Science - 2018-19

ES.2 - Scientific Reasoning & Logic

The student will demonstrate an understanding of the nature of science and scientific reasoning and logic. Key concepts include
a) science explains and predicts the interactions and dynamics of complex Earth systems;
b) evidence is required to evaluate hypotheses and explanations;
c) observation and logic are essential for reaching a conclusion; and
d) evidence is evaluated for scientific theories.

Bloom's Level:  Apply

Adopted: 2010


  • Earth scientists use repeatable observations and testable ideas to understand and explain our planet.
  • Earth is in a constant state of change. This change is both constructive and destructive.

  • I can explain what certain weather events mean about the climate change.
  • I can determine which brand of laundry detergent gets my clothes the cleanest.
  • I can choose a city in which to live that is less likely to experience an earthquake.


  • Earth is a dynamic system, and all atmospheric, lithospheric, and hydrospheric processes interrelate and influence one another.
  • A hypothesis is a tentative explanation that accounts for a set of facts and can be tested by further investigation. Only hypotheses that are testable are valid. A hypothesis can be supported, modified, or rejected based on collected data. Experiments are designed to test hypotheses.
  • Scientific theories are systematic sets of concepts that offer explanations for observed patterns in nature. Theories provide frameworks for relating data and guiding future research. Theories may change as new data become available. Any valid scientific theory has passed tests designed to invalidate it.
  • There can be more than one scientific explanation for phenomena. However, with competing explanations, generally one idea will eventually supersede the other as new tools, new observations, and verified data become available.
  • Changing relevant variables will generally change the outcome. 
  • Scientific laws are generalizations of observational data that describe patterns and relationships. Laws may change as new data become available. 


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

a)  analyze how natural processes explain multiple aspects of Earth systems and their interactions (e.g., storms, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, floods, climate, mountain chains and landforms, geological formations and stratigraphy, fossils) can be used to make predictions of future interactions and allow scientific explanations for what has happened in the past.

     make predictions, using scientific data and data analysis.

b)  use data to support or reject a hypothesis.

     differentiate between systematically-obtained, verifiable data and unfounded claims. 

c)  evaluate statements to determine if systematic science is used correctly, consistently, thoroughly, and in the proper context. 

     distinguish between examples of observations and inferences.

d)  explain how scientific methodology is used to support, refute, or improve scientific theories.

     contrast the formal, scientific use of the term “theory” with the everyday nontechnical usage of “theory.”

     compare and contrast hypotheses, theories, and scientific laws. For example, students should be able to compare/contrast the Law of Superposition and the Theory of Plate Tectonics.


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Updated: May 30, 2018