MADE BY MEMBERS OF IDnet
Prior to the adoption of Kansas Science Education Standards, members of IDnet requested that the changes shown below be made to the standards contained in the Fifth Working Draft, dated June, 1999. In lieu of making the changes shown below relating to the definition of science, IDnet members asked that the definition of science be revised to change the word "natural" to "logical" in the following sentence: "Science is the activity of seeking logical [natural] explanations of what we see in the world around us."
Underlined material reflects proposed additions. Carrots (^) reflect the deletion of material.
August 9, 1999
Nature of Science
^Science is a body of knowledge. It is assembled by systematically seeking explanations for what we observe in nature. The tools of Science are observation, experiment, and logical argument which require strict empirical standards and a healthy skepticism. Scientific explanations are ultimately built upon observations. From these, hypotheses and theories are developed. A hypothesis is a testable statement about the natural world that can serve as the basis for further inferences, explanations, and most importantly, predictions. A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate observations, inferences, and tested hypotheses. Scientific explanations must meet certain criteria.
They must be logical.
The effect of these criteria is to insure that scientific explanations about the world are open to criticism and that they will be modified or abandoned in favor of new explanations if empirical evidence so warrants. Because all scientific explanations depend on observational and experimental confirmation, all scientific knowledge is, in principle, subject to change as new evidence becomes available. The core theories of science have been subjected to a wide variety of confirmations and have a high degree of reliability within the limits to which they have been tested. In areas where data or understanding are incomplete, new data may lead to changes in current theories 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. Science has flourished in different regions during different time periods, and in history, diverse cultures have contributed scientific knowledge and technological inventions. Changes in scientific knowledge usually occur as gradual modifications, but the scientific enterprise also experiences periods of rapid advancement. The daily work of science and technology results in incremental advances in our understanding of the world about us.
Science, like all academic disciplines, has philosophical underpinnings. The philosophical view of many 20th century scientists is based on "naturalism." Naturalism is the belief that all phenomena can be explained by the interaction of matter, energy and unguided physical forces. As a consequence, scientists that adhere to a naturalistic view of the universe rule out intelligent design as an explanation of what may be observed in nature. Other scientists believe that evidence of design should not be ignored, but should be pursued in developing explanations for the cause of things that exist in nature. Students should be told that both philosophical views of science have significant religious implications. It is, however, not the role of the teacher to promote either.
Teaching With Tolerance and Respect
^ Some scientific issues (e.g. blood transfusion, human sexuality, nervous system role in consciousness, cosmological and Darwinian evolution. etc.) may conflict with a student's religious or cultural beliefs. The goal is to enhance understanding, and a science teacher has a responsibility to enhance students' understanding of scientific concepts and theories. Compelling student belief is inconsistent with the goal of education. Nothing in science or in any other field of knowledge shall be taught dogmatically.
A teacher is an important role model for demonstrating respect and civility towards students who express an alternative view or belief. In doing this, teachers display and demand tolerance and respect for the diverse ideas, skills and experiences of all students. ^ [The omitted material stated: "If a student should raise a question in a natural science class that the teacher determines to be outside the domain of science, the teacher should treat the question with respect. The teacher should explain why the question is outside the domain of natural science and encourage the student to discuss the question further with his or her family and clergy." This was deemed particularly offensive in light of the proposed definition of science that would limit scientific explanations to only "natural" ones, thereby excluding a discussion of any scientific evidence of design that only scientists may competent to evaluate and that are likely to be outside the expertise of most family members and clergymen.]
Neither the Kansas Constitution nor the United States Constitution require time to be given in the science curriculum to accommodate religious views of those who object to certain material or activities presented in science classes. Nothing in the Kansas Statutes Annotated or the Kansas State Board Regulations allows students (or their parents) to excuse class attendance based on disagreement with the curriculum, except as specified for 1) any activity which is contrary to the religious teachings of the child or for 2) human sexuality education. (See Kansas Statues Annotated 1111d and State board Regulations 91-31-3;(g)(2).)
