Lunar and Planetary Institute






Scratching the Surface Mars: The Feature Story - Standards
EXPLORE! MARS INSIDE AND OUT

Scratching the Surface - Mars: The Feature Story

Correlations to National Science Standards

National Science Education Standards
Grades K–4
Science as Inquiry Content Standard A
Abilities Necessary to Do Scientific Inquiry

  • Asks questions
  • Uses data to construct a reasonable explanation
  • Communicate investigations and explanations

Understanding About Scientific Inquiry

  • Scientific investigations involve asking and answering a question and comparing the answer with what scientists already know about the world.
  • Scientists develop explanations using observations (evidence) and what they already know about the world (scientific knowledge). Good explanations are based on evidence from investigations.

Earth and Space Science Content Standard D
Objects in the Sky

  • Objects in the sky have properties, locations, and movements that can be observed and described.

Changes in the Earth and Sky

  • The surface of the Earth changes. Some changes are due to slow processes, such as erosion and weathering, and some changes are due to rapid processes, such as landslides, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes — and impacts!

Science and Technology Content Standard E
Understanding about Science and Technology

  • People have always had questions about their world. Science is one way of answering questions and explaining the natural world.
  • Scientists and engineers often work in teams with different individuals doing different things that contribute to the results. This understanding focuses primarily on teams working together and secondarily, on the combination of scientist and engineer teams.
  • Women and men of all ages, backgrounds, and groups engage in a variety of scientific and technological work.

History and Nature of Science Content Standard G
Science as a Human Endeavor

  • Although men and women using scientific inquiry have learned much about objects, events, and phenomena in nature, much more remains to be understood. Science will never be finished.
  • Many people choose science as a career and devote their entire lives to studying it. Many people derive great pleasure from doing science.

Grades 5–8
Science as Inquiry Content Standard A
Abilities Necessary to Do Scientific Inquiry

  • Asks questions
  • Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence
  • Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations
  • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions
  • Communicate scientific procedures and explanations

Understanding about Scientific Inquiry

  • Scientific explanations emphasize evidence, have logically consistent arguments, and use scientific principles, models, and theories. The scientific community accepts and uses such explanations until displaced by better scientific ones. When such displacement occurs, science advances.
  • Science advances through legitimate skepticism. Asking questions and querying other scientists' explanations is part of scientific inquiry. Scientists evaluate the explanations proposed by other scientists by examining evidence, comparing evidence, identifying faulty reasoning, pointing out statements that go beyond the evidence, and suggesting alternative explanations for the same observations.
  • Scientific investigations sometimes result in new ideas and phenomena for study, generate new methods or procedures for an investigation, or develop new technologies to improve the collection of data. All of these results can lead to new investigations.

Earth and Space Science Content Standard D
Structure of the Earth System

  • Land forms are the result of a combination of constructive and destructive forces. Constructive forces include crustal deformation, volcanic eruption, and deposition of sediment, while destructive forces include weathering and erosion.

Earth's History

  • The earth processes we see today, including erosion, movement of lithospheric plates, and changes in atmospheric composition, are similar to those that occurred in the past. Earth history is also influenced by occasional catastrophes, such as the impact of an asteroid or comet.

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives Content Standard F

Natural Hazards

  • Internal and external processes of the earth system cause natural hazards, events that change or destroy human and wildlife habitats, damage property, and harm or kill humans. Natural hazards include earthquakes, landslides, wildfires, volcanic eruptions, floods, storms, and even possible impacts of asteroids.

History and Nature of Science– Content Standard G
Science as a Human Endeavor

  • Women and men of various social and ethnic backgrounds--and with diverse interests, talents, qualities, and motivations — engage in the activities of science, engineering, and related fields such as the health professions. Some scientists work in teams, and some work alone, but all communicate extensively with others.
  • Science requires different abilities, depending on such factors as the field of study and type of inquiry. Science is very much a human endeavor, and the work of science relies on basic human qualities, such as reasoning, insight, energy, skill, and creativity--as well as on scientific habits of mind, such as intellectual honesty, tolerance of ambiguity, skepticism, and openness to new ideas.

Nature of Science

  • Scientists formulate and test their explanations of nature using observation, experiments, and theoretical and mathematical models. Although all scientific ideas are tentative and subject to change and improvement in principle, for most major ideas in science, there is much experimental and observational confirmation. Those ideas are not likely to change greatly in the future. Scientists do and have changed their ideas about nature when they encounter new experimental evidence that does not match their existing explanations.
  • In areas where active research is being pursued and in which there is not a great deal of experimental or observational evidence and understanding, it is normal for scientists to differ with one another about the interpretation of the evidence or theory being considered. Different scientists might publish conflicting experimental results or might draw different conclusions from the same data. Ideally, scientists acknowledge such conflict and work towards finding evidence that will resolve their disagreement.
  • It is part of scientific inquiry to evaluate the results of scientific investigations, experiments, observations, theoretical models, and the explanations proposed by other scientists. Evaluation includes reviewing the experimental procedures, examining the evidence, identifying faulty reasoning, pointing out statements that go beyond the evidence, and suggesting alternative explanations for the same observations. Although scientists may disagree about explanations of phenomena, about interpretations of data, or about the value of rival theories, they do agree that questioning, response to criticism, and open communication are integral to the process of science. As scientific knowledge evolves, major disagreements are eventually resolved through such interactions between scientists.

Last updated
October 8, 2009


Back to top