Science Practice #6

Science Practice 6: The student can work with scientific explanations and theories.

The student can work with scientific descriptions, explanations and theories that describe biological phenomena and processes. In efforts to answer, “How do we know what we know?” the student can call upon current knowledge and historical experiments, and draw inferences from his or her explorations to justify claims with evidence. For example,
the student is able to cite evidence drawn from the different scientific disciplines that supports natural selection and evolution, such as the geological record, antibiotic-resistance in bacteria, herbicide resistance
in plants or how a population bottleneck changes Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium. The student can articulate through narrative or annotated visual representation how scientific explanations are refined or revised with the acquisition of new information based on experimentation; for example, the student can describe/explain how advances in molecular genetics made possible a deeper understanding of how genes are carried in DNA and of how genes are expressed to determine phenotypes.
The student understands that new scientific discoveries often depend
on advances in technology; for example, only when microscopy was sufficiently advanced could the linkage between chromosomes and the transmission of genetic traits be clearly established. Likewise, the ability to sequence whole genomes allows comparisons between the entire genetic information in different species, and technology is revealing the existence of many previously unknown genes and evolutionary relationships. In addition, the student can use existing knowledge and models to make predictions. For example, when provided a sequence of DNA containing
a designated mutational change, the student can predict the effect of the mutation on the encoded polypeptide and propose a possible resulting phenotype. The student also can evaluate the merits of alternative scientific explanations or conclusions.

  1. 6.1  The student can justify claims with evidence.
  2. 6.2  The student can construct explanations of phenomena based on

    evidence produced through scientific practices.

  3. 6.3  The student can articulate the reasons that scientific explanations and

    theories are refined or replaced.

  4. 6.4  The student can make claims and predictions about natural

    phenomena based on scientific theories and models.

  5. 6.5  The student can evaluate alternative scientific explanations.

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