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Short Description: These slide presentations for use in undergraduate classes cover new discoveries in planetary science. They are available in Spanish and English.
Our Evolving Understanding of Our Solar System
Grade Level: 9-12
Our Solar System
Science Education Standards:
National Science Education Standards
SCIENCE AS INQUIRY -- CONTENT STANDARD A
Abilities Necessary to Do Scientific Inquiry
- Formulate And Revise Scientific Explanations And Models Using Logic And Evidence. Student inquiries should culminate in formulating an explanation or model. Models should be physical, conceptual and mathematical. In the process of answering the questions, the students should engage in discussions and arguments that result in the revision of their explanations. These discussions should be based on scientific knowledge, the use of logic and evidence from their investigation.
- Recognize And Analyze Alternative Explanations And Models. This aspect of the standard emphasizes the critical abilities of analyzing an argument by reviewing current scientific understanding, weighing the evidence and examining the logic so as to decide which explanations and models are best. In other words, although there may be several plausible explanations, they do not all have equal weight. Students should be able to use scientific criteria to find the preferred explanations.
HISTORY AND NATURE OF SCIENCE -- CONTENT STANDARD G
Nature of Scientific Knowledge
- Scientific explanations must meet certain criteria. First and foremost, they must be consistent with experimental and observational evidence about nature, and must make accurate predictions, when appropriate, about systems being studied. They should also be logical, respect the rules of evidence, be open to criticism, report methods and procedures, and make knowledge public. Explanations on 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.
- Because all scientific ideas depend on experimental and observational confirmation, all scientific knowledge is, in principle, subject to change as new evidence becomes available. The core ideas of science such as the conservation of energy or the laws of motion have been subjected to a wide variety of confirmations and are therefore unlikely to change in the areas in which they have been tested. In areas where data or understanding are incomplete, such as the details of human evolution or questions surrounding global warming, new data may well lead to changes in current ideas or resolve current conflicts. In situations where information is still fragmentary, it is normal for scientific ideas to be incomplete, but this is also where the opportunity for making advances may be greatest.
Source: Division for Planetary Sciences