Unifying Concepts and Processes in the Kansas Science Education Standards
Science is traditionally a discipline-centered activity; however, broad, unifying concepts and processes exist which cut across the traditional disciplines of science. Five such concepts and processes have been embedded within and across the seven standards listed below. These broad unifying concepts and processes complement the analytic, more discipline-based perspectives presented in the other content standards. Moreover. they provide students with productive and insightful ways of thinking about integrating a range of basic ideas that explain the world about us, including what occurs naturally as well as what is built by humans through science and technology. The embedded unifying concepts and processes named and described below are a subset of the many unifying ideas in science and technology. These were selected from the National Science Education Standards because they provide connections between and among traditional scientific disciplines, are fundamental and comprehensive, are understandable and usable by people who will implement science programs, and can be expressed and experienced in a developmentally appropriate manner during K-12 science education.
Patterns of Cumulative Change. Accumulated changes through time, some gradual and some sporadic, may account for some of the present form and function of objects, organisms, and natural systems. Present phenomena are often best understood in the light of the historical processes that produced them. ^
Eighth Grade - Continued
Standard 3, Benchmark 4 - Continued
Benchmark 5: The students will observe the diversity of living things and be introduced to Darwin's theory of evolution.
Millions of species of animals, plants and microorganisms are alive today. Animals and plants vary in body plans and internal structures. Darwinian evolution, postulates that gradual changes of characteristics of organisms over many generations ^ have enabled populations to adapt to their environments. When the environment changes and the adaptive characteristics are insufficient, the species becomes extinct.
As students investigate different types of organisms, teachers guide them toward thinking about similarities, differences and the very intricate nature of life. Students can compare similarities between organisms in different parts of the world, such as tigers in Asia and mountain lions in North America. A brief introduction to the cell should be given with an emphasis on both the intricacies of structure and function. Cells may be compared to computers in the way that both receive information from their environments, respond to it, and produce an output appropriate to the stimulus. Students may be introduced to the fossil record and asked to construct an explanation of what the patterns reveal about the appearance and disappearance of animals from the earth. ^
Indicators: The students will:
7 1. Learn that millions of species of animals, plants, and microorganisms may look dissimilar on the outside but have similarities in internal structures, developmental characteristics, and chemical processes.
Examples: Research numerous organisms and create a classification system based on observations of similarities and differences. Compare this system with the Linnaean classification system used by scientists today. Explore various ways animals take in oxygen and give off carbon dioxide.
7 2. Understand that organisms have some ability to adapt to changing environments and that this contributes to biological diversity.
Example: Compare bird characteristics such as beaks, wings, and feet with how a bird behaves in its environment. Then students work in cooperative groups to design different parts of an imaginary bird. Relate characteristics and behaviors of that bird with its structures.
7 3. Associate extinction of a species with environmental changes and insufficient adaptive characteristics.
Example: Students use various objects to model bird beaks, such as spoons, toothpicks, clothespins. Students use "beaks" to "eat" several types of food, such as cereal, marbles, raisins, noodles. When "food" sources change, those species that have not adapted die.
Twelfth Grade - continued
Standard 3, Benchmark 3 - Continued
Benchmark 3: Students will understand* major concepts of Darwinian evolution.
Indicators: The students will understand:
1. That the theory of evolution is both the descent with modification of different lineages of organisms from common ancestors and the ongoing adaptation of organisms to environmental challenges and changes (modified from Futuyma, 1998). It is based on the interplay of two processes: random and unguided genetic changes selected via natural selection (survival of the fittest). Evolutionary theory holds that the presence of life itself and today's biodiversity were the result of these processes. Darwinian evolutionary theory can generally be separated into microevolution and macroevolution.
Darwinian theory defines microevolution ^ as the processes (mostly genetic) that operate at the population level: Natural selection, genetic drift, gene flow, and others. These processes may produce speciation, the splitting off of new reproductively isolated species. Microevolution is also evidenced by plant and animal breeders as they change the outward appearance or behavior of members of a population of a species by selective breeding.
Macroevolution has been defined as evolution above the species level: the evolution of higher taxa and the production of new anatomical structures. Macroevolution is a theoretical extrapolation of microevolution over very long time periods.
10 2. ^ Natural selection includes the following concepts: 1) Heritable variation exists in every species; 2) some heritable traits are more advantageous to reproduction and/or survival than are others; 3) there is a finite supply of resources required for life; not all progeny survive; 4) individuals with advantageous traits generally survive; 5) the advantageous traits increase in the population through time.
