Science Addresses Questions About the Natural and Material World

Primary School (K-2)

  • Scientists study the natural and material world.

Elementary School (3-5)

  • Science findings are limited to questions that can be answered with empirical evidence.

Middle School (6-8)

  • Scientific knowledge is constrained by human capacity, technology, and materials.
  • Science limits its explanations to systems that lend themselves to observation and empirical evidence.
  • Scientific knowledge can describe the consequences of actions but does not necessarily prescribe the decisions that society takes.

High School (9-12)

  • Not all questions can be answered by science.
  • Science and technology may raise ethical issues for which science, by itself, does not provide answers and solutions.
  • Science knowledge indicates what can happen in natural systems—not what should happen. The latter involves ethics, values, and human decisions about the use of knowledge.
  • Many decisions are not made using science alone, but rely on social and cultural contexts to resolve issues.

These understandings about the nature of science are found in the crosscutting concepts section of the foundation box on a standards page.

Other Standards That Use This Connection to the Nature of Science:

Fifth Grade

High School