based on myths, personal beliefs, religious values, mystical inspiration, superstition, or authority may be personally useful and socially relevant, but they are not scientific."
(1995, National Science Education Standards)
Science as Inquiry - Inquiry should be the central theme in biology. Inquiry is an integral part of the learning experience and may be used in both traditional class problems and laboratory experiences. The essence of the inquiry process is to ask questions that stimulate students to think critically and to formulate their own questions. Observing, classifying, using numbers, plotting graphs, measuring, inferring, predicting, formulating models, interpreting data, hypothesizing, and experimenting help students to build knowledge and communicate what they have learned. Inquiry is the application of creative thinking to new and unfamiliar situations. Students should learn to design solutions to problems that interest them. This may be accomplished in a variety of ways, but situations that present a discrepant event or ones that challenge studentsí intuitions have been successful. Classical experiments confirming well-accepted scientific principles may be necessary to reinforce constructed understandings and to teach safe and proper use of laboratory techniques and instruments, but they should not be the whole laboratory experience.
Instead, laboratory experience should provide a foundation for exploring new questions. In biology, for example, traditional labs such as dissection and observation of plant and animal cells may be quite appropriate. They should, however, lead to open-ended explorations such as the study of a particular animalís anatomy in relation to its environment and behavior, or the effect of changing environmental conditions on the growth of yeast (or other) cells. These kinds of activities teach student how science is done - how to clarify questions, how to design and experiment, how to record and display data, how to communicate knowledge generated. If this time investment means that a memorization of the parts of the cells and their function is left undone, consider the long-term value for students and make the necessary trade-offs. A student can always consult a book if he/she needs to know about a cell organelle, but a book will not provide the experience of generating new knowledge through scientific exploration.
Biology provides potential for many inquiries. "Does the earthworm respond to light?" "Why?" "Does temperature affect the metabolic activity of yeast?" "Why?" The process of inquiry, experimental design, investigation, and analysis is as important as finding the correct answer. Students will master much more than facts and manipulative skills; they will learn to be critical thinkers.
Science and Technology - It would be impossible to learn science without developing some appreciation of technology. Therefore, this strand has a dual purpose: (a) developing studentsí knowledge and skills in technological design, and (b) enhancing their understanding of science and technology.
The methods of scientific inquiry and technological design share many common elements - objectivity, clear definition of the problem, identification of goals, careful collection of observations and data, data analysis, replication of results, and peer review. Technological design differs from inquiry in that it must operate within the limitations of materials, scientific laws, economics, and the demands of society. Together, science and technology present many solutions to problems of survival and enhance the quality of life. Technological design plays an important role in building knowledge in biology. For example, electron microscopes, graphing calculators, personal computers, and magnetic resonance images have changed our lives, increased our knowledge of biology, and improved our understanding of the universe.
Science in Personaland Social Perspectives - This strand is designed to help students formulate basic understanding and implied actions for many issues facing our society. The fundamental concepts that form the basis for this strand include:
Science and Technology in Local, National, and Global Challenges - This strand examines the involvement of human decisions in the use of scientific and technological knowledge. Understanding basic concepts and principles of science and technology should precede active debate about the economics, policies, politics, and ethics of various science-and technology-related challenges. However, understanding science alone will not resolve local, national, or global challenges. Students should understand the appropriateness and value of basic questions "What can happen?" - "What are the Odds?"- and "How do scientists and engineers know what will happen?í " (NSES)
Students should understand the causes and extent of science-related challenges. They should become familiar with the advances and improvements that proper application of scientific principles and products have brought to environmental enhancement, wise energy use, reduced vehicle emissions, and improved human health.
The Biology curriculum is designed to continue student investigations of the biological sciences begun in grades K - 8. High school inquiry is expanded to include more abstract concepts such as the function of DNA, biological evolution, and the interdependence of organisms. The curriculum includes inquiry into the following content areas:
Strands: The strands are: Nature of Science, Science as Inquiry,
Science and Technology, Science in Personal and Social Perspectives. The
strands provide the context for teaching of the content Goals and Objectives.
COMPETENCY GOAL 1: The learner will develop an understanding of the physical, chemical and cellular basis of life.
1.01 Analyze the matter-energy relationships of living and non-living things including:
1.03 Compare and contrast the structure and function of prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells.
1.04 Assess and explain the importance of water to cells, as well as transport into and out of cells.
1.05 Describe the structure and function of enzymes and explain their importance in biological systems.
1.06 Analyze the bioenergetic reactions:
2.01 Analyze the molecular basis of heredity/DNA including:
2.02 Compare and contrast the characteristics of asexual and sexual reproduction.2.03 Interpret and use the laws of probability to predict patterns of inheritance.
2.04 Assess the application of DNA technology to forensics, medicine, and agriculture.
2.05 Analyze and explain the role of genetics and environment in health and disease.
2.06 Examine the development of the Theory of Biological Evolution including:
3.01 Relate the variety of living organisms to their evolutionary relationships.
3.02 Classify organisms according to currently accepted systems.
3.05 Determine the internal and external factors that influence the
growth and development of organisms.
COMPETENCY GOAL 4: The learner will develop an understanding of ecological relationships among organisms.
4.01 Identify the interrelationships among organisms, populations, communities, ecosystems, and biomes.
4.02 Analyze the cycling of matter: water, carbon, and nitrogen in systems.
4.03 Explain the flow of energy through ecosystems.
4.04 Assess and describe successional changes in ecosystems.
4.05 Assess and explain human activities that influence and modify the environment:
5.01 Evaluate the survival of organisms and suitable adaptive responses to environmental pressures.
5.02 Assess and examine plant tropisms and other responses.
5.03 Assess, describe, and explain types of animal behaviors (taxis, reflexes, instincts, and learned behavior).
5.04 Analyze the biological clocks and rythmic behavior of organisms.
5.05 Evaluate and explain the evolution of behavioral adaptations and survival of populations.
|| Return to Curriculum Matrix || Return to Science Curriculum || LearnNC ||