3. The sources and value of variation.
Examples: Variation of organisms within and among species increases the likelihood that some members will survive under changed environmental conditions.
The theory of Darwinian evolution postulates that new heritable traits primarily result from new combinations of genes and secondarily from mutations or changes in the reproductive cells; changes in other cells of a sexual organism are not passed to the next generation.
The theory postulates that evolution modifies what exists and that evolution does not necessitate long-term progress in some set direction. According to the theory, the more variation in a species, the greater its adaptive potential.
10 4 That most biologists today use Darwinian evolution to explain the Earth's present day biodiversity. Some biologists believe that natural selection and random genetic drift are not competent to produce information systems or the processed information that distinguishes living from non living systems. They theorize that only an intelligent agent is capable of constructing the kind of information processing systems and biological machinery that comprise each cell in a living organism and the information processing network that comprises the organism. This intelligent design theory is supported by (a) comparisons of biological information systems with those that are man made, (b) the statistical improbability of such systems arising by chance based Darwinian mechanisms, © ) the irreducible complexity found in living systems, (d) the abrupt appearance and disappearance of species in the fossil record with few if any clear intermediate forms, and (e) the existence of laws, constants and forces necessary to life that fall within statistically improbable narrow ranges.
5. Many scientists believe that the theory of Darwinian evolution by natural selection is a broad, unifying theoretical framework in biology. Others believe that it may explain change on a microevolutionary level but not on a macroevolutionary basis.
Examples: The theory of Darwinian evolution has provided the context in which to ask research questions and has resulted in valuable applied answers. For example, genetics has had a powerful influence in agriculture and medicine.
The more closely related species are, the greater their anatomical and molecular similarities; DNA sequences and other molecular evidence substantiate anatomical change in the characteristics of living systems over time and provide additional detail about the progressions in the development of living systems.
The common ancestry of living things allows them to be classified into a hierarchy of groups; these classifications or family trees follow rules of nomenclature; scientific names have unique definitions and value. ^
Although the fossil record supports the contention that living systems have changed over time, biologists debate whether that record supports a principal tenet of Natural selection that the changes have been gradual.
*Understand: Understand: Although "Understand" does not mandate "belief" it should be recognized that beliefs are significantly affected by the content of information that is provided and by omitting to provide other relevant information. Accordingly, diligence should be used to insure that explanations provided are accurate, complete and balanced.
Page 92 (Glossary)
Darwinian Evolution: A scientific theory that attempts to explain present day similarity and diversity among living organisms and changes in non-living entities over time without attributing any such developments to an intelligent agent. With respect to living organisms, evolution has two major perspectives: The long-term perspective focuses on the branching of lineages through random mutations in the genetic code that are postulated to have been naturally selected through environmental pressures; the short-term perspective centers on changes within lineages through natural selection. In the long term, evolution is the descent with modification of different lineages from common ancestors. In the short term. evolution is the on-going adaptation of organisms to environmental challenges and changes.
Evolution - Cosmological: With respect to non-living entities, evolutionary theory attempts to explain sequences of natural states of development. Such sequences are postulated to be the natural consequence of the four fundamental natural forces and the characteristics of matter and energy. Stars, planets, solar systems, and galaxies are examples.
Intelligent Design: a scientific theory of biological origins and development. Its fundamental claim is that intelligent causes are required to produce the information processing systems, processed order and irreducible complexity reflected in living systems.
Microevolution: the observable processes of genetic change occurring within organisms and natural selection (survival of the fittest). Microevolution is also evidenced by plant and animal breeders as they change the outward appearance or behavior by selective breeding.
Macroevolution: Darwinian evolution above the species level producing new anatomical structures. Macroevolution is viewed as the extension of microevolution over very long time periods.
Science: a body of knowledge. It is build by systematically seeking explanations for what we observe in nature. The tools of Science are observation, experiment, and logical argument which require strict empirical standards and a healthy skepticism. Scientific explanations are ultimately built upon observations. From these, hypotheses and theories are developed. A hypothesis is a testable statement about the natural world that can serve as the basis for further inferences, explanations, and most importantly, predictions. A theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate observations,. inferences,. and tested hypotheses. Scientific explanations must meet certain criteria. ^