Science - 2018-19

PS.1 - Scientific Investigation & Measurement

The student will demonstrate an understanding of scientific reasoning, logic and the nature of science by planning and conducting investigations in which

a) chemicals and equipment are used safely;

b) length, mass, volume, density, temperature, weight, and force are accurately measured;

c) conversions are made among metric units, applying appropriate prefixes;

d) triple beam and electronic balances, thermometers, metric rulers, graduated cylinders, probeware, and spring scales are used to gather data;

e) numbers are expressed in scientific notation where appropriate;

f) independent and dependent variables, constants, controls, and repeated trials are identified;

g) data tables showing the independent and dependent variables, derived quantities, and the number of trials are constructed and interpreted;

h) data tables for descriptive statistics showing specific measures of central tendency, the range of the data set, and the number of repeated trials are constructed and interpreted;

i) frequency distributions, scatterplots, line plots, and histograms are constructed and interpreted;

j) valid conclusions are made after analyzing data;

k) research methods are used to investigate practical problems and questions;

l) experimental results are presented in appropriate written form;

m) models and simulations are constructed and used to illustrate and explain phenomena; and

n) current applications of physical science concepts are used.

Bloom's Level:  Apply

Adopted: 2010


  • Scientists use repeatable observations and testable ideas to understand and explain the world around us.
  • Using chemicals and equipment properly ensures the safety of all in the lab.
  • Scientific notation helps scientists better express very big or very small numbers.

  • I can safely do lab experiments.
  • I can determine the speed of a car traveling past my school.
  • I can compare the speed limits in the United States to those of countries in Europe.
  • I can determine if my luggage is too heavy for airline standards.
  • I can express really big or really small measurements easily.
  • I can predict how the amount of sleep I get impacts how well I do in school.
  • I can verify my results again and again to be sure that I am correct in my findings.
  • I can show how my video game scores have changed over time.
  • I can identify what changes in my schedule had the greatest impact on my academic performance.
  • I can test if more sleep helps me do better in school.
  • I can share results of experiments with others.
  • I can show the parts of the atoms to others without the use of sophisticated equipment.
  • I can use science to solve problems I encounter daily.


  • The nature of science refers to the foundational concepts that govern the way scientists formulate explanations about the natural world. The nature of science includes the following concepts of
  • the natural world is understandable; 
  • science is based on evidence - both observational and experimental; 
  • science is a blend of logic and innovation;
  • scientific ideas are durable yet subject to change as new data are collected;
  • science is a complex social endeavor; and 
  • scientists try to remain objective and engage in peer review to help avoid bias.
  • Systematic investigations require standard measures and consistent and reliable tools. International System of Units (SI or metric) measures, recognized around the world, are a standard way to make measurements.
  • Systematic investigations require organized reporting of data. The way the data are displayed can make it easier to see important patterns, trends, and relationships. Frequency distributions, scatterplots, line plots, and histograms are powerful tools for displaying and interpreting data.
  • Investigation not only involves the careful application of systematic (scientific) methodology, but also includes the review and analysis of prior research related to the topic. Numerous sources of information are available from print and electronic sources, and the researcher needs to judge the authority and credibility of the sources.
  • To communicate the plan of an experiment accurately, the independent variable, dependent variable, and constants must be explicitly defined.
  • The number of repeated trials needs to be considered in the context of the investigation. Often “controls” are used to establish a standard for comparing the results of manipulating the independent variable. Controls receive no experimental treatment. Not all experiments have a control, however. 
  • The analysis of data from a systematic investigation may provide the researcher with a basis to reach a reasonable conclusion. Conclusions should not go beyond the evidence that supports them. Additional scientific research may yield new information that affects previous conclusions.
  • Different kinds of problems and questions require differing approaches and research. Scientific methodology almost always begins with a question, is based on observation and evidence, and requires logic and reasoning. Not all systematic investigations are experimental.
  • It is important to communicate systematically the design and results of an investigation so that questions, procedures, tools, results, and conclusions can be understood and replicated.
  • Some useful applications of physical science concepts are in the area of materials science (e.g., metals, ceramics, and semiconductors).
  • Nanotechnology is the study of materials at the molecular (atomic) scale. Items at this scale are so small they are no longer visible with the naked eye. Nanotechnology has shown that the behavior and properties of some substances at the nanoscale (a nanometer is one-billionth of a meter) contradict how they behave and what their properties are at the visible scale. 
  • New discoveries based on nanoscience investigations have allowed the production of superior new materials with improved properties (e.g., computers, cell phones).


In order to meet this standard, it is expected that students will

a)  make connections between the components of the nature of science and their investigations and the greater body of scientific knowledge and research. 

b)  record measurements, using the following metric (SI) units: liter, milliliter (cubic centimeters), meter, centimeter, millimeter, grams, degrees Celsius, and newtons.

c)  recognize metric prefix units and make common metric conversions between the same base metric unit (for example, nanogram to milligram or kilometer to meter).

d)  select appropriate equipment (probeware, triple beam balances, thermometers, metric rulers, graduated cylinders, electronic balances, or spring scales) and utilize correct techniques to measure length, mass, density, weight, volume, temperature, and force.

f)  identify the key components of controlled experiments: hypotheses, independent and dependent variables, constants, controls, and repeated trials.

g)  design a data table that includes space to organize all components of an investigation in a meaningful way, including levels of the independent variable, measured responses of the dependent variable, number of trials, and mathematical means.

h)  gather, evaluate, and summarize information, using multiple and variable resources, and detect bias from a given source.

i)  use a variety of graphical methods to display data; create an appropriate graph for a given set of data; and select the proper type of graph for a given set of data, identify and label the axes, and plot the data points.

j)  formulate conclusions that are supported by the gathered data.

k)  apply the methodology of scientific inquiry: begin with a question, design an investigation, gather evidence, formulate an answer to the original question, communicate the investigative process and results, and realize this methodology does not always follow a prescribed sequence.

l)  communicate in written form the following information about investigations: the purpose/problem of the investigation, procedures, materials, data and/or observations, graphs, and an interpretation of the results.

m)  use current technologies to model and simulate experimental conditions.

n)  recognize examples of the use of nanotechnology and its applications.

a-n) describe how creativity comes into play during various stages of scientific investigations.


hypothesis, independent variable, dependent variable, constants, controls

Updated: Jun 29, 2018